France Telecom to launch M2M SIM on shared Mobile Country Code

Mobile Country Code (MCC) 901 is something special. It is reserved for the provision of Mobile Network Codes (MNCs) that are not homed to any one national market. MCC 901 is consequently known as a ‘shared’ Mobile Country Code and carriers that qualify to be allocated an MNC that uses MCC 901 are able to operate cross-border services using a single SIM with a single price for data connectivity. For enterprise customers who purchase such SIMs this prevents them from having to worry about roaming charges or bill-shock for their connected devices. It also guarantees seamless continuity of service availability internationally.

In essence, SIMs based on a shared MCC +MNC are used to create virtual global networks, that span the numerous individual home networks and partner networks of a given carrier. Historically such codes have been used by companies providing maritime, aerospace and geographically remote connectivity for both satellite and cellular communications. But in recent years some enterprising companies have started to use the powerful international abilities of such ‘global’ SIMs specifically for the purpose of delivering machine-to-machine (M2M) services.

France Telecom and MegaFon are the latest recipients of a shared MCC+MNC from the ITU (both in June 2011) and France Telecom has confirmed that one of their primary uses for it will be M2M. Consequently, the carrier is currently building out dedicated infrastructure to support the offering of its forthcoming ‘MCC 901 SIM’, which it plans to launch during 2012 as part of Orange Business Services’ ever-strengthening cellular M2M strategy. It is a move that should provide a significant boost to the flexibility and robustness of the carrier’s international service offering. As international service availability and the ability for M2M devices to roam seamlessly across geographic boarders is vital to the growth of the market.

France Telecom will also join an exclusive club in operating a shared MCC+MNC specifically for the sake of M2M services, that currently consists of Vodafone and Telenor Connexion. For connectivity historians, the first company to ever use a global SIM for M2M was Jasper Wireless, the independent M2M service provider-turned M2M platform vendor. There is more than one application for a global SIM it is true, M2M is just one use case, but Judging by their recent allocation of a shared MCC+MNC too, perhaps MegaFon is about to follow France Telecom’s lead and become the fourth member of the group?

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