Sims In The Cloud

In this day and age when you can access many services virtually — i.e. you don’t need a physical presence — did you ever wonder how easy it would be to actively test roaming revenue assurance if your sims did not actually need to be present in the roaming country you were testing?

Imagine if your sims were in a cloud and from your desktop you could simply select any of your sims to make a call from any country in the world.

With sim multiplexing this is exactly what you can do. Your sims are installed in to a sim multiplexer and the subscriber information on the sim is transmitted to the mobile phone module in any of the test call generators connected to the system, whether they are down the road, or in a different city or on a different continent. The diagram above gives an idea of the relationship between the sim multiplexer and other devices in the test network.

The benefits of removing the need to have a physical sim present to make a call are clear:

  • A single sim can be used to make many test calls from many locations at the click of a button
  • No time spent arranging for sims to be shipped from one location to another
  • No time spent arranging for sims to be installed at each location
  • Live sims kept at a single secure location

Sometimes we are so used to relying on this virtual sim technology that we forget that not every telco employee is familiar with it. Sim multiplexing is used by hundreds of SIGOS customers, whether they own the system themselves or use our Global Roamer service to test roaming quality. I met with another European operator this week who have their own TCG system with sim multiplexing, but the RA and Fraud teams knew nothing about it. They already had a sim multiplexer in their office that would allow them to easily make RA test calls in their own country and from all of their roaming partners countries, without a single sim needing to leave their building.

So this technology is nothing new. Except very often it is new to Revenue Assurance, Billing and Finance staff. Network Teams have a good understanding of sim multiplexing technology but many of the Revenue Assurance teams we speak to are not aware of the technology, its benefits and the fact that their network colleagues already have access to it and have been using it for decades.

The most powerful and compelling benefit of sim multiplexing is that it allows network operators to share test call generator resources. Each operator can transmit the subscriber information from one of its sims to make a call from any of the test call generators connected to the system. In this way a single global system can be used by many networks to test their roaming revenue assurance rather than each network being required to install test call generator resources in every country where its subscribers roam.

In keeping with the cloud theme, the results of revenue assurance test calls can be manually rated and reconciled or operators can choose to automate the process and use powerful software hosted on our systems in the cloud. Cloud based systems can pose data protection issues, especially when hosted abroad. Because the reconciled CDRs are for test events on test sims, and contain zero real subscriber information, data protection does not normally pose any problems. Even the expensive expert revenue assurance personnel can be kept in the cloud and acquired when necessary as a managed service.

As a first step why don’t you speak to your colleagues who work in the Network or Roaming functions? It is likely they already use sim multiplexing – sims in the cloud!

Paul Lia
Paul Lia
Paul is the Business Development Director for RA and Fraud at SIGOS. SIGOS is the world’s leading provider of test call generation services with over 400 operators as customers and provides a global network of test call generators covering 206 countries. SIGOS is the leader at simbox detection with over 50% of the global market and supports the RA teams of many operators for both roaming and domestic testing.
  • Nixon Wampamba

    Great report and insights Paul. I wanted to add that SIM multiplexing is being abused by SIMBOX (Bypass) fraudsters to evade detection and deploy their operations outside the country being attacked. This system is giving Fraud Managers sleepless nights as being able to locate and prosecute the fraudsters is that little more difficult.

    • Paul Lia

      Very true Nixon.
      We often see fraudsters using the latest technology to stay ahead of the networks detection techniques. It is like a constant arms race with fraudsters employing counter measures to remain undetected and networks needing to use counter counter measures to detect and block them. A continuous programme of research and development is required to try and stay one step ahead. The moment you relax because you feel the threat has gone away, the fraudsters will return like they have in Europe with newer more sophisticated ways of staying beneath the radar of the networks.

    • Net EcoTel

      The problem is the basis for your approach .It is flawed from the start.First you must accept that VoIP is a disruptive technology that is here to stay.In fact in 10 years time there wont be such a thing called an international call as voice and data network converge.SIP the signalling protocol used in VoIP is a peer to peer protocol.It doesnt care where you are.This is not a technical problem.This is not a law enforcement problem.This is a pricing problem. By the way the latest technology there will have a roving truck across the city with batteries to fire up the radios located in different suburbs.Add to that the SIM server located in Nigeria and thanks to fibre.Ypour approach is wrong. Drop me an email. netecotel@gmail.com .