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The Israeli companies disrupting mobile technology

Israel's high-tech startups are developing innovative technology that will bring new capabilities to consumers and mobile phone operators

Among the vast halls of the Fira Gran Via convention centre in Barcelona during Mobile World Congress, a large white booth at the end of one of the halls bore one word, in colourful letters: Israel.

Dozens of Israeli high-tech companies presented there while another 100 were represented by the Israeli Export Institute, which has organised the Israeli presence at Mobile World Congress for the past couple of years.

One of the companies that attracted a lot of attention was Simgo.Founded in Israel in 2012, and now going global, Simgo offers virtual mobile phone SIMs. The technology allows people to choose their own mobile phone operator, anywhere in the world, without replacing their SIM card.

Simgo’s solution can be integrated into a virtual SIM-enabled device, such as a portable hotspot, security camera or connected car, or into a custom phone case for the iPhone. The technology allows business users to roam the globe without the fear of being off-grid.

Another company, Cellmining, offers a fresh outlook on congestion management and network analytics for cellular operators.

The company monitors each customer’s experience and uses this data to organise the network in an optimal way. Traditional self-organising networks (SONs), by contrast, are configured on the basis of engineering data.

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That allows Cellmining to offer very accurate results, says Assaf Aloni, Cellmining’s VP of marketing. “We are practically helping operators to improve their network.”

Cellcom, Israel’s largest cellular operator, which serves more than 2 million customers, is one of Cellmining’s customers.

“Cellmining’s SON systems enable us to fully utilise the cellular infrastructure. They provide us with a regular learning capacity of the network’s status and customer experience, allowing us to optimise the network resources to customers’ use,” said a Cellcom spokesman.

The system gives Cellcom the ability to automate tasks that would have otherwise have to be carried out manually, or are difficult to accomplish.

“They operate 24/7, process huge amounts of data and perform thousands of optimisations within the cellular network – without human involvement. In that manner, precious human resources can be free for quality assignments that demand attention and understanding,” the spokesman said.

Mining data from mobile phones

Meanwhile Cellint is turning low-level “junk” network communications into valuable intelligence. The company has developed technology that can “listen” to the cellular network control channel – the low-level stream that communicates raw data such as the customer’s unique ID, time stamps and the cell tower identification. That allows Cellint to passively map every device connected to a cellular operator’s network.

The information means the company can gather data about phone users’ daily routines, such as where they do their shopping and when they commute to work. It is a powerful tool that can replace population surveys, said Alon Blankstein, Cellint’s VP of business development.

It can map events such as traffic congestion, human traffic within public transport systems or people’s real-time behaviour during a disaster. Its capability turns the operator’s technical data into a valuable resource for mass transit systems and road planners, municipalities, local and national governments, and population development professionals.

While manual surveys will include no more than several hundred subjects, representing only a small portion of the population, data gathered from a large mobile phone operator could represent as much as 30-40% of the population.

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