Russia has started to abolish mobile slavery, something that prevents them from switching operators without changing their numbers, but has approached the problem in a barbaric way. The ambiguity of the solution resulted in several delays in the practical launching of the Mobile Number Portability (MNP). However, there are more feasible engineering ways to ease the use of mobile communications. For instance, multi-SIM devices or virtual SIMs enable users to change mobile services providers free of charge, as well as to use the cheapest services of the highest quality.
Sometimes life issues rather strange challenges that would have been unbelievable a decade ago and, as a decade passes, they begin to look ridiculous. But they must be solved. No one in the mid-2000s was able to think that “devotion” to a single mobile provider would become a problem. Yet, the necessity to abolish such mobile slavery is being considered by country leaders. Generally, the idea of introducing transferability of mobile numbers looks ambiguous and does not have unanimous public support.
Card for SIM card
The idea of using several numbers by one device is rather old. People can simultaneously use corporate and personal SIMs, as well as have a roaming SIM, a data SIM in their smartphone and a SIM in their tablet.
The solution is evident. If anyone can have so many SIMs, the development of a device hosting all of them simultaneously is inevitable. In the summer of 2013, Intersoft Eurasia patented the Multi Dynamic SIM for hosting several SIMs operating simultaneously. It looks like a common credit card with nine slots for various SIMs (standard, mini, micro and nano). As a result, the device enables a single smart phone to use up to nine numbers.
The processor integrated into the Multi Dynamic SIM will manage the operation of hosted SIMs. It will connect them through SMART Bluetooth or NFC channels to the virtual SIM installed in the device. The software needed to run this multi-SIM card is called Multi-Dynamic-SIM.Soft. This software will also operate as a user interface for manual configuration and entering extra settings, allowing for creating the optimal scenario for multi-SIM operation. It will select the cheapest communication channel of the highest quality automatically. Smart software for saving money has already been developed long ago. IP telephony operators use it actively to calculate the cheapest routing of the highest quality for long distance call traffic. Multi-Dynamic-SIM.Soft will take into account the quality of a communication channel, the traffic price subject to seasonal or day and night discounts, actions and partner programs of operators, etc. Upon analysis of the data, it will select the optimal SIM for a call or an internet connection. As a result, the total communication expenses of the user will become lower without any mobile slavery.
As close as possible
While the credit card form factor is one of the most optimal ones due to popularity of credit cards there are other solutions. Intersoft Eurasia also proposed to manufacture Multi Dynamic SIM in the form of boots for the post popular models. The main weak point of such a solution results from wide range of models, therefore, such boots will be available for the most popular ones only. But it has several obvious benefits. The first and the most important one is the stability of the use of NFC data channel. This channel can be unavailable for the credit-card-like device if the distance between devices is large. Moreover, the boot can host more than nine SIMs, providing for more scenarios.
Indeed, one phone can host dozens of SIMs. Multiservice platforms emerging in the market enable the user to widen the list of services while lowering mobile communication cost. SIMs with increased memory, integrating several subscriber numbers, are already available. Therefore, further improvement of card capacity is simple. One SIM can host 20, 30 or 64 numbers, rather than one number only. And such a device has already been patented as the Super virtual SIM — it looks like a common SIM. The main difference lays in its design: the SIM is developed on the basis of more complex integrated circuit with a set of SIM emulators and a controller. As in the case with Multi Dynamic SIM, the device uses excess computational capacity of its host.
There are no technological obstacles impeding the manufacture of multi-SIMs, but the law and, above all, the market are not ready yet. It will take much time to convince mobile service providers, who are the sole issuers of SIMs now, to make that shift. The development of the multi-SIM requires integration into their processes. Large market players look at any attempt to modify the established business model as an intervention. All efforts will be in vain without preliminary popularization of the idea. It is necessary to convince mobile communication providers of the fact that the both the providers users will benefit from implementing multi-SIM technology, since they will be able to increase widely the list of offered services. And above all, in spite of emergence of real possibility of user migration, the satisfaction and, consequently, the loyalty of subscribers will be increased.
Multi-SIM technology will make the use of the mobile devices as comfortable as possible, since everything will operate faster, cheaper, and with more diversification and higher quality.
The mobile slavery problem is fabricated to a large extent. Even its ideologists acknowledge that users willing to mitigate to another provider amount to 10% and less. The main argument used in favor of MNP implementation is that it will result in growth of competition among providers and, consequently, higher quality of services. But this result can be achieved far more simply via multi-SIM. The providers will inevitably have to improve quality of services, otherwise, their services will become unpopular. Moreover, companies will have to modify pricing. The processor will select the cheapest services of the high quality irrespective of the tangled wording of user contracts.
However, the SIM, whether the mini, micro or nano, has become obsolete. The SIM-less phones are the thing of the future. The ultimate abolishment of the mobile slavery is around the corner. It is not necessary to host the subscriber’s number at the physical device in the age of cloud technologies — the unique device ID is enough. The phone number can be hosted in the cloud, too. Moreover IP technology allows for calling to an e-mail address or to a nick in a social network. However, before the new numberless age comes, the future holds the transitional multi-SIM period for us.