Machine-to-Machine (M2M) Smart Metering

What is the challenge?

Private companies (Energy, Drinkwater, transport etc) with large scale Machine-to-Machine (M2M) applications need a way to change operators without swapping SIM cards. Today they are fully locked-in with the operator.  This is in particular a problem for M2M devices which are hard to access (e.g. smart meters). The issue is that there are no working and proven Over-the Air (OTA) mechanisms for IMSI/Ki reprogramming available at this time (or in the foreseeable future). On the other hand, the number of Smart Metering Hotspots is increasing rapidly (see image).
smart metering hotspots forecast 2020
Image: Forecast Smart Metering Hotspots in 2020
Therefore M2M provider would need their own an IMSI range. This requires an operator independent MCC/Mobile network Code combination. The Dutch government has allowed for private Virtual network Operators (PVNO’s) to exist. This allows “wholesale access” for private (energy) companies through the roaming/Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) model. The problem is that the number of available Mobile Network Codes (MNCs) is limited and therefore MNC’s will be shared, by creating  many ‘small’ IMSI-ranges to be assigned to participants.
Image: Digits in MCC, MNC and MSIN

What is the solution of Infradata?

The Broadforward BFX Interface Gateway was selected as the HLR/HSS proxy by CGI, representing Dutch Operators (e.g. KPN) and Energy companies. BFX is the central “entity” that facilitates routing based on IMSI sub-range:
  • BFX as the central entity is connected to multiple Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) (same as international roaming partners)
  • Operators routes everything for the Mobile Country Code / Mobile Network Code (MCC/MNC) combination to this entity
  • Looks identical to a regular “full” MVNO for the operator
  • Entity routes to M2M-users based on further digits


M2M MCC/MCN routing

Image: M2M MCC/MCN routing
Learn how Infradata deployed Broadforward as best fit solution in various other Use Cases. Find them in the menu on the left under 'BroadForward Use Cases' to read more.
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