Operators and regulators in major countries worldwide – including Brazil, Canada, China, India, Australia, and the United States – have grown increasingly hostile towards permanent roaming over the last few years. This poses a major challenge for IoT device operators that have relied on single Mobile Network Operator (MNO) or Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) agreements to connect devices on non-home networks.
For those unfamiliar with the term, “permanent roaming” occurs when an IoT device connects to a network within a geography that sits outside of its “home” market or country for a long time. While permanent roaming has historically been supported on many networks, now devices that roam within hostile networks or countries are at a greater risk as operators and regulators home-in (no pun intended) on unwanted permanent roaming traffic.
Security is a major factor here, as many regulators have demanded the identity of a SIM and the data from an IoT device to terminate within a nation’s borders for it to meet security requirements.
On top of security-related risks, roaming is generally an expensive option for IoT devices with poor application performance due to data routing architectures that are undesirable for most IoT applications.
Fortunately, eSIM/eUICC technology has the potential to solve these concerns through network localization.
Network localization eliminates permanent roaming risks and improves performance by downloading local network credentials over-the-air (OTA) to a device. For example, in the past, when a device was deployed using off-the-shelf SIM technology in a non-home network, the device would roam into that network, incurring expensive roaming fees while being subject to poor network performance.
However, by switching that off-the-shelf SIM out with certain eSIM/eUICC tech, that same device can now download a local network credential OTA, minimizing the security risks associated with permanent roaming while addressing network performance issues and reducing costs.