GSMA Launches World’s First Network Settings Hub

GSMA launches new service to help operators easily share their device network settings information with manufacturers around the world.

Open-market mobile devices have become increasingly more popular as consumers opt to purchase directly from manufacturers, indirect channels or retain their current device when moving to a new network provider.

However, while open-market devices provide greater consumer flexibility, such as attractive finance options and freedom to find the best bundle, they can sometimes be problematic and unable to deliver an optimised network experience.  

This is because these devices use a network configuration process known as ‘Late Customization’ and it is not uncommon for them to be configured with generic or legacy network settings. This results in the device being unable to deliver network-specific services, such as VoLTE and ViLTE, from the first insertion of SIM, leading to immediate customer dissatisfaction and support issues.

Insight from the GSMA Terminal Steering Group revealed that operators typically cannot regularly share their customized network settings information with the number of manufacturers who need them. For example, one operator informed GSMA they actively share their latest network settings information with approximately 20 manufacturers but have identified mobile devices from nearly 500 manufacturers using their network at any given time.

As a result, it is becoming more challenging for operators to ensure all their customers receive the network experience they intend to deliver and are realising an increase in network-related complaints from customers with open-market devices. Furthermore, as network performance is usually considered a deciding factor in operator choice and it is increasingly easier to switch network providers, it is crucial during the lead-up to 5G that all customers have an optimised network experience from the first insertion of SIM to help maintain brand loyalty.

For example; a new customer migrates to your network using an open-market device and they are unable to immediately enjoy the network services which they have become accustomed to. Would this lead to reconsidering their decision to join your network and to switch provider again?

GSMA has worked with operators and manufacturers around the world to develop the solution. GSMA Network Settings Exchange.

Now, there is one global location for operators and virtual operators to distribute their customized network settings information to manufacturers to enable the accurate technical configuration of open-market devices.

This new service not only removes the inefficient sharing of network settings information via manual bi-lateral agreements but significantly increases an operator’s reach. It allows them to share their network settings information with manufacturers with whom previously they may have not had the capacity to engage directly. The service has several useful built-in features to help operators share their latest information more easily, including auto-notifications to manufacturers when new settings are uploaded and on-demand reporting to show who has downloaded them.

GSMA is in the unique position to provide this new service as it allocates Type Allocation Codes (TAC) to all device manufacturers via the IMEI Database, where this new service is also hosted. GSMA Network Settings Exchange is free for all device manufacturers purchasing TAC and with over 70 registrations in the first two weeks of launching demonstrates the degree to which this service was needed by the industry.

Mobile Network Operators and Mobile Virtual Network Operators are charged a nominal annual fee to access this latest resource for single operator brand/territory accesses. Discounted multi-affiliate deals are available by request.

With the rise of 5G and the worldwide growth of open-market mobile devices, there has never been a greater need to harmonise the industry.

Operators, virtual operators and device manufacturers are already benefitting from this latest service, make sure your organisation and customers do too and deliver the network experience you intended to.

Operators and virtual operators can find out more about the GSMA Network Settings Exchange or purchase a licence online here.

Device manufacturers and Brand Owners can gain access via your TAC Administrator once logged into the GSMA IMEI Database or request a free dedicated GSMA Network Settings Exchange account here.