Article

Overcome IoT’s permanent roaming challenge with Remote SIM Provisioning

Alexandra Payne, Senior Partner and Commercial Manager explains how Wireless Logic’s single global SIM addresses the many challenges associated with permanent roaming.

Permanent roaming restrictions are a longstanding hurdle for organisations with multi-country IoT deployments. Companies must navigate nuanced connectivity requirements for deploying cellular connected devices globally. These requirements vary in localisation, performance and data sovereignty related regulations  in  different countries around the world. That’s a big ask for companies that want to focus on their core business, rather than navigating around connectivity regulations. To simplify, companies can now opt for a single SIM for global deployments utilising remote SIM provisioning and secure connectivity appropriate to regional and regulatory stipulations. 

What is permanent roaming and why is it important? 

Traditional SIMs enable network access in other countries by roaming. Roaming agreements between your provider (an MVNO or MNO) and local MNOs will determine which networks can be accessed. It is helpful at this point to categorise roaming as either transient or permanent roaming. The latter is critical for OEMs and Solution Providers striving to deliver cost-effective and resilient IoT solutions which are easy to use and deploy internationally.  

Transient vs Permanent Roaming 

Visiting a country on a business trip or vacation is transient roaming. You are just passing through. Many IoT applications also fit into this category but an equal or greater proportion will be permanently deployed.     

Legislation, regulation and MNO policies vary around the world but typically, permanent roaming is when a SIM card connects to a visiting network for an extended period of time. When permanent roaming restrictions are in force then MNOs are permitted or required to terminate connections that are attached to their network for over 90 days (as an example). 

Restricting permanent roaming is sometimes government or regulator driven based on economic policies or to mitigate national cyber security concerns. MNO commercial and competitive policies are another factor with some MNOs enforcing restrictions to optimize spectrum utilization, maintain fair usage policies, prevent network congestion and ensure efficient network management.  

Of course, most IoT devices (if they are to be cost effective and deliver value) have to stay deployed for multiple years. To avoid falling foul of permanent roaming restrictions, companies must either use local physical SIMs, have direct roaming relationships with MNO’s which permits permanent roaming or use SIMs that can be reprogrammed over-the-air (OTA) through Remote SIM Provisioning (RSP). The latter requires agreements with and access to local eSIM profiles from different MNOs. 

Local SIMs and direct roaming agreements have some drawbacks – they bring with them significant overheads in contracting, sourcing, installation and lifecycle management. Imagine the complexity and cost of managing this across a number of different countries where your devices are deployed!

These drawbacks are acute from an individual enterprise level however, Wireless Logic has thousands of customers and that aggregated scale combined with experience and expertise which comes working on these challenges all day, every day means we can absorb those overheads on behalf of customers. This benefit also applies to RSP. 

Remote SIM provisioning (RSP), allows the same SIM (a single SKU) to be used in all products, regardless of where they are being deployed. RSP-capable SIMs can switch between multiple preloaded or downloaded profiles in order to localise the connections. 

This makes RSP particularly useful for multi-region and global IoT deployments but it only works if your provider also has the right roaming agreements and/or eSIM and IMSI partnerships in place.  

A single RSP-capable SIM supports single SKUs for devices. This helps control costs and keep manufacturing processes streamlined but also addresses the challenge created by permanent roaming restrictions.  

Permanent roaming compliance with a single SIM for global IoT deployments 

RSP enables more seamless global IoT deployments using eSIM and iSIM solutions, and the more autonomous multi-IMSI. However these solutions are only as good as the commercial and operational options that sit behind them. IoT devices that roam permanently must still connect in ways that comply fully with each region’s regulations and restrictions.  

 

Key markets with permanent roaming restrictions

The graphic provides an illustration of the current challenges by region and country but the situation will remain somewhat fluid as Government, Regulator and MNO positions can become more stringent or more relaxed, over time so investing in future-proofed technology such as RSP is critical. 

 

Soft localisation – regions that require soft localisation require a local IMSI provided by a local MNO. The local IMSI can however connect to another providers mobile core network and its associated RSP and connectivity management platforms (CMP).  

Full localisation – some countries and local MNOs require full localisation. For permanent roaming in this situation, the SIM must have a local profile loaded and must also connect to mobile core network of the local profile provider . 

IP localisation – IP localisation is about reducing latency for optimized application performance and data sovereignty. The latter demands that data stays within the region, so a local data centre and packet gateway is required. 

MNO policy – there are instances where MNOs can block permanent roaming for commercial reasons and enforce a soft or full localisation policy.  

How Wireless Logic resolves permanent roaming restrictions 

Wireless Logic covers all key markets with regulated or constrained roaming policies through its extensive set of direct MNO roaming agreements, eSIM, iSIM and IMSI partners, a global infrastructure and the expertise that helps companies optimise their IoT solutions. 

Conexa is a carrier-grade mobile network that supports Remote SIM Provisioning for resilient and flexible multi-national connectivity. It was built to be a single integration point to an ecosystem of leading networks partners to enable enterprise IoT solutions with simpler manufacturing and logistics processes and in-life management and security. 

Hear from Toby Gasston, Product Manager at Wireless Logic, who explains the benefits and considerations for using a single SIM for global deployments.

The benefits of a single SIM for global IoT deployments 

Companies can achieve permanent roaming compliance with a single SIM for global deployments, using remote SIM provisioning and the right connectivity solution according to each regional circumstance. 

This benefits companies through:  

  • A single SKU – companies can use the same SIM for products regardless of which markets they are destined for, to minimise manufacturing and logistical complexities  
  • A single connectivity provider – companies can work with a single IoT connectivity platform provider for multi-region deployments instead of managing arrangements themselves with multiple MNOs around the world  
  • Faster go-to-market – leverage extensive, flexible roaming profiles and/or update SIM profiles OTA to pivot quickly into new markets   
  • Regulatory compliance – keeping abreast of the latest regulatory developments is a difficult task. By working with a connectivity provider that maintains relationships with MNOs, companies can focus on their core business and not the mechanics of their connectivity.  

For more information, discover Conexa and take a look at single SIM for global deployments guide. You can also contact usto discuss. 

 

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