The mobile operator community is working to address the increasing need for bandwidth that accompanies the rollout of next generation 4G networks. These Long Term Evolution (LTE) networks pave the way to full IP convergence, which operators see as a key to enabling accelerated time-to-market of new services that can drive customer satisfaction and generate new revenues.
As operators launch LTE services in their home markets, consumers will naturally expect the same quality experience everywhere — even when they are abroad. In view of this requirement mobile operators that deploy LTE networks in their domestic markets are starting to review options available to ensure LTE services allow seamless roaming overseas.
The first users of LTE will typically be VIP customers or key corporate accounts, a segment made up of high-end users and frequent travelers. To serve these premium customers, and the proliferation of data services and smartphones, operators will need to address LTE roaming requirements sooner, rather than later.
Prepare for roaming
New services on LTE networks, such as video streaming, HD voice and Voice over LTE applications, put high demands on the data roaming backbone and require much more bandwidth and resilient network connectivity. As mobile operators review their LTE roaming connectivity options, they will need to consider the following business and technical factors:
In the LTE roaming environment, mobile operators can connect to an LTE roaming 136 hub, a hub that will also facilitate connectivity to the wider operator community made up of operators that also connected to the same hub.
To facilitate active deployment for mobile operators, the LTE roaming hub will also need to provide an outsourced DRA capability running on the hub itself. Operators have the option to utilise this outsourced DRA capability immediately to connect to roaming partners.
This may sound easy, but, as the industry has experienced through operator trials, interworking with suppliers’ DRA equipment can be challenging. Whilst specifications are defined for the Diameter protocol, unique supplier variations are evident and require mapping to enable seamless interworking.
In the initial stages of LTE roaming deployments, it is likely operators will facilitate their connection via an LTE roaming hub. The business benefits delivered by this approach are as follows:
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Matthew Tonkin oversees SAP Mobile Services’ global GRX/IPX/LTE Roaming business. In addition Tonkin is responsible for managing and driving the company’s growth and market leadership in both Enterprise Services and Mobile Operator Services businesses across the AsiaPac region, through a combination of direct sales and a partner & alliances sales network.
This article is a sample article from SAP Mobile Services' first-ever “Mobile Operator Guide 2013: The Evolution of Mobile Services: Challenges, Strategies, Opportunities." The complete Guide can be found here.