Sprint yesterday announced that it was partnering with Orange Business Services to extend its reach beyond the US market for M2M. Press release here. The aim is to offer global connectivity to Sprint's US clients looking to expand geographically. This is more than just a footprint agreement though. Orange will provide SIM cards for Sprint's M2M devices, it will also provide the SIM management platform.
So, effectively, Sprint is launching a dual mode 3GPP/3GPP2 M2M offering in conjunction with Orange. This makes sense as Sprint is rather hamstrung in offering cross-border services as CDMA networks are barely deployed anywhere outside of the US. Having a single GSM partner whose expertise and network of alliances they can tap into is also sensible.
This is just another example of the patchwork of alliances and agreements that we can expect for M2M over the next few years. These will have different levels of obligation from roaming through to complete intra-network transparency and the ability to offer SLAs. Orange has already committed to an alliance with Deutsche Telekom and Telia Sonera. Based on these developments Sprint is an affiliate member of that grouping.
I have covered CSP alliances in various Research Notes published by Machina Research. To access them a subscription is required to our Advisory Service. OBS is one of the CSPs profiled in our M2M CSP Benchmarking Report 2012.
It's impossible to gauge the importance of this announcement without clarifying a few details. I'm hoping to chat with the relevant parties over the next day or two about the implications. I'll be sure to update this when I do.