A brief introduction to the TADIG code: what you need to know about it
To ensure stable and functional operation of mobile operators both within the country and abroad, that is, in roaming, many technical solutions are provided. In particular, various codes are widely used to identify a cellular provider for the purpose of exchanging data and making calls. In this review, we will focus on what the Transferred Account Data Interchange Group (TADIG) code is, what it is used for, and in what format it is written. Let's get acquainted with the nuances of distribution for each data exchange point and the general rules for assigning a roaming node code. Let us highlight a number of problems associated with discrepancies in the data presented in the database today.
A little about the GSMA
Before moving on to a direct acquaintance with the TADIG code, we will tell you what the GSMA association is and its main purpose. The fact is that it is this organization, based on its own specifications, that assigns codes that will identify a particular cellular network operator on a global scale. All network operators are required to register new codes, as well as use those that are already registered in this system.
GSM Association — is a global mobile communications system. It is also called GSMA. It is a non-profit industry organization that works with cellular network operators around the world. Today, this association includes over 750 cellular operators and another 400 companies directly related to mobile technologies. The system has its own industry programs, initiatives and working groups, including those for protecting the interests of both providers and consumers of services.
GSMA was formed back in 1995 as an organization to promote and support cellular network operators that use the GSM standard in their work. Its creation was the result of the implementation of a memorandum of understanding, which was signed back in 1987 by 13 operators from 12 countries. Even then they committed to implement global system for mobile communications standards for the services they provide. All licensed cellular operators, as well as companies that are not directly mobile operators, but provide related services, can become full members of the GSMA association. This includes manufacturers of smartphones and other mobile devices, companies that market software and hardware, and various Internet companies. GSMA members also include organizations working in the financial services, media, healthcare, utilities and transport sectors.
The work of the GSMA is supervised by a council. It includes representatives of the world's 25 largest groups of cellular network operators, as well as a number of smaller representatives. The Council is re-elected twice a year.
The work of the Global System for Mobile Communications Association is aimed at managing industry programs to achieve compatibility of new mobile technologies with existing systems. The organization's responsibilities also include defining interconnection regulations and requirements, security and fraud, intellectual property issues, and many other specialized services. Another important area, the work of which is regulated by the GSMA — roaming.
In each of these areas, the organization strives to ensure equity, flexibility, and future-proofing to promote the adoption of mobile services in emerging markets.
Now let's move on to getting to know the TADIG code.
What is the TADIG code
Code TADIG — one of the key identifiers of cellular networks. It is mainly used for billing roaming phone calls. Designated by the GSMA and includes various functions and capabilities:
- TAP. Invoice transfer process
- RAP. Invoice return process
- NRTRDE. Exchange data in real time while roaming.
- RAEX. Exchange of roaming agreements
- RTDR. Generating a report with data on roaming traffic.
- PNR. Providing a payment notification report.
- EID. Information from an electronic invoice
TADIG will also include operational reports that are sent between agents, migration reports, and SMS and MMS interaction reports. If necessary, other functions permitted and approved by the GSMA can also be included in the TADIG code.
It is also permitted to use TADIG codes as a common object identifier in the mobile industry, in particular in the work of roaming centers and groups of mobile operators. Codes are assigned based on established rules. If any changes need to be made, a formal request is submitted to the GSMA.
The TADIG code consists of 5 characters, which can be divided into 2 separate categories:
- The first three characters — this is the country code. Often the first 3 letters of the state name are used.
- The last two characters — this is the identifier of the service provider itself, that is, the cellular network operator.
Let's give a few examples. This is what the TADIG code for the Canadian operator Globalive Wireless will look like: CANGW. That is, CAN — this is Canada, and GW — This is an abbreviation for operator. For two-way roaming node Sweden 1, the TADIG code will look like SWE01. But the USAHI code points to Hawaii (USA), where Mobi — it is a regional wireless operator.
Are there exceptions?
As with other codes used in telecommunications today, TADIG codes also have their problems and exceptions. So, if we analyze the GSM specification, the most common problems include a discrepancy between those codes that are actually used in practice, as well as those registered in the system. In particular:
- GEO USA, which the system identifies, does not always refer territorially to United States of America
- Cellular operators in Montenegro and Serbia still use YUG characters as the country code. But now each country will have its own code, namely MNE and SRB. All new TADIGs coming from operators in these regions will now receive codes with this marking. So far, operators in Montenegro have received a grace transition period, during which they are allowed to use two codes: one with YUG, the second – with MNE. Serbian operators did not receive such a grace period.
