Computing Insights on 5G Roaming

A study by Juniper Research anticipates the number of mobile users roaming on 5G networks is set to exceed 200 million within five years and the demand for a consistent data experience will also be boosted. With the advent of 5G roaming, the connected experience of travelers will be radically improved. But  not only subscribers  will benefit. 

Unlocking opportunity for subscribers and businesses 

Roaming requires complex coordination of processes between the operators involved and includes everything from setting up a handover mechanism between networks to accurate revenue sharing and  accurate billing enablement [1]. 5G supports multiple use cases such as Cellular and Industrial Internet of Things, Vehicle Use Cases and more. So, 5G roaming opens the door to new services and new revenue for businesses. These undoubtedly  generate huge amounts of data traffic, imposing demands on network security, low latency, and high density devices. 

Accordingly, mobile operators will be faced with critical challenges to ensure a compatible quality of service on both mobile and IoT connections by adjusting service capacity to meet the increased roaming traffic. Also certain requirements will become in sight for steering for 5G and IoT traffic control, slice management, integrity and steering security policies. So operators need  to have a clear understanding of the network and provide a comprehensive set of roaming solutions.

Analysts recommend operators develop roaming capabilities specifically for 5G to handle the predicted increase in demand and to ensure users have a consistent experience while roaming [2]. Big data analytics and real-time intelligence that provide insights into roaming behavior, traffic projections, device identification, and fraud control were among the top  5G roaming improvements and services demanded by operators, according to Kaleido’s operator survey in the first quarter of 2021 [3]. 

To optimize roaming revenue, a focus on predicting, forecasting, and impact analysis is required. Direct connectivity monitoring is necessary to control edge device connectivity performance by obtaining service metrics from both real-time and historical data.

Real-time insight: For businesses that don’t have direct visibility of their assets, 5G innovation opens the door to a double-edged monitoring opportunity.

Over private 5G networks or APNs, roaming analytics solutions allow businesses to monitor and analyze the connectivity status and data usage of all their devices (phones, sensors, and IoT). This is necessary on two levels: to ensure network security and to ensure that Communications Service Providers (CSPs) deliver the promised quality of service to Enterprises. Through direct detection of unusual data traffic, network security and asset protection can be improved [4]. Having a better understanding of network interconnections can help operators provide the best possible customer experience by quickly identifying and fixing network faults that affect roaming. To manage and grow their business, operators want sophisticated and actionable analytics and reporting services. Such a platform should process many of the current network protocols and work to pull in other protocols, including TAP, BCE, messaging, and even feed from an operator’s own system [5].  

Roaming Data gives intelligence and multi-dimensional insights to businesses.

Performance monitoring sensitivity can be set up for networks, and device use on the network can be analyzed. Using real-time and historical data from individual device usage; improving precision in addressing device-specific issues will become possible. Operators may identify issues affecting their devices by detecting devices with low Service Rating Scores (SRS) and detect anomalous applications and non-authorized services for identifying rogue use of illegitimate SIMs or unauthorized devices. At the application level, enhanced device analytics allows for analysis of connection status and service quality, real-time and historical location tracking of assets and rogue device detection. Furthermore, historical data retention, improved service quality, and detailed location insights are all conceivable [4]. 

Use-Case:

As automation plays a larger role in 5 G roaming, roaming insights which can be generated by analyzing roaming data obtained from operators via data mining are crucial in optimizing the roaming traffic. Insights can be generated by builded algorithms using several AI techniques. Using these insights, operators might be able to manage their resources optimally and optimize their steering policies by directing users to the most appropriate networks. For instance, for the periods where large amounts of data traffic is predicted; operators may sectionalize a part of their resources for cellular IoT devices and another part for subscribers. 

Geographical areas can be divided into regional parcels for data analysis, making data easier to process. Even separate evaluation for different IoT devices taking in mind the qualification information; a more precise evaluation & prediction is possible.

Such as Logistic regression, Adaptive learning, Noise reduction, Data smoothing and Supervised learning to smooth noise in the data are some examples of the techniques which can be used.

Essential requirements for data service quality measurement:

  • Country, MNO, APN
  • Average speed per country and network operator
  • Subscriber volumes and speed analytics
  • Downlink/Uplink volumes
  • APN/GGSN/PGW/SGSN/SWG volumes and speeds [3].

