Truphone’s global mobile network is designed from the ground up to scale the deployment of devices across the globe regardless of bandwidth, power and scale specifics with one single, predictable partner. A true single network for every device.
|The unique network design enables us to bring together our many MVNO and roaming access agreements into a single network to create a global footprint of the best carriers. The solution is totally transparent to the end user and changes can be made dynamically over-the-air. All this is now included by default in all our SIMs.|
- 2G, 3G, 4G and LTE-M mobile connectivity access to 200+ countries;
- 5G and NB-IoT in the roadmap
- Predictable cost and quality
- Local data breakout
- Local mobile numbers and voice services
- Global Scale
- Lower latency, faster data transfer
- Truphone’s single core network connects to best local networks, ensuring the highest quality and continuity for your IoT devices.
- New agreements added automatically to ensure availability of best rates and connectivity quality
- Patented multi-IMSI technology to switch to the best network carriers
Traditional network operators connect customers via one point of presence (POP) in their home country. All usage for that customer then travels via a number of intermediaries, through that single point, regardless of where the customer is physically located. A Dutch customer in the US cannot have their traffic sent through the US POP, for example – all usage has to travel first to the Netherlands POP, then back to the customer. This increases cost and reduces quality.
Truphone is different because it has MVNO arrangements with top-tier Radio Access Network (RAN) operators across the Truphone Zone. The Zone currently includes nine countries – UK, US, Germany, Spain, Poland, France, Australia, Hong Kong and the Netherlands – and is still expanding.
These international RAN networks connect to at least two of Truphone’s six POPs, which are positioned across four continents. Together, these create a global access network.
Each POP has the ‘user plane’ layer which is geographically decentralized and is the section of the core network concerned with carrying traffic and delivering a better user experience. Truphone operates an evolved packet core to access the internet locally route traffic intelligently in each POP. This offers significant improvements in quality and data speeds compared to traditional network set-ups.
Truphone routes traffic to the POP which is geographically nearest, rather than a single pre-designated POP. This enables better voice calls, faster data, improved quality and reduced cost in many circumstances – even outside the Truphone Zone.
Using POPs that are physically closer to the user eliminates latency to the point that Truphone can reach much faster data transfer speeds – an order of magnitude faster than other operators can deliver.
|Additionally, if one POP goes down due to a major incident then the customer can still be served via other POPs. This distributed infrastructure makes the network more resilient to faults than other networks. The core is dual-located in London and Amsterdam.|
By connecting the control plane to radio access networks around the world, Truphone can see and manage each subscriber in real time, wherever they go. This is a unique, cornerstone capability for Truphone, enabling advanced services and network-level customer service internationally.
Truphone has also invented and introduced new components to the core network which were not previously available in the marketplace. These include the ability to change, add and manage International Mobile Subscriber Identities (IMSI) on the fly; update steering and routing pathways – and even amend device configurations over the air in multiple countries.
When a new country joins the Truphone Zone, a new IMSI is created and all the resulting benefits of being local are automatically applied to each account.
The Truphone SIM is also important, it instructs the local network to route traffic to the appropriate POP. These advances have led to the Truphone SIM being recognised in a report commissioned by UK regulator OFCOM as the only SIM-based solution in the world which can manage international identities over the air.
Specific technical benefits of Truphone’s approach over other networks include:
- Improved voice quality, with no echoes or fading calls
- Improved data speeds, with higher throughput and lower latency
- Improved network quality control, with better service management
- Improved signal resilience, with each Zone country connected to at least two POPs
- Truphone is compliant with all relevant local and international regulations and, as an impressive client roster proves, offers a highly secure and stable network environment.
Truphone’s unique approach also means the network is a platform for innovation – one which has already led to the integration of value-added services, such as cloud recording (which enables Truphone Mobile Recording).
Most SIM cards from traditional network operators provide SIM cards that have one phone number (MSISDN) and one International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI). When visiting a foreign country, the same IMSI is used to apply all the appropriate rules for the user’s profile.
These rules determine how traffic is routed; with visiting IMSIs automatically directed over the interconnection iv. pathways back to their home network. This sets up a link between the home network, and the distant user. Each leg of the journey the media (voice, text or data) takes is charged at a rate negotiated between the organisations that carry it. When the media travels long distances, it picks up interference, latency and ever more incremental charges. These settlement charges are the root of the high costs associated with roaming.
Truphone’s SIM card and profile is different. Each SIM pairs to our SIM manager held in the core of the Truphone network. When the subscriber arrives in a new country, the SIM and handset work with the network to apply the correct IMSI for the location from a pre-configured list.
From this point, the network recognises the subscriber as a local user and applies the same rules as it would use for any other local user. Now traffic can be transported locally – which is much more efficient and offers a better connection speed and voice quality.
As the Truphone network footprint is constantly evolving, the SIM card may not have the appropriate IMSI programmed onto it at manufacture. Here, the network automatically adds the IMSI to the SIM card over the air – and the SIM connects to the network as described above.
This unique approach allows Truphone to offer global connectivity plans with predictable costs all whilst ensuring the quality and reduces the cost of making calls, using data and sending SMS by routing via the nearest POP. For data, this is via POPs hosted within the Truphone countries; for voice, there are a great number of nodes around the world to further reduce cost and enhance quality.
Our team of specialists continually negotiate rates with carrier partners and roaming partners around the world.
To support high availability network services the multi-IMSI capability has been extended to support the ability to fallback to alternative local IMSI when service is not available in a given area. This allows for multiple local networks to be accessed in a given country to maximise coverage and improve service reliability.
This is performed using a specific fallback applet installed on our SIM profiles to manage the network fallback and resiliency.
