Is it legal to provide a GSM Gateway service to others on any form of commercial basis?

The use of GSM Gateways has for some years been the subject of significant high court and regulatory debate. Whilst it is, to a very narrow extent, legal to possess and operate a GSM Gateway for your own direct benefit, if you provide a GSM Gateway service to others on any form of commercial basis (whether charged or otherwise) then you will commit a criminal offence. In other words, you can only use GSM Gateways for your own use and not for ‘re-sale’. The Ofcom position on this matter is available for review at http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/consultations/gsm_gateways Where it states clearly that any commercial use remains illegal and could include prosecution under the Wireless Telegraphy Act.

Whilst this means that an organisation using SIM cards in a gateway for its own use is not necessarily illegal, most mobile operator agreements (airtime agreements) include provisions that render text messaging ‘out of bundle’ as they are not person to person originated. Such terms will almost always state that such use will be billed at their standard network rate. Whilst some networks may not discover the ‘out of bundle’ use or bill it correctly, there is therefore nothing to stop their revenue assurance department from charging for the text messages once it becomes aware of them. This could of course then run into a bill of tens or hundreds of thousands of pounds with the risk of the SIM’s being suspended.

It is vital that if you are offered or indeed using a GSM Gateway based solution that you check the mobile operators terms and conditions to ensure you are not unwittingly being put in a position where you are breaching the mobile operators terms and exposing your business to the risk of enormous bill shock. Mobile operators are becoming increasingly aware of such loopholes and rightly closing them down, leaving the taxi operator with both unwanted equipment, SIM agreements that are then useless and the potential for enormous invoices for traffic that the taxi operator believed was ‘in-bundle’.
The M2M Offering with iSMSC-HUB Reach™ is the only reliable and legal way to do bulk SMS at the lowest prices available for UK and Global SMS.

Unlike most other despatch solutions, we do not use GSM Gateways. We use connections to mobile network operators to route our traffic using the SS7 signalling system – the protocol that mobile operators and phone companies talk to communicate with each other internationally. This means that there is no local congestion when, at busy times, GSM Gateways can find it difficult or impossible to maintain connectivity to the local mobile network base station due to high local usage in the area. Local base stations and network components can also suffer capacity and reliability issues during severe weather and they do not have the substantial capacity that a direct network to network interconnect has. In short, unlike using GSM Gateways that ‘leech’ off the air interface used by regular consumers, we use credible, reliable, safe and redundant direct mobile network interconnects, giving you peace of mind and a superior ‘worry free’ service.

Contact your SMS Wholesale Networks account manager or, if you aren’t already an SMS Wholesale Networks customer, find out about becoming a customer by calling 0844 272 0086 us use our visit our SMS Wholesale Networks website today.

Leave a reply