Companies expand partnership to focus on new roaming services

Teleglobe Inc. and Comfone AG announced this week their intention to expand their existing relationship and develop and launch a set of advanced roaming services running over their combined signalling networks.

Teleglobe, an international provider of voice, wireless roaming and data/IP services based in Montreal, and Comfone, a service provider to worldwide mobile network operators based in Berne, Switzerland, decided to use their existing partnership to bring new services to the market faster.

“The global roaming service we provide has grown dramatically and customers have begun asking us for additional services as they move into things like SMS [short message service] and data roaming, and things like that. So, there appeared to us to be a number of additional services that could be developed jointly between the two of us to expand the services that the GSM [global system for mobile communications] carriers are looking for,” said Marvin Lindsey, project director at Teleglobe in Montreal.

Lindsey said that along with new services such as roaming between time division multiple access (TDMA), code division multiple access (CDMA), and GSM, customers will gain additional services that don’t exist today.

“Some of the [new services] might be caller identification for voice services, which would be something [customers] would definitely like to have. Others might be services for allowing wireless LAN customers to roam…the hot spot WiFi types of things,” Lindsey said.

He added that customers want data roaming and SMS “and as our traffic grows, they have more and more need for these types of services.”

Lindsey added that these new services will still rely heavily on the signalling network, which is the backbone of the global roaming services.

“Collectively, between Teleglobe and Comfone, we are connected to virtually every carrier in the world via the signalling network, C7SS7,” Lindsey said.

Christian Michaud, director of marketing for Teleglobe in Montreal, said the companies have 325 GSM operators connected to their services.

Warren Chaisatien, a senior analyst with IDC Canada in Toronto, said that because current wireless use in North America is low, Teleglobe and Comfone have plenty of opportunity to reach new customers.

“The wireless market in Canada, and certainly in the U.S. is still far from maturity. In Canada, we’re at about 40 per cent of Canadians who use a cell phone right now, and in the U.S. it’s about 50 per cent, so half the population own and use a cell phone. On these figures we can see that the [roaming] market has the potential to grow,” Chaisatien said.

Lindsey said Teleglobe gained a renewed focus on the company’s products in the market environment as a result of having to file for bankruptcy, and having to cut 850 jobs – 15 per cent in Canada – in May of last year.

“It’s clear that the whole wireless market environment is growing and with more and more global travelling and interface, this is clearly a strategic product area for us…it was only natural that we start this initiative to both expand that service and expand the product line and offering to our customers,” Lindsey said.

Teleglobe can be found online at

Comfone can be found online at

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