The European Union (EU) has declared July 1 something of a Roaming Independence Day – the day when mobile customers in Europe can start to use mobile devices outside of their domestic coverage areas without worrying about bill shock. It’s also the day customers can start selecting alternative roaming providers (ARP) if they so choose.
Many areas of the globe take roaming for granted, but with the fragmented telecom sector in Europe, customers often need to roam when they travel between EU countries. For consumers, the connected continent concept would result in more choice, fewer surprises on the monthly bill and lower costs. For operators, it will mean ensuring connectivity and interoperability between network infrastructure involved in the charging, authorization and authentication of roaming subscribers.
The implication is that domestic operators will have to connect with ARPs, and the specific requirements of doing so will vary depending on the business model that the participants elect to follow. For example, an ARP that has deployed an online charging platform may need to connect to the gateway node of each of the corresponding domestic networks with which it wants to exchange charging and authorization information for the purposes of delivering mobile data services. In many cases, this may be over Diameter, but that won’t necessarily always be the case.
These new rules pose challenges that may introduce additional complexity and interoperability issues, which could potentially slow down implementation options if left unaddressed. Fortunately, there is a new generation of Diameter signaling controllers that address potential interworking and vendor interoperability issues. The BorderNet™ Diameter Services Helix is uniquely constructed to combine Diameter routing and security with an intuitive and flexible service orchestration and interworking framework. For service providers looking to interwork a broad range of charging platforms with multiple types of gateway elements, it may just be the solution needed for declaring roaming independence.
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