Tata Communications hopes to make it easier for mobile network operators to offer a more consistent 4G international roaming service to customers after completing an 18 month infrastructure trial.
Available from this week, Tata's LTE Roaming Service is designed to "eliminate the interconnection and interworking complexities of global LTE [4G] roaming”.
Tata is offering a managed service that claims to simplify “global roaming complexity, offering a single interconnect point and facilitating protocol interworking across multiple mobile operators".
Tata's LTE Roaming Service is designed to enable mobile network operators (MNOs) to "fast track" their roll-out of LTE roaming in "a cost-effective and scalable manner", streamlining roaming interconnect arrangements between mobile operators, replacing the need for hundreds of bilateral peer associations with a single centralised robust interconnect point.
Jeffrey Bak, Tata vice president for mobility services product management, said: “Demand for 4G services is set to explode within the next two years, with some providers announcing price plans which are comparable to 3G. To support this our LTE Roaming Service is already in place to reduce the complexity and risks for MNOs as they move to 4G."
In the UK EE is the only operator currently offering 4G, but at a premium cost over 3G. The other major operators are expected to offer 4G once the current Ofcom 4G spectrum auction is completed in early spring.
Over 18 months Tata conducted trials with infrastructure suppliers and mobile operators to understand the complexities of 4G roaming, and the challenges involved in making it work across different implementations.
The LTE Roaming Service comprises Tata Communications’ Diameter Signalling eXchange platform to enable roaming authentication and policy control, and the IPX Connect system for data roaming and transport.