Peak Performance During High Peak Roaming Season

What a busy few months it has been. We kicked off the peak roaming season with 2.9 million foreign fans travelling to Russia for the World Cup and ended it with 1.7 million international pilgrims attending the Hajj, in Saudi Arabia. When you add some of the hottest weather on record it made for an interesting summer.

At iBasis we began preparing for European summer in the depths of winter. We increased our backbone capacity threefold and completed multiple individual customer upgrades in the spring, thus further strengthening our IPX ecosystem.  We projected traffic expectations with our customers and, based on this profiling, increased capacity in our main data aggregation centers (for example AMSIX) and with our IPX peering partners. We also performed an emergency upgrade within 24 hours, when a customer’s traffic exceeded all expectations.

We were delighted that some of our biggest customers chose to use iBasis for the majority of their traffic and we handled large scale destination migrations for them.

Summer came early this year with the advent of the World Cup in June.  LTE signaling transactions almost doubled in Russia; the majority of which was during the group stage, when fans were able to follow their teams’ progress.

But no matter where they were, at home or abroad, fans all tuned in to see the final few matches, particularly if their team was playing. This created some interesting peaks in data usage.

A lot of extra attention was paid by our NOC to our customers whose countries qualified for the World Cup and we provided regular quality updates and analysis of their traffic. It was wonderful to hear how much this was valued.

As the summer progressed the number of roamers continued to increase. Active roamers grew by 60% year-on-year but the peak volume of data they consumed increased by 82%. Subscribers who benefited from the introduction of Roam Like Home last summer became comfortable using their data allowances abroad.

We wrapped up the high season with the Eid celebration and a 75% increase in LTE traffic to Saudi Arabia for The Hajj pilgrimage and a 250% growth in SCCP signaling traffic.

So as we look to the future we are continuing to add new customers and expand our direct reach while we focus on providing the highest quality network, exceptional customer experience and outstanding value for money.

Multi-Service IPX: Flexibility is Key

Last month’s Global Carrier Community Meeting (GCCM) in Berlin was attended by many carriers and providers from the Central and Eastern Europe region. There were many very interesting discussions about the global wholesale market, with the revenue pressure and pricing challenges that we all experience and also a lot of promising opportunities worldwide and specifically for the region. These promising voice and messaging opportunities all have something in common: they all request a flexible approach to ensure that the opportunities can be realized quickly and in a secured manner.

Here are a few interesting cases that I came across during this two day event.

Managing Multiple Mobile Termination Rates (MMTRs) continues to be a serious concern for many operators. The challenge for operators on the destination side is that, as a result of MMTRs, end-users are charged different termination rates depending upon where the call originated from. And, the differences between the termination charges can be quite significant! Understanding the complex origin based routing and billing mechanisms is critical for business continuity.  Not all operators have this level of expertise available and risk incurring additional costs or missing additional margin.

The MMTR trend is here to stay, and becoming even more widespread, and iBasis can help to avoid the costly surcharges, without having to invest in your own development to support MMTR routing and rating.  iBasis is investing heavily in voice in 2018 and our enhanced routing platform provides the capability to easily and quickly customize to meet your voice needs.

Strengthening Partnerships has also been at the core of our discussions during the conference. Developing new types of deals, like win-win deals for each partner, requires a new and different approach, commercially, technically and operationally.  Flexibility in our approach is very critical for success.  We work closely with our customers to create customized offerings from our extensive portfolio of Voice, Mobile, Roaming and IoT services that best fit our customers’ needs. Our partnership with Turkcell is an illustration of how we can leverage complementary footprint and develop a flexible business model that meet our partner’s objectives while extending iBasis reach.

And last but not least, iBasis IPX network has been recognized by the industry as the best IPX network. We are honored to receive this award which recognized innovation and achievements among member telecom wholesale operators around the globe and independently judged by a panel of 13 telecoms analysts and experts from the industry. It inspires us to work harder. iBasis is making significant investments in our IPX Network, both commercially and technically, in order to support and strengthen our customers’ business. As your partner, we remain focus on ensuring worldwide interoperability, reliability, and Quality of Service. Visit our network page to learn more about our IPX network.

