Mobile digital communications company BICS has launched a product that supports international SMS for more advanced networks that no longer support 2G or 3G networks.

According to BICS, it can support carriers that have retired their legacy networks from excluding inbound roamers from networks using older SMS protocols.

Feature: What the 2G and 3G shutoff means for 5G

– Getty Images

Operators around the world have been phasing out legacy 2G and 3G networks in the past couple of years, while many others have announced plans to do similar.

However, not all markets are at the same stage of mobile evolution, BICS says. For example, 3G is the dominant mobile technology in Sub-Saharan Africa.

As telcos have expanded their 4G and 5G networks, they've reallocated spectrum from their respective 2G and 3G networks for this.

BICS says that without supporting SMS from 2G and 3G networks, operators could lose out on SMS roaming revenue, and also impact monetization of calls and data.

“It’s great that telecoms is focused on adopting new technologies like 5G or 6G," said Jorn Vercamert, VP customer solutions and products at BICS. "However, it’s essential for operators to also address any potential issues that leave people behind in the pursuit of innovation.

“BICS believes a connected world is a stronger world, and is rapidly finding solutions to bridge the digital divide. Our VoLTE enabler solution released last year did this for voice services, and now SMS Translator is doing the same for SMS.”

The protocols used to deliver SMS, data, and calls have changed meaning that such messages are essentially delivered via different ‘languages’ on 2G networks compared to 4G, BICS said.

The company claims its SMS Translator can translate between the different generations of protocol to enable messages to be sent.

Last year, BICS paired with Mavenir Telecom to launch a Voice over LTE product aimed at supporting operators preserve post-sunset roaming interoperability.