Roamware lets CDMA users roam on GSM networks

Roamware Inc. has introduced a roaming gateway that enables CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) mobile users to roam on GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) networks, while retaining their CDMA numbers, according to an executive of the company.

After Roamware's Interstandard Roaming Gateway (IRG) is implemented by a CDMA service provider, a CDMA subscriber who is roaming in areas covered by GSM networks will require a GSM SIM (subscriber identity module) card on a GSM phone or a dual-mode GSM and CDMA phone, said Abraham Punnoose, director of marketing and business development at Roamware, of San Jose, California.

The GSM CLI (caller line identification) is however masked when the CDMA subscriber makes a call from the GSM network, and the subscriber's CDMA number is instead sent to the called party, Punnoose said. CDMA subscribers can also receive and send SMS (Short Message Service) while roaming in GSM networks, he added.

CDMA customers will also get a single consolidated bill that includes the cost of calls made from GSM networks, according to Punnoose.

For CDMA mobile phone users, roaming among CDMA networks is available in only about 18 countries, according to Punnoose. In contrast, roaming is available for GSM subscribers in over 100 countries which have GSM networks, he said.

CDMA service providers need a technology that extends their roaming footprint to include GSM networks, he added.

One mobile service provider in India and another in Bangladesh are already implementing Roamware's IRG, with another operator in South America likely to deploy the technology, according to Punnoose. He also expects wins for the company from CDMA operators in the U.S. Roamware is also implementing an SMS forwarding system between the CDMA and GSM networks of China Unicom Ltd., Punnoose said.

Founded in 2002, Roamware has until now been offering software for value-added services and international roaming within GSM networks. About 180 networks in 73 countries use the company's software, Punnoose said.

Besides its roaming software, Roamware also offers software to GSM operators for providing value-added services such as provisioning multiple numbers on the same SIM card. Users can then use the same phone to make and receive calls on their personal number as well as on a number paid for by their employers, Punnoose said.

Using software from Roamware, service providers with operations in many countries can enable executives of small companies that cannot afford offices in several countries, to instead have local numbers in each of these countries, according to Punnoose. "Local calls to these numbers are transferred to the executive in whichever country he may be," said Punnoose. The software for this service has already been deployed in some GSM networks, he said.

Roamware will be making the software for these value-added services available also on CDMA networks, Punnoose said. In the next three months, the company will also launch support on IRG for pre-paid CDMA customers, as well as support for roaming on GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) networks. The current version of IRG only supports roaming on GSM networks for post-paid CDMA mobile customers.

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