NeuStar Inc has won a high-profile contract to provide internet addressing services for the world’s GSM carriers, the company announced yesterday.
The GSM Association, representing about 680 carriers and their 1.5 billion mobile phone users, has tapped NeuStar to run a domain name system service to make it easier to provide roaming IP-based data services from GSM phones.
In order for an IP message to go from one GSM network to another GSM network, there needed to have a separate peering agreement with each of the carriers, said Jeff Ganek, chief executive of NeuStar.
Under the deal, NeuStar will instead act as a clearinghouse, avoiding the need for these bilateral peering deals, Ganek told ComputerWire. While the deal may be prestigious, it will not make much money at first.
This will not contribute to revenues in the short term, he said, describing GSM-based data services as a small and growing portion of revenue streams. He said several of its usual competitors were in the bidding.
NeuStar, which went public earlier this year, is best known as the administrator of the North American Numbering Plan, the master database of phone numbers in the US, Canada and the Caribbean — the +1 country code.
The company also runs the DNS registry for the .us and .biz top-level internet domains. This deal draws on both the telephony and DNS aspects of NeuStar’s business, but it’s not actually a part of the regular internet DNS.
It’s related to the DNS, but it’s a private tree, said Eugene Lew, the company’s vice president of advanced services. It’s DNS, but not ‘the’ DNS.
NeuStar will operate a private root DNS server system serving the .gprs suffix, which will only be usable by participating GSMA member companies.
It will not use ENUM, the protocol designed to marry DNS and regular telephone numbers, despite being an almost perfect example of what ENUM is supposed to help with.
It will be mainly a ‘under-the-hood’ addressing system used by GSM networks to route data services, and will not likely be visible to the typical end user, according to NeuStar executives.
For NeuStar, which makes most of its money in the CDMA-dominated US, the deal may give it better visibility amongst companies in GSM-heavy areas of the world, such as Europe and Asia.