VeriSign eyes international wireless market

The company is beefing up its security and bill paying products in an effort to connect international networks more seamlessly.

Marguerite Reardon Former senior reporter
Marguerite Reardon started as a CNET News reporter in 2004, covering cellphone services, broadband, citywide Wi-Fi, the Net neutrality debate and the consolidation of the phone companies.
Marguerite Reardon
3 min read
Security and billing software maker VeriSign has set its sights on the international wireless mobile market.

On Tuesday, it announced at the 3GSM World Congress in Cannes, France, a suite of new and upgraded products and services designed to help telecommunications carriers tie their networks together while providing the necessary security.

"No industry needs to go global faster than communications," Vernon Irvin, executive vice president of VeriSign Communication Services, said in a statement. "But ironically, since networks were built locally rather than globally, no industry is going global more slowly than communications. We have come to Cannes to tell carriers we can help them make next-generation integrated global communications real."

Wireless technology is changing the way people work and communicate. But companies face challenges in making sure that the connections within networks are secure. VeriSign said its new product suite provides just the tools to make this happen.

Here's a summary of its recent announcements:

• VeriSign is broadening its short messaging service capabilities so that it can work over a variety of different wireless networks. Specifically, it has updated its message service, multimedia messaging service and secure content delivery capabilities to allow any mobile device, including pagers, one- and two-way phones, wireless application protocol phones, Java-enabled devices and PDAs (personal digital assistants) to use secure messaging with a variety of encryption options. It will also provide filtering capabilities to reduce spam and allow content delivery from third parties.

• The company has expanded its signaling support to include the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) standard, which is widely used in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. With this addition, VeriSign will help carrier customers provide GSM subscribers with voice roaming ability while traveling internationally.

• VeriSign has also developed an application that allows seamless roaming between wireless data networks. The service, called the Wireless Data Roaming Service, combines existing and new technologies to allow carriers to make their wireless data networks interoperable. VeriSign has also created a transaction-based solution that handles billing, network usage mediation, and clearing and settlement. The company said the benefit of the new service is that it will allow users to roam from venue to venue without an interruption in service.

• VeriSign also has expanded its Roamer View Service, so that carriers can monitor network activity throughout the world. Specifically, the company has added support for another protocol called Global System for Mobile Communications-Mobile Application Part. Previously, Roamer View provided viewing of only roamer validation messages on the American National Standards Institute-41 standard, which is used solely in the Americas.

• VeriSign announced a strategic agreement with BearingPoint, a managed service provider, to help provide global billing and payment services to international carriers. The two companies will coordinate sales, support and implementation worldwide. VeriSign plans to use the new global billing and payment services first with its wireless customers, but later it plans to use the technology in new markets, including voice over Internet Protocol, wireline voice and data, broadband, cable, and wireless content and data.

VeriSign said it's committed to helping carriers solve the interoperability issues associated with connecting distinct mobile networks together, but it's also developing new security offerings to make wireless communications safer to use.

Earlier this week, the company unveiled at the RSA Security Conference in San Francisco a series of new products aimed at improving authentication across a variety of devices. While these announcements weren't specifically aimed at mobile carriers, they are related to issues surrounding mobile devices, data roaming and Wi-Fi security.