PRI – An Unexplored Market for Mobile Operators

Primary rate Interface (PRI) is a service level of Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) which gives specifications for carrying multiple voice and data transmissions between a user and the network.

In layman terms, PRI is a standard which help provide services for business concerns and offices which are operating digital PBXs for their cellular communication needs.

There are a large numbers of organizations and call centers which have immense communications needs and need to make thousands of calls over all networks such as fixed line, mobile operators etc.

At this current time, organizations & companies need to have digital PABXs in which they keep Sims of different mobile operators and make calls through these SIMs.

clip_image002With PRI, they do not need any SIM, as their exchanges can directly be connected to the nearest cell site or MSC of the concerned service provider.

This connection is usually based on fibre optic although other mediums can be used. For this purpose, the services of a local loop operator are utilized who provides this medium, at a monthly rent of course.

The advantages of a PRI solution are as follows:

  • Multiple channels over a single line (24 line in T1 and 32 in E1)
  • Having a large numbers of SIMs may result in service deterioration but PRI solves this by directly being connected to the nearest cell site or MSC
  • Billing is made easier, instead of individual bills, customer can be billed for actual utilization
  • Better network utilization on the side of the cellular service operator
  • Customer gets the advantage in terms of better rates. Currently most of the postpaid packages being offered by service providers are based for individual users. Think of it in terms of retail and whole sale. Currently packages being offered are retail, once you shift to PRI, you will be offered rates in wholesale

Currently such solutions are being offered by PTCL since it has its own fibre optic backbone but cellular operators have rarely ventured into it.

This could be due to licensing problems with PTA since the licenses were issued for GSM services, and according to some legal experts, cellular companies are not allowed fixed line telephony whereas others have the opinion that this is not fixed line telephony.

Whatever the legal opinions, cellular companies should explore this solution. Big business/corporate customers should also look into this option to get better deals.