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Operators offered solution to SIM provisioning headache

07 апреля 2010

Stuart Cochran, CTO of Evolving Systems, has advised that mobile operators consider a new technique to help drive up the activation of SIMs distributed through wholesale markets.

Cochran told Mobile Europe that the range of devices with embedded SIMs now includes devices such as laptops, notebooks and netbooks, personal navigation devices (PNDs), personal media players (PMPs), MP3 players, e-readers, high-end digital cameras and smartphones. This brings with it a new chain of players involved in the distribution and provisioning process.

But that isn't necessarily good news for operators, according to Cochran.

"For the mobile network operator, these wholesale channels tend to result in a low SIM card conversion rate. The number of SIM cards distributed through these channels that convert into revenue-generating subscribers for operators tends to be lower than where the operator simply sells the phones, SIM cards and other devices directly through its own stores or via the Internet.

"So operators are finding that with the new distribution model, the overall cost of pre-provisioning SIM cards in the network is becoming ever higher. At the same time, operators risk being sidelined, if they can’t cost effectively support the distribution approaches demanded by consumer electronics manufacturers, mobile computing vendors, and industrial applications like M2M," Cochran said.

An additional problem is that such embedded use is likely to drive greater pre-paid users - potentially making it more difficult for operators to engage with customers.

"Typically, if they are using the traditional pre-provisioning model for SIM cards, operators have no effective way of marketing to the end user at the point of first use. As no formal contract document will have been completed, the operator will have little relevant user information to drawn on," Cochran wrote.

Evolving System claims to offer a solution to these issues through its process known as Dynamic SIM Allocation.

"Dynamic SIM Allocation (DSA) enables new SIM cards to interact with the provisioning process via the mobile network, despite not having previously been provisioned. It allows operators to eliminate upfront costs typically incurred using the pre-provisioning model. In particular, it helps them avoid the need to buy and commission more network platforms than required, merely in order to accommodate SIM cards that may never be used nor generate any revenue" Cochran claimed.

DSA allows the SIM cards to be activated when the customer's mobile phone is first switched on and used. Decisions such as allocation of a phone number and selection of supported services are made at this point of first use, and any required information is collected from the customer via their mobile device.

Mobile phone numbers may be allocated automatically with the option of enabling customers to choose their number - either from a standard list or by adding a vanity golden number to their account. It's even possible to allocate regional numbers based on the customer's needs and location.

Although a relatively new solution, Evolving Systems said it has activated seven million SIMs through DSA, including four million in the last four months, and has three customers in live production - 3UK, MTN South Africa and Telefónica Móviles México. Two Southeast Asian customers are due to implement the solution in the first half of this year, with a further African operator expected to follow later in 2010.

"By provisioning at the time of first use through DSA, they have an immediate opportunity for engagement and interaction and can gather missing information and deliver tailored marketing messages as a result.

"Critically, in the new age of mobile broadband and connected devices, using DSA enables operators to be both device and location aware. After all, there is a major difference between the kind of marketing message suitable for delivery to a feature phone connected to a GPRS network and that which is appropriate for a mobile broadband network connected iPad with a large colour screen and multi-touch capability," Cochran concluded.


Источник: Mobile Europe

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