Mobile number and SIM allocation must be opened up to companies and even individuals for the internet of things to meet its potential, says the influential body. Ian scales reports.
The internet of things is an easily graspable and powerful idea: the complexity kicks in the moment you lift the covers and try to work out how the industry's going to link 50 billion devices within the next few years as it's supposed to. (see Explanation: M2M
Network hetrogeneity is a big one. There will be no one big network type, clearly, but instead a multiplicity of fixed and wireless, terrestrial and space-based networks all trying to work in loose, but coherent federation.
Getting that network coherence is a difficult enough task in itself, but the diversity requirement doesn't stop there.
The OECD argues that the 'Internet of Things' will require a further diversity of actors just to make it happen and it claims there has to be some key regulatory changes to get them into the tent - this is where the wrangling is really going to start.
The OECD predicts that M2M "may prompt further liberalisation of the market." In particular it points out that if we track back and think about the way the telecoms market has developed over the years, it's been necessary to open up the 'public' infrastructure to private networks to drive innovation and generally get things moving. The mobile network, of course, as envisaged back in the 1980s and 1990s, didn't imagine the arrival of an M2M market and so regulation established numbering policies on that basis.
"Specifically, numbering policy does not allow M2M users access to some types of numbers that they need to enter the market as direct suppliers of services to themselves or their customers," says the report.
"Countries have different specific definitions of who is eligible for these numbers, but in general it can be said that a company will have to offer a network or service to the public in order to be assigned numbers."
Serious thought must be given to whether this should continue.
"The development of M2M challenges authorities to look into whether the policy to only assign numbers to public providers of telecommunication networks and services still holds. If “private organisations” (e.g. private businesses, public utilities) could get access to these numbers and buy wholesale access to networks and enter into roaming agreements, this could lead to a more dynamic market."
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