UK MVNO launches "national roaming" SIM card


UK MVNO 24 Seven has released a SIM-based solution that enables national roaming, as the debate around government plans to introduce the service rages on.

The company said the bespoke SIM allows users to jump between the UK's four operators, if a sufficient signal cannot be found initially. The MVNO has controls provisioning, billing and offers real-time data reports from the SIMs.

Yesterday, the UK government unveiled proposals to improve coverage across the country, claiming a fifth of UK customers suffer from an unreliable signal. Among the solutions it proposed was promoting dual-SIM handsets, sharing infrastructure and mobile roaming.

The latter received the strongest criticism, with Vodafone claiming dropped calls would increase if it was implemented and coverage and call quality would deteriorate.

However, 24 Seven said its product could help business customers in particular to stay connected. The SIM can be used on any mobile device.

David Samuel, Managing Director of 24 Seven, said: “National roaming has been a subject passed between mobile network operators and paid lip-service for many years. Surely in this day and age, technology providers owe the public a more reliable mobile signal? We’ve taken the initiative with this new and innovative product, which will allow mobile users greater freedom, better reliability and improved connection.

“Mobile reception affects so many areas of life. Businesses in particular could stand to lose out on millions of pounds due to poor signal strength or feeble network coverage. This affects all businesses to some extent, whether they are based in rural or urban locations. Our system seeks out the best signal strength, and automatically connects the user via that network. We anticipate it being extremely beneficial to ‘coverage-critical’ industries, such as lone workers, nurses and doctors, asset tracking, vehicle tracking and numerous other services, but ultimately the service is of benefit to anyone who wants better signal.”

Meanwhile, the Institution of Engineering and Technology became the latest organisation to criticise the government plans, claiming they were too limited in their scope. 

Professor Will Stewart said: "We need Demand Attentive Networking, as we call it, which will entail mobile phone operators, legislators, content owners and regulators working together to agree technical standards, network architecture and smart regulation that can adjust smarter networks in real time in response to individual users’ demands – rather than just attempting to have high capacity available everywhere, all the time."

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