 

 

 

The End of Geo-Blocking – Towards a Single Digital Market

Have you ever experienced a message like the one below, where you were not allowed to access specific content in another country because copyright prohibited it?

That is history.

 

“This video contains content from BBC worldwide, who has blocked it in your country on copyright grounds”

From April 1st 2018, Geo-blocking (limited access to internet by geographic location) has been eliminated, which means we can consume digital goods from any EU country in any EU country.On top of the Roam-Like-Home regulations that came into effect last year, this is another step to a Single Digital European market , where consumers can roam across the EU countries without limitations and worries. From an IPX perspective, this is great news, as it will drive more (video) traffic, especially during events like the upcoming Soccer World Cup in Russia this Summer, where travelers can now watch their favorite team live via their preferred channel. And video requires specific Quality of Service handling to ensure the best user experience, so the traffic surge won’t be just a traffic surge, but traffic that requires “special treatment”.

As iBasis, we love such a double challenge. If you are unsure what coming Summer will bring when it comes to traffic increase and how to deal with it, we are there to help you with specialized teams, analytics tools and our IPX to carry it for you. Please contact us for more information.

Migration from TDM to VoIP – iBasis is Enabling Multiservice Innovation

Voice business is at our core and we continue to invest in it to deliver great value and the best in class, high quality IP network. iBasis believes that new IP infrastructure delivers multiple benefits and can significantly increase business of our partners.

Migrating from TDM to VoIP has many advantages for operators: support for multiple services (voice, data and video) over a single connection; a flexible network; and high-quality, feature-rich VoIP. The net benefit — a competitive edge in a challenging market and the opportunity to capitalize on first-to-market IP services.

Through our extensive experience, iBasis enables multiservice innovation by understanding how to deal with complexities and interoperability challenges, setting the right priorities and offering dedicated resources. iBasis partners with its customers to ensure a smooth transition from legacy TDM to an all-IP network. We encourage our partners to join the numerous customers we are helping with the TDM to IP migration.

Please speak with your Account Manager about the plans for TDM and how iBasis may collaborate to support your teams.

 

What are Your Top Requirements for IPX Networks?

Roaming Consulting Company, ROCCO, recently asked this question as part of their 2017 survey to rate IPX vendor performance. The report shows that the top 3 requirements are; VoLTE Readiness, LTE Roaming Reach, and Troubleshooting response time.

iBasis is focusing on meeting your needs: we successfully interconnected and carried commercial international VoLTE traffic. We are ready to deploy and support all roaming models. Our reach has increased exponentially and now covers more than 500 LTE Destinations in 170 countries.  Moreover, our award-winning data analytics cloud platform is constantly evolving to troubleshoot all types of traffic ensuring fast resolution. 

iBasis is honored to be recognized as a top tier one provider ranking first in the General Rating portion of the ROCCO report. With all the turmoil in the roaming market, our customers need a partner that is extremely flexible technically, operationally and commercially.

Our investments in capacity, quality, analytics and IoT capabilities, enable us to leverage IPX opportunities as Roam Like Home and IoT proliferates. We are also able to provide the flexibility you’re looking for with our combined offering of Voice, Roaming and IoT, which is bringing new revenues.

We thank you for the great feedback we received through this report.  We are pleased that the results confirm we are on the right track to meet our commitment to provide our customers the Partnership, Adaptability, Excellence – to help you succeed.

Solving The IoT Challenges of Mobile Network Operators (MNOs)

Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) are the owners of a key asset required to connect wide area high bandwidth Internet of Things (IoT) devices – the Mobile Network. In these still early days of the Internet of Things, many MNOs are developing their business plans on how to address the IoT opportunity, while others have been working on their plans and services for more than seven years. For all, the Internet of Things represents an opportunity and a challenge.

The Opportunity

MNOs have the opportunity to bring new revenue generating devices to their networks in multiple ways. Some have matured to the point of offering full IoT solutions such as vehicle solutions, asset management, and smarter cites, among others. Others have taken a different approach and offer web based ordering of IoT SIMs to allow developers and manufacturers to purchase mobile data access for their “things”. Still others will work with systems integrators and innovative access partners to bring IoT devices to their network. Regardless of the approach, if the Fourth Industrial Revolution has anything to say about it, one would expect all MNOs will have IoT devices on their network before long – at least the ones they know about!