- Unrecognized territories do not have their own standardized codes. In particular, Kosovo uses the code K00 to designate the country.
- Romania and Sudan still use the old codes.
- French codes FRAF4, FRATK, FRARE do not define the coverage area. But the Monaco MCOM code displays the coverage area only partially.
Relationship between TADIG, MCC and MNS codes
We have already said that today there are different codes designed to identify a cellular network operator, regardless of whether it provides services to subscribers who are within the home network or use a guest network while roaming. And all these codes are strictly interconnected. So, if a two-way roaming model is used, then the TADIG code will work in conjunction with the MCC and MNS codes. Let us remind you that:
- MCC – This is the mobile country code. Consists of 3 digits and is tied to a specific country. It will be the same for absolutely all cellular network operators that operate within a particular country. In this code, the first digit will indicate the region, and 2 and 3 — to a specific country from this region. As an example, the number 2 in the MCC code will indicate European countries, and 50 — to Russia, 57 — to Belarus. As a result, the full MCC code for the Russian Federation will look like 250, and for Belarus — 257.
- MNS – this is the code of a specific mobile network. It also often consists of 3 digits and already indicates a specific cellular network operator that operates in a particular country. If the same operator is represented in different countries, its code will still be different. With its help, you can also provide network management and optimization, bill the user for services used, and identify roaming.
While the MNS code only identifies roaming, the TADIG code regulates the sending and receiving of bills, ensures direct data exchange while roaming, generates a report with data within roaming traffic, and monitors payments.
The roaming hub model uses multiple TADIGs simultaneously for each operator, which is important for processes such as bill transfer and return. You can find out the current MCC, MNS and TADIG codes for each country and the corresponding cellular network operator using link. You can use this service completely free.
Reserved TADIG codes
Your unique TADIG codes in the public land mobile network PLMN has a number of specialized services. In particular, the first 3 characters in this code for a number of organizations will look like this:
- AAA — these are aviation operators;
- AAM — these are maritime operators;
- AAQ — these are satellite operators;
- AAZ — these are operators of machine-to-machine non-geographical interaction.
We would also like to draw your attention to the fact that all codes that begin with two capital letters A are reserved for the future for use by specialized services in case the combinations allocated to them for today are already exhausted and their expansion is required. They will also be used if a new non-geographic type of interaction is introduced. The third letter after AA can be anything in the range from A to Z. All those terrestrial or satellite operators who received their codes on the network earlier may not change their codes until these updates are launched.
The situation is similar with TADIG codes that begin with WW. All of them are currently reserved for Wi-Fi network operators. If you are already using a similar code, then you do not have to change it to a new one that points directly to the company. But if you decide to replace, the changes must be approved by the GSMA.
The unique structure of TADIG codes allows 1296 different combinations for the three-digit country code. From here it is worth immediately subtracting 52 combinations that are reserved for private use. In total, we get 1244 possible TADIG code options. Within a given country, roaming nodes must be taken into account, because they are responsible for financial responsibility and the entire flow of sending and receiving bills. If the available number of combinations is used, GSMA will allocate additional options for that country.
So, to summarize everything we talked about above, we note that TADIG codes are intended to identify cellular network operators and other organizations providing their services in different countries of the world. Here's the most important information you need to know about this code:
- Each TADIG code must be registered in the GSMA database. This must be done before it is used to communicate or make calls.
- If you delete your TADIG code, it automatically disappears from the system and the system will not issue it to you again. You will need to submit a new application: in this case you will receive a completely different combination of characters.
- A number of organizations may have public TADIG codes, that is, those that will be used in the public interface, as well as private codes, respectively, for individual interfaces.
- Each operator or company can reserve TADIG codes allocated to it at its own discretion. That is, it can assign combinations to network organizations that fall within the allocated ranges to identify the company or operator.
- If an operator needs to use TADIG codes outside the ranges allocated to it or for private use, then it is necessary to additionally contact the GSMA for an extension.
- TADIG code is allocated for each data exchange point: It must be unique for each such point.
- If roaming centers are used, they must submit an application for TADIG codes to be allocated to operators in accordance with the standard application form. This will avoid issuing too many codes for cases where they are not needed.
- All control over the use of TADIG codes by roaming centers rests with the GSM Association specialists;
- If codes are used incorrectly by roaming hubs, these codes may be removed from the system.
And the last moment. Let us remind you that the use of TADIG codes is regulated by the rules and requirements established by the GSMA association. This organization can both issue and cancel these codes, expand possible combinations, and regulate work.