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Thursday, February 08, 2007

A different approach to homezone pricing

Had an interesting meeting with Seeker Wireless this morning. Don’t have time to go into too many details, but they’ve basically come up with a clever way of helping operators do homezone-style pricing – without the complexities of UMA/SIP WiFi or femtocells, or the often-poor granularity of Cell-ID based systems.

Long story short, Seeker uses some clever software on the handset SIM which watches different base stations’ signal strengths, plus a location server, to work out where a given phone is compared to a pre-registered home address, then feeds it back to the billing system.

Obviously, this doesn’t give the improved indoor coverage/capacity or user-paid backhaul benefits of the WiFi or femto approaches, but it sounds a lot easier, and should work with any 2G or 3G handset without modification, as the software's on the SIM and not sitting on top of the OS.

(apparently it's not behind the KPN service announced the other day, though, which seems to be regular cell-ID after all)


Anonymous said...

Sounds like a standard GSM 'triangulation' based location-service. Isn't this kind of, 8+ year old?

Homezone solutions abound in many markets, although haven't heard one based on triangulation method since the benefits don't justify investment in such location servers at the network level.

As for the pricing part, all IN platforms out there have such service/capability for homezone tariffing.

Dean Bubley said...

My understanding is that this differs as it doesn't involve the RAN doing the triangulation. In older variants, the network locates the handset, whereas here, essentially the handset locates the network. Thus there's much less signalling involved between servers & each BTS. Apparently there's some LBS "special sauce" algorithms involved, plus the use of SIM toolkit on the handset side.

Anonymous said...

Hmm...right, so in this case the handset is the intelligent node, and sends the calculation back to the LBS. Seems to go against the telecom trend of preventing shift of intelligence to the terminal.

Anyway, thanks for the clarification.

- Manish

Dean Bubley said...

Any "trend" that tries to break Moore's Law is destined to failure. This is why the word "terminal" should be relegated to the dustbin of mobile history - devices with 500MHz+ processors are starting to tell the network what to do, rather than vice versa. Applications are inexorably becoming bearer-aware.

Anonymous said...

Yes the traditional terminologies don't do justice to modern devices. Perhaps that is why companies like Nokia are trying to shift the focus by using the word computer for their handsets.

As to that 'trend', what I meant was the trend followed by mobile operators, not necessarily logical or possible (in the long run). After all, this homezone solution is intended for a mobile operator.

- Manish

Anonymous said...

The newest location solutions are not new at all but use tiny background applications to collect standard RSSI data on nearly any device and then provide high accuracy locations at the network end. The accuracy is regularly better than 200m and impact on the device is next to zero. The network can then tag the CDR with a zone which changes the billing accordingly.