Sep 21, 2021

9 Ways HLR Lookups Benefit Your Business

HLR lookup provider lanck telecom

Where a phone is located, whether it is active or not, roaming or ported. These are all extremely important details provided by an HLR lookup that are useful not only for telecom companies but any business that has clients. 

Accessing this data via an HLR lookup, interpreting it and applying this knowledge to your business operations can transform almost any type of business in multiple ways: 

  • Enhanced security measures
  • Additional layer of identity verification
  • Cost-cutting
  • Expanding marketing reach
  • Improved market research
  • Enhanced mobile app development 

And much more.

Let’s look at what exactly HLR is, what an HLR lookup is and how this type of data can open up new doors for security and development as well as eliminate inefficiencies and reduce costs in your business operations. 

What is HLR?

What is HLR? What does HLR mean? To truly understand how you can use HLR lookups and what they can do for your business, we need to quickly step back and understand what HLR is.

HLR stands for Home Location Register. 

People and businesses send and receive massive quantities of messages each day. Behind the scenes of this activity is an enormous flow of portability data that is collected and analyzed by operators, keeping our daily phone use live and running efficiently and securely. 

But what data do operators collect? 

A Home Location Register (HLR) is a central database collecting and storing information on all the mobile phone subscribers registered with a specific mobile network.

An HLR collects and stores information from every SIM card a mobile phone operator issues and every SIM has a unique identifier called an International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI),  which is the main ID connected to every HLR record.

Every mobile operator — Vodafone, Verizon, Telefonica, T-Mobile or Sprint uses one. These companies use them to verify the authenticity of a call when it registers with a transmitter. This can be done on the caller’s home network or when they are roaming. 

These databases are updated in real-time. As such, an HLR contains the most relevant, up-to-date and accurate information on any mobile phone subscriber in any location in the world. 

Let’s look at HLRs in more detail.

How Does HLR Work?

Any time a mobile phone tries to access a cellular network (make a call), a Message Switching Center (MSC) accesses the HLR of the network to confirm if the caller is authorized to use the network, how to charge the caller (i.e. roaming or not roaming) and how to route connections to and from that phone. 

Some day, when a caller ends their contract with a carrier, the carrier then removes the caller, their number and their identification data from the HLR, effectively preventing that user from making calls on their network. 

Emergency calls are an exception. Some entities like the FCC require operators to allow emergency calls on their network, regardless of whether a caller has subscribed to their service or not.

In short, a carrier collects the above-mentioned information on subscribers to their network and stores it in their HLR. But, of course, people travel across borders, and the issue of roaming emerges. 

An HLR collects highly useful data connected to phone locations and roaming as well, which is also useful for telcos and non-telco businesses, alike.

HLR and Roaming

The HLR of a Mobile Network Operator (MNO) collects data only from those who have subscribed to their network, but not to their roaming partners. Naturally, people cross borders and make calls while roaming.

In this case, when a subscriber makes a call, they are attempting to access a network outside their “home” network – one their carrier has a contract with. The local MSC of that region then checks a Visitor Location Register (VLR) which then sends a request for information from the home network’s HLR.

When the VLR confirms that the device is allowed to access their network and simultaneously verifies the SIM card being used, the HLR informs the VLR of what services that SIM card has access to. The call can then be connected or refused, depending on what information the VLR receives. The VLR stores this information only temporarily.

Location Specific Information Helps Subscribers 

HLRs can also track a subscriber’s location, but they don’t do it in real-time. Instead, it periodically collects a Tracking Area Update (TAU) on a subscriber from the carrier. The TAU tells the subscribed devices to share their location with the HLR. 

The HLR then stores this data as the subscriber’s last-known location and the MSC uses it to improve connections from device to device. 

All of the data collected and stored in an HLR is extremely beneficial for a business operating even outside of the telecom industry. By utilizing an HLR lookup service, businesses can retrieve mass amounts of this data connected to hundreds of subscribers in seconds. 

To access this data, a business must simply perform an HLR lookup. Here’s how it works. 

What is an HLR Lookup?

Via an “HLR Lookup”, companies can access the very helpful data stored on a carrier’s HLR and use this data to cut costs, increase security and much more. 

An HLR Lookup service is provided via Web Clients, REST APIs and SDKs as a part of an enterprise system that can produce beautiful, easy-to-read charts and meaningful analytics and reports on this data. The businesses then interpret this data to improve their operations, eliminate inefficiencies and much, much more.

Here are the details.

All cell phone operators connect via the Signaling System No. 7 network (SS7). The SS7 serves as the foundation of the text messaging system (SMS). It’s also used by mobile phone operators in the process of connecting phone calls, translating numbers, operating systems for prepaid billing and more. 

An HLR Lookup service obtains information from an HLR simply by transmitting an appropriate message via the SS7 mobile signaling network.

It retrieves an enormous quantity of data in seconds. What data does it collect? 

What Data Does an HLR Lookup Provide?

An HLR lookup provides the following up-to-date data, in real-time:

  • The mobile network operator the number belongs to.
  • The country the caller and network operator are located in.
  • The MCC (Mobile Country Code), IMSI (International Mobile Subscriber Identity), MNC (Mobile Network Code) and MSC (Mobile Switching Center) of the phone number.
  • Whether the number is active, deactivated, or has never been registered. And therefore, whether it’s valid or not.
  • The name of the network the number belonged to when it was first registered.
  • If a subscriber is roaming or not, the country they’re roaming in and which network they are currently connected to.
  • Whether the phone is on or if any temporary errors could prevent text message delivery (i.e. the phone is off or has been out of the coverage area for a long time).
  • The identification of the network even if an error such as “Absent Subscriber” is returned.

