The Connected Car and permanent roaming

The Connected Car is definitely the subject of a large number of press announcements by car manufacturers during recent shows such as the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and the Auto-Show in Geneva.

Up to now the connected car business model has been based on the resale by car manufacturers of the services of the mobile operators integrated in their own services (navigation, maintenance etc.)

Today the first steps of the Full MVNO model have been adopted by several car manufacturers.

However, to be 100% compatible with the Full MVNO model recommended by MVNO Global since 2013, there are several points to clarify:

– The Full MVNO must fully control its own SIM cards, in order not to depend on mobile operators or other third party MVNO/MVNE. The IMSI must belong to the OEM.

– The Full MVNO cannot be based on an international roaming model to benefit from continental (for example Pan European) coverage. Moreover since June 2017, the European regulatory context has changed. Permanent roaming (permanent use of the subscription of a mobile operator in another country) has become definitely cost ineffective, as the visited mobile operators are charging heavily in order to discourage this use.

However , we notice that permanent roaming either based on foreign SIM/IMSI or non geographical SIM/IMSI seems to be spreading within the automotive industry without looking at the longer term cost base and regulatory negative implications. Other countries such as Brazil or Singapore have already proscribed any permanent roaming possibility.

And the coming gigantic wave of data transmission with the roll-out of the autonomous car definitely requires a long term sustainable business model with the provision of efficient telecommunications based on the operation of such services in all targeted countries.

We are back to basics here: we do not see any MVNO model other than the automotive Full MVNO model we advocate that would provide both the economic and strategic benefits that OEMs deserve. In summary, a roaming solution would encompass the following drawbacks:

-Costs: roaming rates are in all cases higher than the regulatory rate that a local Full MVNO would get.

-Technically: the OEM would be experiencing high latency and complex IP addressing to implement local content with roaming solution.

-Security: domestic judicial authorities would not be able to require easily for domestic legal communication interception as the SIM operator is not local.

Eric Aroule

Georges-Harald Bernard

MVNO Global

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