Truphone aggregates many MVNO or Roaming access agreements into our single core network to create a global footprint of the best carriers.
A subscriber will access the footprint based on rules through the network and their SIM card. We use patented Multi-IMSI technology to switch carriers. The solution is totally transparent to the end user and changes can be made dynamically OTA.
#Example 1: How Truphone provides coverage in Austria
|Type of agreement||Operator|
|Direct Roaming Agreement||A1|
|Direct Roaming Agreement||Drei|
|Roaming access||T-Mobile, Tele-ring|
#Example 2: How Truphone provides coverage in Japan
|Type of agreement||Operator|
|Direct Roaming Agreement||KDDI|
|Direct Roaming Agreement||Docomo|
- Steering can be controlled remotely & via rules on the SIM
- Steering rules are flexible but typically based on cost or quality
- Roaming rule changes can be made in a few hours to any customer in any country worldwide
New agreements are added automatically to ensure the best rates & quality
Three profiles are available that define the type of network services that are available with the Truphone service. Below are the profiles:
- Data Only - Applications that require only Data. Addresses the requirements of most IoT/M2M customers. Voice and SMS should be blocked except for SMS messages from and to the Connectivity Management Platform short code.
- Data and SMS Only – Application that require Data and may be able to send and receive SMS from/to platform and off-net messages. Addresses the requirements of applications that use Data and may require SMS for specific functions (e.g., wake up the device). Voice services are blocked.
- Data, SMS and Voice - Application that may use all standard cellular services.
|Data Only||Allowed||Blocked (except for platform SMS)||Blocked|
|Data and SMS Only||Allowed||Allowed||Blocked|
|Data, SMS and Standard Voice||Allowed||Allowed||Allowed (standard supplementary services)|
A service profile defines the type of service that is allowed. It does not define the amount of usage that is included. The Rate Plan defines the service and amount of usage in specific countries or with specific operators.
The service profile also does not define the IMSIs to be used per country. This is defined at a later stage by a specific SIM Profiles.
Not all customers are the same and not every IoT device has the same connectivity requirements. For this reason, we have created specific SIM profiles tailored to the varied needs of connecting IoT devices.
There are 4 SIM profiles currently available:
- Standard: Optimised profile with access to 4G around the world with best cost and quality networks in the Truphone footprint
- LPWAN: Profile optimised for access to known LTE-M network deployments around the world with fallback to 2G, 3G and 4G where needed around the world
- Critical: Profile with multiple networks available per country with in-built fallback mechanism to switch to another network should coverage or connectivity fail
- Best Network: Profile with access to multiple networks in each country and will select the best network depending on service coverage
- Roaming: Profile for devices that move around the world and require access to cost effective data access wherever they travel
- Bootstrap: Profile with global coverage designed for temporary and occasional use to support remote SIM provisioning and temporary connectivity for a device
#Module and Device Validation
Nearly all devices / cellular modules work out of the box with the Truphone SIM and network with no specific formal device certification is required by Truphone or our partners but we recommend modules with PTCRB and/or GCF certifications
Truphone validates the modules and devices for IoT deployments to ensure complete interoperability with our eSIM and network. We want to ensure that that devices support different frequency bands in order to work in different countries around the world.
Testing of the device will also validate its use for global or specific region usage.
Many IoT modules are built on-purpose for IoT applications and tend to be simplified versions of the modules used in Mobile Handsets (e.g., not fully supporting SIM Application toolkit). In addition, IoT devices do not have screen/display nor the typical rich operation systems of Mobile Handsets (i.e., Android and iPhone).
Some IoT devices can be further optimized for power consumption of the application by using functionalities like PSM (Power Saving Mode) or eDRX (extended Discontinuous Reception) that in order to save battery only enable the cellular modem for selected short periods of time.
Lastly, IoT devices tend to be optimized for the use case of the application (e.g., only enabling the cellular modem for short periods to save battery).
The above means that it is essential for a Truphone that we validate the IoT/M2M modules used by our customers.
This will allow us to understand any module limitations, report problems to module manufacturers, fix/optimize the behaviour of our SIM card applet where required and to better support each one of our customers.
Key test cases include validating IMSI-switching (including SMS-C address update), over the air updates, SIM-based steering of roaming and any other key functionalities required for the device to work flawlessly. Support for non-blocking module capabilities such as Circuit Switch/Packet Switch call control or HTTP OTA must also be known (e.g., can we activate a SIM profile to perform HTTP updates).
In addition to certifying IoT modules, we may need to certify the final application to make sure its behaviour is compatible with the assumptions of our systems (e.g., a device switching on the cellular modem only for short periods may not be able to receive OTAs).
Truphone maintains a list of already validated / recommended cellular modules on its website at https://www.truphone.com/iot-solutions/iot-connectivity/cellular-module/
The standard APN for Truphone for Things is iot.truphone.com
The Truphone network also supports setup of a private APN for customers. These APN’s can be dedicated however must belong to <your-apn>.truphone.com or <your-apn>.connectivity.io. This is to ensure integration with all network partners in the Truphone footprint.
Alongside a private APN, it is also possible to configure IPSec VPN integration for all data traffic of IoT devices to connect directly to customer network via VPN integration. This can be private interconnect or over public internet.
Integration using private APN is also supported with cloud providers AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform.
#IP Address Management
Truphone does not support public static IP address assignment.
Private Static IP addresses are supported for customers with a private APN and requires RADIUS interworking with a customer AAA server to do this.
#Allow and Deny List
If required to restrict network access to specific endpoints, it is possible to apply specific policy rules that only permit traffic to designated IP’s/URL’s. This is managed by the Truphone policy control and rules function.