Full MVNO Architecture - MVNO Core Network
What is a full MVNO?
A full MVNO is a mobile operator that provides services to its subscribers without owning a Radio Access Network.
A full MVNO will need his own HSS/HLR, GMSC, GGSN, PGW and SMSC. Depending on the business model you choose to apply there are other Core Network nodes that you could use, such as USGW or OTA gateway.
Further, we will discuss the following topics:
Full MVNO Architecture
The MVNO architecture would look like the following diagrams and it would be the Home Network. It will use the RAN and a part of the Core of the MNO that it has a roaming agreement with.
The MVNO network is called Home Network while the MNO network is called Visited Network. These two communicate with each other based on a roaming agreement.
The Roaming agreement is the business understanding between the two operators that settles the ground base on which they will collaborate. It is a signed contract that sets the rules on which they are going to work together.
The Home Network and the Visited Network communicate with each other via the Anchor nodes.
|Services||GSM (2G)||LTE (4G)|
1. Mobile-terminated (MT) calls in MVNO network
We’ll start with the easy part of voice calls, which are MT (Mobile Terminated) calls. They are standard and do not pose any technical issues for an MVNO.
2. Mobile-originated (MO) calls
Usually, the Home network doesn’t have control over the call because it doesn’t go through the MVNO architecture. This would make the billing enforcement very difficult. You would not have any information on the subscriber’s activity or when he reaches his limit. Therefore, technical MVNO solutions were created in order to solve these problems, such as SCF or MO Gateway.
The HSS/HLR of the MVNO provides extra information to the visited network (MNO). The MSC of the visited network makes a CAMEL request to a node called Service Control Function (SCF) whenever a call is made. This Service Control Function performs third-party call control over the call and can disconnect it when necessary.
The MVNO can also divert the call from the visited (MNO) network’s anchor node to a Mobile-Originated Gateway that belongs to the home network (MVNO). This way the call can be managed in whatever way the MVNO decides. The call is sent to the target network and can go on a special route with lower prices. These kinds of MVNO solutions are often used to provide cheaper routes that would support your business model.
3. Short Message Service (SMS)
A full MVNO needs to interconnect with all the national operators and with a roaming hub for Short Message Services.
Number portability is one of the reasons why an MVNO has to interconnect with all the national operators. If a subscriber is porting his number to another network you have to send and receive calls and SMSs.
To deliver a short message from a subscriber, the message has to go through the SMSC of the visited network (MNO) first and then to the SMSC of the home network (MVNO) based on information written on the SIM.
The SMSC stores the message and interrogates the HLR about the target address of the message. It will receive an answer and try to do a delivery according to the answer.
If the receiver of the message is a subscriber of another network, the home SMSC will send the message to the target network’s SMSC.
It is very important for any operator to send and receive SMSs of its subscribers and that’s why it’s mandatory to interconnect the SMSC
Yate-based MVNO architecture
Test your network before deployment
A full MVNO architecture needs to be tested for every technical aspect. For every service package there are multiple scenarios that need to be tested.
You need to know ahead how your equipment will work and how you can build up your network.
VoLTE Lab is a complete test suite for Voice-over-LTE, that includes the LTE LabKit, the MiniCore and two iPhone 6s. It is fully configured and intended for use as a VoLTE test bed and learning environment. With VoLTE Lab you can have a deep view into the internals of VoLTE technology, with Wireshark.