Protect and Roam
Matt Hatton reviews the main regulatory trends in the world of M2M and the internet of things.
Regulators are set to give much more attention to M2M (machine to machine) and IoT (internet of things) in 2015. This is both good and bad. There is what we have termed a ‘quicksand of regulatory uncertainty’ threatening to hold back M2M deployments, in particular for permanent roaming. At the same time, however, we will also see more regulators wanting to adopt a nurturing approach to IoT and M2M, as illustrated by the approaches of regulatory bodies in India, Singapore, the UK and some others.
The single most important regulatory issue that is likely to have a direct impact this year relates to the extra-territorial use of E.164 numbering, or ‘permanent roaming’ as it has been dubbed. Many mobile network operators make use of roaming SIMs to support M2M connections around the world. The use of roaming, rather than the need for local SIMs in all territories, greatly simplifies the supply chain process for connectivity. It also allows operators to use foreign SIMs in any given territory to take advantage of national roaming.
However, in some countries there are rules prohibiting such use. Arguments in favour of prohibiting permanent roaming include the possible exhaustion of number ranges, challenges with number portability, national regulatory oversight, customer protection and lawful intercept. The arguments against prohibition focus on the free movement of trade (eg. within the European Union), the interruption to existing services, and the fact that these practices have existed for many years with no significant problems.
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