In 2012, VoLTE made it’s debut with the first VoLTE networks being launched in South Korea. Not long thereafter, an increasing number of MNOs followed South Korea’s example by introducing voice on their own 4G networks. Since then, from 2015 to 2018, the number of VoLTE networks around the world has nearly tripled!
Find out more fascinating statistics concerning the world of VoLTE by checking out this handy infographic below!
With 2018 in full swing, Reach, VoLTE and Analytics remains central to the expansion of the iBasis LTE footprint. We continue to partner with customers to build and grow and now have more than 530 LTE destinations, with 1.3 billion subscribers covered by our direct routes. Our LTE Roaming solution provides a very high level of quality, scalability as well as a secure and profitable path to new IP based services such as voice over LTE and IoT. These services are fortified by the unique business analytics of InVision.
Our fast and successful track record has led iBasis to become top 3. As a top provider we are dedicated to ensuring that our customers are prepared and in the best position to face the upcoming challenges in the international market and to benefit from the next wave of innovation.
A few weeks ago ROCCO announced the tier one vendors in their IPX Networks Vendor Performance Research. Among the five companies MNO rated as the best in performance and leadership was iBASIS.
Recently Jason Bryan, ROCCO CEO, interviewed Chris Lennartz iBasis Head of Product Management Mobile Services that we are pleased to share.
Jason Bryan: Congratulations on the recent success in the IPX Research!
Chris Lennartz: We are very honored to be recognized as one of Tier 1 IPX vendors, it is truly the reward we have been looking for after our tremendous growth in LTE roaming and the confirmation that mobile operators are looking for a more open environment. They are demanding a lot more in terms of IP expertise, operational support in managing their exploding data roaming traffic and creative way, innovations to face the quickly changing market.
We are exceptionally happy with two things:
First of all, I am very proud that we are ranked first in the general rating, ie the general perception of the operators. That intuitive result at the end of the day says more to me than the eventual numerical result.
And second, the graph of the vendor performance over the last 3 years shows the impressive progress of iBasis: from a 3,83 to a 4,12 where the establishment remains the same or lower. This for me is the objective proof that our Challenger and “making LTE roaming work” mantra has worked. We are now part of the establishment, which means we provide a Tier 1 service, but we will NEVER lose our challenger mentality. A mentality which is still present in our campaign “Partnership + Adaptability + Excellence, it’s in our nature”.
Jason: One highlight from the report on iBasis was that you are an easy company to work with, why do you think it is?
Chris:As said, our motto when we started this 5 years ago was “Making LTE Roaming Work” which in practice means we won’t leave the premises of the customer until everything work like expected. And more. We have done bespoke solutions with customers where they had a problem with their HSS SW version which we could resolve in our DRAs for 1/10th of the cost of the alternative. As a challenger, we go the extra mile because all the turmoil in the roaming market asks for a partner which is extremely flexible on all fronts: technical, operational but also commercial. We adapt ourselves to the context of the customer. That is why our new campaign revolves around Partnership, Adaptability and Excellence being in our nature, which means we will never treat any customer like one of many, but we will treat all of them as our very first.
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.
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
Since the beginning of time people have been involved in trade, which involves the transfer of goods or services from one person to another. First locally, and later across borders. International trade of goods and services has taken place throughout history with classical examples such as the ‘Salt Road’, ‘Amber Road’, and ‘Silk Road’. In the Telecoms Industry, trading minutes is commonplace, especially across borders, where international communication has become an indispensable part of our everyday life.
Moving to VoLTE to the International Arena
As described by Adam Smith in his book “Wealth of Nations” merchants looked for an “absolute advantage” by learning to exploit their domestic strengths in the search of new economic opportunities. VoLTE, Voice over 4G, is as domestic strengths that Carriers are bringing from the national stage to the international voice market in order to find new opportunity in this highly competitive market. iBasis is proud to be a frontrunner, together with partner SK Telink, servicing the international VoLTE of MNO’s KPN Mobile and SK Telecom.
