GSM gateway


GSM gateway

A GSM Gateway (also known as a GSM Router, Fixed Cellular Terminal, Fixed Wireless Terminal, Cellular Gateway) is a device enabling a GSM SIM card (Subscriber Identity Module) to be utilised from a fixed line handset as though it was calling from the GSM Mobile telephone/Cellular Telephone. The use of a GSM gateway is called GSM termination or origination. When using a fixed handset with a GSM gateway, users make and receive calls, from the fixed line handset, through a Mobile/Cellular Network.

Background

The uptake of cellular telephones has exceeded that of fixed line telephones worldwide. In most instances the charges for a call from a fixed telephone service to a cellular telephone service exceed the charges for a call from a cellular telephone service to a cellular telephone service (fixed-mobile calls are more expensive than mobile-mobile calls). In the highly competitive cellular phone market the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) have lowered rates to call from cellular telephones as an incentive to bring consumers to their networks. Some MNOs allow "free" or uncharged calls to others on the same network. It is also a common practise for the MNOs to offer "capped plans" enticing consumers to use mobile phones more and more.

Reason for using a GSM gateway:

A GSM gateway enables cheap mobile-mobile calls instead of expensive fixed-mobile calls. The gateway can e.g. be connected to a PBX system. So all calls into cellular networks will be routed via the gateway instead of via the PSTN (Public Switched Telephony Network). GSM gateways use integrated wireless modules (the same types of wireless modules are used in standard cellular phones) as well as integrated antennas and one or even multiple SIM cards per wireless module.

GSM Termination

GSM termination is the process of sending voice calls to the gsm network via GSM Gateways, and not sending it to the GSM operator's network directly. The whole activity is due to the price difference between the interconnect price -the price the gsm network operator request from its interconnecting partners- and the price that the network operator charges its pre- and postpaid subscribers -the minute price paid by the subscribers using their own SIM cards.

History of GSM termination

GSM termination is nearly as old as the GSM networks. Nearly most of the enterprises use GSM gateways for they soon realised that sending the traffic to their local incumbent provider is far too expensive. At the very beginning analog to GSM gateways were manufactured. These were connected to the enterprise PBX and all calls from the extensions heading towards GSM directions, were routed to these gateways. Later appeared the ISDN BRI and PRI gateways, providing better quality, and more channels. The latest version are the VoIP GSM gateways.

Business benefits

Not only enterprise customers realised the savings inherent in gsm gateways but other companies dedicated to terminating traffic only popped up. They owned hundreds of SIM cards, and put them into their gateways. Sometimes the traffic was coming from abroad other times they were coming from inside the country from the partners of the gsm termination company.

Enterprise customers can also benefit from the use of GSM gateways and fixed cellular terminals by using them for remote locations, mobile offices and site offices to connect to PBX systems or as stand alone devices for the connection of analogue telephone and fax devices to make and receive calls and faxes using the GSM mobile phone network.

Use of a GSM gateway allows the presentation of a cellular CLI into the network. Financial organisations can use this to their advantage by making debt collection calls that present a cellular CLI. It has been found that debtors are far more likely to answer calls with a cellular CLI than ones that are from withheld CLIs or other types of number. In essence debtors don't expect collections calls from mobile phones.

Quality problems

Using GSM gateways to terminate calls can have problematic effects for customers. Most commonly, they will not be able to see a CLI when receiving a call, but then again some institutions like banks choose to remove their CLI so if a user is making a saving does it really matter? Particularly when overseas, this presents unlimited scenarios where operators lose revenue (missed calls not returned, calls not picked up as they don't know the caller), then again traditional telecom providers terminating calls internationally also remove the CLI, you could say that a traditional call versus a GSM gateway is the same? Calls can be disrupted mid way though (similar to the service you can experience using a mobile phone), and cut out. Sometimes calls are not even connected (again similar to the occasional experience of using a mobile phone for all of us!).

Another problem for operators is that in the location of the SIM box, the towers get inundated with more traffic than usual, and other calls are disrupted.

On many occasions the GSM gateway business operates and maintains sophisticated hardware and network similar if not even more advanced to that of a 'traditional' telecom carrier, a full support service is provided 24hrs a day, engineering diligence and consideration is made to ensure that saturation of a cell base is always avoided. The user can expect excellent quality (similar to traditional methods) but more importantly the user can make excellent savings.

The only difficulty operating this type of hardware is the Mobile networks continual pursuance to terminate this type of engineering, this ensures consumers and businesses pay the highest call charges possible using their traditional service. If the service is technically bad when using a GSM gateway then the user ALWAYS has a choice not to use it, but the with the Mobile networks terminating sims the user does not have the choice to reduce costs using this advanced technology. It is logical to ask why regulatory authorities and Mobile Networks feel they should make decisions on behalf of consumers and business as to whether they should use gateway equipment or services to make savings!!. GSM gateway businesses have been described many times as the Robin Hood's of the telecom industry !

Legality

The Mobile Networks do not like the use of GSM gateways for Landline to Mobile termination as this reduces their revenue from consumers and businesses. The use of GSM gateways can provide excellent reductions to a user.

GSM Gateways are illegal in some countries, with illegal SIM Box operators being successfully prosecuted around the world Fact|date=October 2007. Mobile operators are able to detect the illegal use of their SIM cards through complex testing patterns, and can immediately cut the lines of the illegal SIM cards.

Some operators have agreements with companies to allow them to use a commercial GSM Gateway to reduce their costs.

In the UK some of the Mobile Network Operators use sophisticated technical methods to detect sims being used for wholesale call savings and some Mobile Network do not like this. If a sim is suspected of being used for this type of call termination some Mobile networks immediately terminate the sim being used without any question or any opportunity for the operator to explain itself, literally 'Judge, Jury and Hang Man'. However for some of the Mobile Networks to detect a sim being used for a wholesale call saving, the Mobile Network would have to send calls through to the GSM Operator just like a wholesale carrier, therefore you could think that the Mobile Networks use GSM technology on a wholesale basis just like the GSM gateway Operators. All this to deter consumers and businesses from reducing their telephony spend !

Additional information:

Ofcom converning GSM gateways: [http://www.ofcom.org.uk/consult/condocs/gsm_gateways/]


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