With LTE, operators are now able to offer their subscribers huge bandwidths and significantly improved quality of service, but they also have to face new challenges. LTE drastically changed the mobility architecture and led to the adoption of new interfaces, frequencies, protocols, which ultimately impacted on the state of roaming.
A 2013 Informa report on the market status of LTE Roaming found that most operators hadn’t even finished their roaming strategy. By 2015, operators who deployed LTE networks had data roaming only in a few countries.
Our answer to the LTE roaming dilemma is YateUCN.
The actual dilemma
Roaming allows subscribers to use voice and data services when they are abroad. There are two main aspects to keep in mind when discussing roaming:
- commercial — roaming agreements between operators
- technical implementation — SS7 (Camel/MAP) protocol in the case of 2.5G and 3G networks, and Diameter in 4G networks
Each roaming protocol requires new roaming and interconnect agreements, even with existing partners. Therefore, once an operator deploys a 4G network, it will need new roaming agreements for their LTE subscribers.
Operators who want to add an LTE network will have to face two challenges related to:
- deploying a network with a radically different infrastructure, including new interfaces and protocols
- setting up new roaming agreements for Diameter, since LTE roaming requires it
YateUCN, our core network solution, allows 4G devices to authenticate to foreign partners over SS7 roaming agreements, to an HLR.
YateUCN is a mixed 2.5G/4G core network server, capable of replacing all the core network equipments associated to both networks, while also using both Camel/MAP and Diameter for roaming.
YateUCN also makes it possible for 4G devices to be registered to a 2.5G network and a 4G network at the same time, if necessary.
With this kind of approach, MNOs will tap the great opportunity LTE roaming is, while also using the standing roaming agreements with their partners. Operators will gain time to set up the right agreements, and at the same time will garner new revenues by encouraging their customers to use data roaming.