Today more than 100 domestic VoLTE Networks around the world are operational. A few of these are nationally interconnected, e.g. in South Korea, USA, Kuwait and China. Mobile operators in these countries provide their local subscribers with VoLTE’s high quality clear voice experience and fast data access across the domestic footprint. However, these national networks are like walled gardens with no actual connection to the broader world beyond the domestic borders, thus limiting the customer’s experience to their home market.
Milestone in VoLTE Interworking
Together with South Korean partner SK Telink, iBasis recently achieved a milestone in VoLTE interworking. As of May 2017 live VoLTE traffic began between mobile carriers, KPN in the Netherlands and SK Telecom in South Korea. The connection between these two domestic mobile carriers was facilitated by the IP networks of iBasis and SK Telink. The first international end-to-end VoLTE traffic! With a concerted, effort the KPN Mobile and SK Telecom subscribers are now able to call each other with a crystal-clear voice quality across boundaries, operators and borders.
With this breakthrough the march toward international VoLTE commercialization is also moving forward. High-quality voice service encourages usage on the mobile network, deterring users from seeking alternatives. Combined with global availability, they can become key competitive advantages for mobile network operators.
iBasis and SK Telink Take the Lead
iBasis and SK Telink are providing the IPX interconnectivity between the mobile networks of KPN and SK Telecom. The iBasis IPX is a single multi-service IP interconnect service to interconnect operators on a global scale with guaranteed quality and security, and offering mobile operators high-quality routes, redundancy, and diversity.
So, besides national VoLTE, we are proud to now expand the horizon with international VoLTE. If you are interested in learning more please contact Kees Hol, Product Manager for VoLTE at iBasis firstname.lastname@example.org.
Complete the form below to request a copy of the recent International VoLTE Interworking presentation.
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.
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.
Mobile operators around the world are launching Voice service over their LTE infrastructure (VoLTE) as the primary voice solution for their LTE subscribers. Unlike traditional circuit-switched voice, VoLTE exclusively uses IP packets over the LTE core network. Regardless of whether the call is domestic, international or roaming, is free of charge to the end user. Such a collective operational decision among the GSMA community simplifies the process of billing and settlement among MNOs, however it introduces a vulnerability for exploitation from some adversaries.
When it comes to decision-making, as a general rule, people like to be presented with options. That’s certainly true in political elections. Sometimes the differences between options is very clear and it’s easy to express a preference. Other times, there are trade-offs and the choice is more difficult. One has to carefully evaluate the potential long-term impacts of either choice. This is where the similarity with VoLTE, and specifically VoLTE roaming comes in.
Voting for International VoLTE
A logical next step for a mobile operator, after having launched VoLTE domestically, is to select the method for providing international VoLTE roaming to its subscribers. The number of domestic VoLTE networks is growing at the rate of about one launch per week. So inevitably, a very large number of operators will need to make a choice for a VoLTE roaming method, and possibly struggle with the available alternatives.
The number of operators with VoLTE launched has grown exponentially in the past few years, starting with 3 in December 2012, to 82 in August 2016 (source: GSMA).
Available Choices for VoLTE Roaming
Today, operators can provide roaming with a fallback to 3G roaming. However, if an MNO wants to reap the benefits of VoLTE to its full extent, the 4G roaming methods as defined by GSMA – S8 Home Routed (S8HR) and Local Break-Out (LBO) – are the future-proof way forward. But, like opposing candidates in an election race, they come with trade-offs.
S8HR is gaining traction in the market, due to its simplicity and potential for shorter time-to-market.
One result of S8HR is the transition from voice roaming minutes to data roaming packets. This change brings along a drop in revenues for the visited network, as the gain in data roaming revenues doesn’t compensate for the loss in voice roaming revenues. This effect may sound attractive for the home network operator, as S8HR will lower its roaming costs, but the flip side is that the wholesale department of this home network operator will lose mobile terminating revenues.
The S8HR voice minutes are now treated as data. They are transported back to the home network, bypassing the wholesale/carrier department of the operator, and revenue is no longer generated with the termination of voice into the home network. Depending on the specific situation of the mobile operator – whether more inbound or outbound roaming – S8HR can also make the net spend less favorable.
Watch this space for more to come on the tradeoffs of LBO.