The Challenge

Today, MNOs face many challenges both in allowing IoT devices of their roaming partners to roam on their network and in offering their own IoT services. To be sure, when MNOs allow IoT devices on their networks, they prefer to allow them on their own terms. Currently, this is not the case, and many MNOs have IoT devices roaming on their networks they don’t even know about.

Challenges with IoT Roaming Devices

Roaming agreements between mobile operators are negotiated based on the device profile for a consumer mobile handset. Since the device profile for an IoT device is very different, with most devices using very little data, the MNO is not sufficiently compensated for the device roaming on their network. To make matters worse, the device is usually a “globally deployed” device from an IoT manufacturer in a different region or country and the device is actually a “permanently roaming” device.
To solve this problem, MNOs would like to have partners that could at least identify the IMSI ranges of IoT devices entering their network and have agreements in place to be properly compensated for the network usage (e.g. when it is not in the form of data). As the next generation SIM technology, the embedded SIM (eSIM) or eUICC, gains wider use, MNOs could work with innovative access partners to easily identify IoT devices on their network and have the correct agreements in place to be compensated for them. With such a solution, MNOs will have better control over IoT devices entering their networks and prevent those devices from permanently roaming.

MNO Challenges in offering their own IoT Services

When offering or considering offering their own IoT services, MNOs have a different set of challenges:

• Providing proper coverage assurance
• Roaming bill shock when sending traffic to roaming partners
• Inability to guarantee connectivity and user experience of traffic from a partner network
• Competition for the same customer (the IoT Service Provider)

While some IoT devices only communicate sporadically (e.g. luggage tracker), others may send significant amounts of data frequently (e.g. video surveillance drone, connected car). When relying completely on roaming agreements for devices that leave an MNO’s network, it may be difficult to assure the necessary cost, coverage technology (3G or 4G) or application/user experience most suitable for a particular IoT device. Using eSIM and next generation network selection technology, a local network can be selected according to the cost, network coverage and quality required by a particular device – functionality that is not available in traditional steering of roaming solutions. Providing high quality mobile data access for their customers globally deployed or travelling “things”, will allow MNOs to compete for, and retain, IoT Service Provider customers.

Carriers World Panel Session

On Wednesday September 27th at 11:20 Kees Hol, iBasis Business Strategist, will be participating in a panel session discussion on Reality check: Why has the IPX interconnect market proved slow to pick up and what can be done to change this? Topics discussed will include:

  • Delivering business models for IPX success
  • How can carriers make it easier for MNOs to connect to IPX networks?
  • Simplifying your IPX offering
  • Understanding the value proposition of IPX
  • How can IPX offerings change to support MNO business models?

Panel participants: Jan Karmakar, Director International Carrier Business & Roaming, Tele2 Group, Ravindran Mahalingam, VP EMEA, HGC, and Kees Hol, Business Strategist, iBasis

Moderator: Philippe Millet, Chair, i3forum & Head, Technical Strategy, Orange Labs Network

Making 2017 a Profitable Year!

It’s with great pleasure that I welcome you to the first 2017 edition of iBasis mobile newsletter. Since joining iBasis six months ago I have been amazed by the tremendous opportunities and momentum I have observed in our industry: iBasis welcomed 20 new mobile customers in 2016, and this positive trend has continued into 2017.

We are strongly committed to help you deliver the best quality of experience, with the flexibility and smart customization required for you to harvest the new growth opportunities in this exciting and challenging environment.

We are focusing all our efforts to help you prepare with the right IPX architecture, analytics support and models to leverage the current roaming opportunities and the emerging growth in the exploding global IOT sector.

We expect 2017 to be a pivotal year, especially as the new EU regulation will be fully implemented and any premiums for international calls will phase out. Roam like Home plans are impacting all regions, challenging all of us to keep up with data and video traffic demands while also reducing costs. Over the past year, with acceleration during the last quarter 2016, we have ensured that the iBasis IPX network, enhanced with our InVision advanced analytics tools, is adequately prepared to serve your growing international traffic with predictable cost and consistent quality.

