Thinking of The LTE Roaming Tidbits In The News

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Ahead of the signaling show (who knew?) that starts tomorrow … I have been noticing a flood of information including various press releases about LTE roaming. I don’t have much that I can say publicly other than what I can observe in the public domain. So I wanted to point out some recent examples.

As you may or may not know, there’s some real challenges to LTE roaming around the radio interface, such as the ability of a device to operate everywhere based on radio bands supported, other than that, nearly all other big issues are primarily in the business domain if you exclude VoLTE for the moment.  I thought it would be interesting to have a look at some of the public info out there regarding LTE roaming.

Firstly, why LTE roaming? Simple, there are LTE subs nearly everywhere now. Chart above shows something like 100M now. Unlike 3G with the different flavors, this is interesting because multiple (or greater number of) networks could potentially host foreign subs in a given location and since the subs are substantially on a single standard, a greater number to deal with.

As you can probably guess, there are 3 domains the situation exists in. Firstly is from the network standards point of view. 3GPP and others have been working on filling in the gaps to help the situation. Release 9 and 10 fix some roaming holes in the standard (actually just standardized the fixes) and go a long way. Beow Sybase has a network diagram for your viewing pleasure. You may recognize that Diameter is a key protocol between the networks and it’s relatively new into the marketplace. Verizon and others are still discovering the ins and outs of using it. 

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