18 Sep 2013
When will we see widespread commercial agreements for LTE roaming?
The first LTE roaming corridors are being created this year, and next year we will begin to see the real take-up of commercial LTE roaming traffic as a critical mass of operators and their IPX carriers will be ready for LTE roaming.
iBasis has been at the forefront, preparing our IPX for LTE roaming and peering. So, from the perspective of "the man-in-the-middle", iBasis is ready to support widespread commercial adoption of LTE roaming right now. In fact, our hub, or exchange model, which we call the LTE Signaling eXchange will accelerate the spread of international LTE roaming by helping operators deliver that capability, as well as other new services, to their subscribers faster and more efficiently. We believe the pace will accelerate over the next 12 to 24 months as more operators complete their domestic deployments and home-country roaming agreements.
Is it now common for LTE roaming destinations to be connected via a Diameter hub?
Yes. The first few LTE roaming corridors were made with direct interconnects, but to be scalable and rebuild the roaming partner community as quickly and cost-effectively as possible, a Diameter hub is essential. The demand for LTE and LTE roaming is such that operators need to scale as soon as possible to satisfy that demand. The hubbing or exchange model is the fastest and most efficient way to overcome the interoperability and interconnect issues that arise from interconnecting hundreds of roaming partners.
What impact will IPX have?
IPX is a must for LTE roaming and interconnect due to the IP nature of LTE and the required quality differentiation that LTE voice, signaling, data and messaging requires from the underlying IP infrastructure. Technically speaking it is possible, for example, to run Diameter traffic over the GRX on a small scale for trials or the first few roamers.
But the GSMA IPX model is the right solution for meeting the varying quality of service demands across voice, video, data, signaling and messaging. As the complexity of the network increases and roaming margins come under pressure, operators will benefit from an IPX partnership with a vendor that can evolve all services, risk-free, to the new IP infrastructure.