We know that you can experience significant variation in bandwidth needs, with extreme peaks in summer. Traditional interconnect and pricing won’t work anymore. So, we designed models that are cost-efficient, predictable, flexible, scalable and high-quality for both data and signaling: these customized models can match cost against pressurized revenues. Plus, with our service management team, we put in place the right organization to be responsive and flexible in order to enable you to make 2017 profitable while delivering the best roamer experience.

With LTE becoming the preferred network in use both in terms of subscribers and in terms of traffic, we know that Voice over LTE will follow. We are experiencing rising demand for VoLTE interconnects and expect this to expand in 2017. Many new mobile operators, mainly in Asia and in Africa without legacy 2G/3G networks, absolutely need Voice over LTE to satisfy their customers, and we are working with many of you on interconnect implementation projects. Our multiservice IPX is fully enabled not only to smoothly deploy VoLTE interconnects but also to ensure VoLTE roaming roll-out in both LBO and S8HR scenarios.

The roaming market is in a state of rapid evolution and disruption with the emergence of new IOT/M2M companies providing new kinds of connectivity for a very diverse range of devices and applications. It represents an exciting opportunity in terms of new pockets of traffic and revenues. I hope to meet many of you in the upcoming months, and I look forward to discussing further how we can help make 2017 a more profitable year for you.

VoLTE of People

The fifth generation (5G)
Today, 5G is the new buzzword. This fifth generation of mobile networks will offer a wide array of considerable improvements compared to 4G. Think of the capacity it will be able to hold, such as streaming live television via 5G home internet or data to and from autonomous (“driverless”) cars. The latter may need 5G to really kick into action. In addition to much higher data rates, more efficiency and less latency, an important aspect of 5G is that it is capable of supporting a whole new world – one where all types of devices are able to communicate with each other. This is also referred to as The Internet of Things (IoT) in which everything (humans and machines) is connected.

The fourth generation (4G)
Notwithstanding the promising outlook of 5G, we already have 4G/LTE, which has many benefits. As an example, LTE offers a radical change in how voice is treated over the mobile network: Voice over LTE (VoLTE). VoLTE brings faster call set-up time and much better voice quality. According to the GSMA, in October 2016, 91 mobile operators introduced VoLTE in their network and another operator is added to that list every week, on average. South Korea has the honor of being the first country in the world to introduce VoLTE. In 2012, three Korean mobile operators provided this enhanced voice service to their mobile subscribers.

A Connected World
Part of the 5G buzz is this notion of a connected world. This makes me think about the world of today in which we already have a large number of existing VoLTE networks, though not connected to each other. Why do mobile operators introduce VoLTE to their domestic network but withhold from their customers the advantages of VoLTE on a global scale? Why do they spend time and money on introducing VoLTE, but then cease to invest in the interconnection for VoLTE? VoLTE roaming may be an often-discussed topic, but VoLTE interworking is not yet high on the MNO list of priorities. A lack of additional revenue generation by VoLTE interworking is often heard as a possible reason for inhibiting this development. This may be true, but OTT providers do not wait; they continue to enhance and market their voice applications to present a compelling alternative that challenges the incumbent providers. VoLTE offers unique benefits, especially with its effectiveness (both in terms of cost and set-up time), and seamless, quaranteed quality.

With VoLTE interworking, directly or via an IPX hub, mobile operators can benefit from end-to-end HD voice quality and a global VoLTE reach in a cost-effective manner. In contrast to OTT players that provide a free calling app only within their own domain (“walled gardens”), the call quality with VoLTE interworking crosses network boundaries and helps MNOs distinguish themselves from OTT players. In South Korea, all of the country’s VoLTE-enabled subscribers are now able to make VoLTE calls across different mobile networks, thereby enjoying all the benefits that VoLTE has to offer.

What’s the Next Thing?
The popular answer is the Internet of Things, of course, in which all manner of devices ride the best possible network connections, and yes, that’s massive. But, we’re really not done connecting people in the best possible way, yet. So, in my view, the “next thing” is for other MNO’s to follow South Korea’s example in interconnection. Then the world will move from a situation with a few select interconnected VoLTE networks, to one with ubiquitous VoLTE service, a VoLTE of People (no doubt talking about the Internet of Things)! As an experienced voice and IPX provider, iBasis has the experience to support you in creating this connected VoLTE world. Learn more here.