An HLR lookup service provider collects and presents this data for you via an Enterprise Web Client, APIs and SDKs that allow the business to interpret it via a beautiful and user-friendly interface.

Here’s what you can do with this data. 

How HLR Lookups Can Help Businesses

The benefits of HLR lookups fall into two key categories: security and cost/time savings. 

Here are some ways businesses can use an HLR lookup to their benefit:

1. To Prevent Fraud

For example, banks often block credit card transactions suddenly made in a foreign country or a location their client has never made a transaction in before. The intention behind blocking the card is to protect from fraud, but this can inconvenience the card owner and even damage relationships between banks and clients. 

When a bank detects a foreign transaction on a client’s card, the bank can use an HLR lookup to check if the client’s mobile device is roaming in the country where the transaction or ATM withdrawal attempt was made. This is a helpful indicator of whether the transaction is legitimate or not and provides an extra layer of information to help identify fraudulent transactions. 

To ultimately confirm the transaction, the bank can then send a notification to the customer’s mobile device, asking them to tap “YES” if it was a legitimate transaction.

2. Update Call Databases

Your business can use HLR Lookups to update your databases with mobile numbers according to their status: 

  • Valid
  • Active
  • Invalid
  • Deactivated
  • Roaming
  • Switched off

In this way, you know which numbers will receive your message and which numbers won’t and adjust your messaging campaigns accordingly.

In fact, it’s cheaper to initiate an HLR lookup than it is to send an SMS to a client number in your database that has been inactivated and never receives the message.

3. Reduce Campaign Costs

In continuation with the point above, subscribers often change numbers. However, these numbers remain in the enormous call databases of colleges, universities and other entities. 

For example, a university may regularly send messages to alumni, costing the university six figures or more. Many alumni simply don’t respond because their number is no longer active. 

By updating their call database with the data collected from an HLR lookup, they can purge their database of inactive and invalid numbers and reduce costs by not sending messages that won’t be received, and reallocate their resources. 

4. Enhance Payment and Billing Procedures 

HLR Lookups can help minimize errors caused by misidentified clients with invalid or inactive mobile numbers still in the business’s database.

5. Least Cost Routing for Operators

For mobile operators, HLR Lookup offers the unique opportunity to more efficiently perform Least Cost Routing (LCR). 

How so? An HLR Lookup provides an operator with high-speed access to comprehensive MSISDN information such as home network details (MCC & MNC), the serving HLR, country prefix, ported status, as well as information on visited networks and where a subscriber is roaming. 

With this information, a carrier can optimize routing and traffic to ensure correct billing while giving subscribers better roaming services. 

Not only does an HLR Lookup provide thorough, up-to-date information, it also allows operators to provide greater service coverage.

6. Enhance Telephony (VoIP) Service Providers

SMS aggregators and call services that connect calls via the internet (VoIP), such as Skype or Yolla, can use HLR Lookups to identify the mobile network a specific number is connected to. They can then determine if it’s roaming or not and automatically establish a route for the call.

7. Helpful for App Developers

Android and Apple iOS developers often use HLR Lookups in many ways. For example, they use them to collect necessary information to build apps that identify phone number networks and allow the per-minute rate of a call to appear on the screen before the user makes a call.

8. Market Research 

HLR lookups allow entities like market research companies and polling organizations to determine the location of a phone number (i.e HLR, MSC, or Area Code). 

9. Travel and Insurance 

Travel and insurance companies can use HLR lookups to determine the country a phone is located in. This can save both money and time.

HLR lookups have an array of benefits for almost any company in any industry.

So, where can a business go to do HLR lookups? The answer is simple. By connecting with an HLR lookup service provider.

An HLR lookup service provider can equip your business with the software you need to access an HLR and collect the data you need.

Partner With an HLR Service Provider Today

When choosing an HLR service provider, you’ll want to ensure you partner with a company that can support you in several key areas.

Be sure your provider can offer:

  • Fast and cost-effective integration
  • A stable, secure and reliable user interface (API, Customer Portal, etc.)
  • The ability to display the data you need in a beautiful user-friendly format that allows you to effectively interpret it
  • Cost-effective rates

LANCK Telecom provides a cost-effective HLR lookup service managed through a user-friendly, state-of-the-art customer portal or API. 

Our clients can submit HLR lookup requests via a beautiful and simple interface to instantly retrieve the data they need.

In addition to a state-of-the-art HLR lookup service, LANCK Telecom brings decades of experience to each partnership they make, ensuring each client that they are in good hands. 

As an international carrier, LANCK Telecom has been providing cutting-edge telecommunication services across the whole world for over 20 years. These services include fraud management, voice and SMS termination, DID technology, roaming and much more.

Today, we are joined by more than 1,500 partners in hundreds of countries around the globe.

We have established points of presence in the primary interconnect centers of Europe, Africa, Asia, North America and Latin America.

With LANCK Telecom, you can rest assured that you are receiving cutting-edge service along with an experienced team to guide you through integration and support you at every step of your journey. 

Get HLR Lookup Service Today From LANCK Telecom

We make calls, post to social media, give likes, email, text, and even speak with friends across the globe over WiFi for free. 

Behind the scenes, operators are accessing, collecting and working with important information stored on our phones. They do this to ensure that people and businesses from any industry can connect with their friends, family and clients in a safe, effective and cost-efficient way in an age of digital fraud.

With an HLR lookup service from a reliable, trustworthy HLR service provider, you can begin protecting your business, protecting your clients, expanding your reach, adding efficiency to your campaigns and eliminating costs today.

If you’re interested in hearing more about LANCK Telecom’s HLR service, feel free to contact our team today and one of our HLR specialists will be in touch. 

If you’re ready to set up an HLR lookup service today, get in touch with us here and one of our integration specialists will contact you to get started.