Why Opt for Hybrid Steering of Roaming?

June 5, 2024

hybrid traffic steering of roaming

Roaming allows mobile devices to access network services while traveling outside the home network coverage area and a poor roaming experience can negatively impact subscriber satisfaction. Imagine being stuck in a foreign country with choppy calls, slow data speeds, or unexpected bill shock due to exorbitant roaming charges.

This can lead to subscriber churn, where customers switch to a different operator who offers a better roaming experience. Effective roaming management for operators is a must to optimize cost and enhance user experience.

What is Hybrid Steering of Roaming?

A hybrid Steering of Roaming is an advanced roaming management technique that combines SIM-based and Network-based steering for improved quality of service by directing traffic to networks with better coverage and performance.

SIM steering enhances the effectiveness of hybrid SOR strategies, providing operators with the flexibility to dynamically update PNLs and roaming configurations on subscriber devices without any manual actions by the end user.

Understanding SIM-based Steering

Preferred Network Lists (PNLs) are lists stored on SIM cards that define the order in which a mobile device should attempt to connect to available networks while roaming.

Considering roaming agreements, cost factors, and quality of service, network operators prioritize specific networks. When a mobile device is roaming, it scans for the available network.

Based on the priority set up on PNL, the device attempts to connect to the highest priority network, allowing network operators to steer roaming traffic to their preferred visited networks.

Depending upon the needs of the subscriber or groups, network operators can customize Preferred Network Lists (PNLs) based on various factors as listed below:

1. Subscriber Profiles

Different PNL configurations can be created by operator based on subscriber types, such as postpaid, prepaid, and corporate subscribers.

2. Usage Patterns

Different usage patterns, such as high data users, voice-centric users, or roaming-intensive users can be a basis for customizing PNL.

3. Roaming Locations

Operators can define location-based PNLs, prioritizing different visited networks depending on the subscriber’s roaming destination, considering factors like coverage, performance, and roaming agreements in specific regions.

4. Individual Subscriber Preferences

In some cases, operators may even offer the flexibility to assign customized PNLs to individual subscribers, allowing for a highly personalized roaming experience based on their specific requirements or preferences.

This level of customization enhances the effectiveness of hybrid traffic Steering of Roaming (SOR) strategies and optimizes the roaming experience.

SIM steering eliminates the need for manual intervention, enabling the network operator to remotely update the Preferred Network Lists (PNLs) and roaming configurations on subscribers’ devices through over-the-air (OTA) updates.

OTA updates allow operators to adapt to changes in roaming agreements, network performance, and conditions promptly. To ensure seamless and cost-effective roaming experiences for subscribers. Operators can quickly update PNLs and roaming configurations to steer traffic to optimal networks. SIM traffic steering and OTA updates enhance the overall efficiency of the hybrid SOR strategy.

While network-based steering techniques like APN-based steering, ISRP, and ISRP-B offer some level of control and optimization for roaming traffic management, relying solely on network-based steering may not be sufficient to fully address all the challenges and requirements faced by operators.

4 Reasons Why Network-Based Steering Alone May Not Perform Well in Certain Scenarios

1. Lack of Granular Customization

Network-based traffic steering lacks the granular customization capabilities offered by SIM steering, which allows operators to create customized steering configurations based on subscriber types, usage patterns, and individual preferences.

2. Inefficient Update Process

Updating network-based traffic steering policies often requires manual interventions and coordination with various network components. It can be time-consuming and prone to errors, especially when dealing with frequent changes in roaming agreements or network conditions.

With its remote update capabilities, SIM steering offers a more streamlined and efficient approach to managing roaming configurations.

3. Limited Agility in Dynamic Conditions

Roaming agreements, network performance, and subscriber preferences are subject to constant change. While network-based steering can adapt somewhat, it may not be as agile as SIM steering in responding to these dynamic conditions.

Remote updates to PNLs in SIMĀ  steering allow operators to quickly adapt their steering strategies and ensure that roaming traffic is continuously optimized based on the latest conditions.

4. Suboptimal Traffic Distribution

Without the ability to steer voice and default data traffic, network-based steering alone may result in suboptimal traffic distribution across available roaming networks.

It can lead to congestion on specific networks, affecting overall network performance and capacity management.

Devicemax SDK

In certain scenarios, you may need to modify the priority order of the Preferred Network List (PNL). The Devicemax SDK empowers you to seamlessly update the PNL, even in offline mode.

This SDK offers the capability to make changes to the SIM card’s network preferences without an active internet connection, granting greater control to the network operator.


Devicemax SIM-based network traffic steering empowers operators to navigate this challenging landscape by providing granular control, customization, and agility in steering roaming traffic.

It enables operators to respond quickly to changing conditions, tailor roaming experiences to specific subscriber segments, and ensure that all types of roaming traffic, including voice and default data, are optimally routed to the most suitable networks.

For operators seeking to enhance their roaming services and stay ahead in the competitive market, it is essential to embrace SIM-based network steering as part of an integrated hybrid SOR solution.

By combining Devicemax SIM-based traffic steering with existing network-based steering techniques, operators can unlock the full potential of optimized roaming traffic management.