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All SIMs are the same aren’t they?

Common sense says that the networks are pretty similar and the same goes for the SIMs. But as the mobile market has evolved over the last ten years the differences between the networks, the SIMs and how the two interact have become greater, not less. In terms of the networks themselves each has their own strengths and that is why Mobius has a select number to offer a blended solution to our customers rather than just a supermarket offering all the options irrespective of wither they are suitable or not. In such a model price is normally the key factor. Lowest price may make sense if you believe that all networks are the same.

Why an M2M SIM?

A SIM is just a SIM. So why would you need to buy an M2M SIM? In order to answer that question you have to be clear about the expectations of the voice market. The key thing to understand is that voice and data have very different expectations and standards. If you have a mobile phone and it doesn’t work, most of the time you will be able to borrow somebody else’s phone and make that critical call. The cost of failure is likely to be very low. If there is a problem with the phone or the SIM, the networks are very quick and professional in resolving it. For example sending out a replacement SIM on a next day basis.

You are worth looking after, the income you as a phone user represent, is still relatively high. The networks have a very streamlined and polished way of handling the pattern of issues that do come up. The customers experience is largely good. My discussions with customer service at the networks are usually that they wish they had more demanding customers rather than accepting. In M2M though we have a very different story. Here the revenue is a tenth or less of what a consumer is worth. So there are not the resources to look after each individual connection with the same high level of intervention that is expected in voice.

In terms of resolution there is also a big difference. A payment terminal can’t borrow a SIM from the unit next to it. The environment it is in might be unattended or even hostile. The hardware and firmware will be bespoke so there isn't the opportunity to build a profile of likely issues as there are with the relatively limited number of handsets in the market. A call to a customer service desk quickly goes “off script”. And once you are there you will almost certainly end up being advised to take the SIM out, give it a rub and put it back in again.

This will probably work but it is because the SIM is usually behind the battery and by taking the battery out you have performed a hard reset. That probably does ‘fix’ the problem. But it is not a solution, it doesn’t explain why the thing hung in the first place. However as far as the support call goes, they have done their job, you are working, and they can go on to the next call. This giving the SIM a rub fix though has had huge big implications for the industry. We see then two very different expectations- a voice one where 90 to 96% is good and an M2M world that is striving for 99.999 or 5 ‘9’s availability .Keep in mind that 96% means that you system can be out for an hour a day and still be regarding as ‘good’. Mobius customers almost by definition are looking for better.

For more information please contact Julie at juliem@mobiusnetworks.co.uk

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