Monetizing 5G traffic to turn 5G roaming into revenue: 

As businesses become more complicated, 5G places additional demands on how charging and billing are handled, as well as how network interaction occurs. Operators will begin to come into the limitations of legacy pricing and invoicing systems like TAP as the number of 5G-enabled IoT devices roaming across networks increases. [6] In order to support 5G applications, new agreement platforms, billing, and charging approaches are needed to give operators more flexibility in how they link their networks, how they are authenticated, how they track usage, and how it is cleared and paid.

Not only will new forms of agreements emerge, but their quantity is predicted to expand by a ratio of five. For operators who resell roaming and global connection services to wholesale partners like MVNOs or enterprises, charging becomes even more complicated. In this situation, these operators typically cross-check these commercial agreements with their roaming agreements in order to estimate and track margins, fine-tune steering, and finally settle. As markets get more complicated, applications that can recommend and execute optimal traffic allocation become increasingly important.

The IoT is a global business that is distinct from consumer roaming behavior and usage habits. It has distinct standards for steering, coverage, and service quality. IoT devices typically consume very little traffic, necessitating the use of unique commercial tactics to generate a viable revenue stream. Otherwise, simply charging based on usage will be unprofitable. New billing and charging methodologies are required, especially for IoT agreements, because aggregated volumes and charges per segment must be certified as well, which is not doable with the present transaction-bases process. The capacity to detect this traffic using device-based or machine learning techniques is crucial to monetization.

When both usage and signaling data are merged, the detection logic becomes more precise, allowing even silent devices in perpetual roaming to be detected. Along with detection, you’ll be able to negotiate the best wholesale deals with roaming partners and build up proper, segregated, device-based rating and settlement processes. It is necessary to align these segments across all applications, including steering of roaming, billing, forecasting, simulation, and reporting.

IoT and 5G lead to new technical challenges to deliver Big data analytics

  • Own customized Big Data analytics examination is required for large IoT enterprises.
  • 5G supports network slices; certain types of traffic might be placed on particular network slices to avoid network crashes.
  • Costs should be monitored: Some IoT low revenue contributing traffic might be disposed of from the monitored traffic.
  • IoT device visibility and security should be considered to avoid becoming a botnet.

A technological leap: Network Slicing 

5G is about more than just offering a faster mobile internet. 5G is a software-driven environment of shared platforms that support new network slicing techniques and depend on operators’ virtual networks, as well as edge computing assets and cloud infrastructure. It’s no longer only about measuring the data consumed on a conventional wireless network.It’s also about enabling dedicated network slices to empower custom connectivity for certain apps. Network slicing is the practice of selling and operating a section of the available network as a distinct entity from the rest of the network. Value-added services will need to be redesigned to account for features that were not available in 4G, such as network-slicing capabilities.

Monitoring user experience will become increasingly critical, especially when network slicing becomes a practical charging model for operators. Operators must be able to direct devices to the most appropriate network slice that provides the most effective experience as the number of 5G-enabled devices on the market grows. Operators will be able to propose roaming offers that match the usage patterns of both customers and linked devices by monitoring the quality of 5G roaming experiences which will result in increased income.

However, as the rollout of 5G networks accelerates, operators will need to steer roaming products in order to identify cellular IoT traffic and direct devices to the most appropriate roaming partner. [7] Steering of roaming solutions will need to be advanced enough to determine which partner networks are 5G enabled, have separate networks, support slicing and voice over 5G. As a result, in order to deliver meaningful insights into partner network functionalities, steering of roaming solutions must be integrated with advanced analytics. In order to enhance efficiency and user experience, service providers must be able to steer by wholesale targets, such as networks capable of supporting VoLTE and 5G. Operators will need their IPX provider to address different 5G slices and standardized business models from an IoT standpoint. [8]

References:

[1]https://www.capacitymedia.com/article/29otbtelon5a9qiaj9uyo/blog/operators-prepare-the-road-for-travellers-5g-roaming-journeys

[2] https://www.techradar.com/news/5g-roaming-set-to-reach-200m-users-by-2026

[3] https://ibasis.com/webinar-the-growing-importance-of-analytics-for-5g-iot-roaming/

[4]https://web.mobileum.com/hubfs/00.%20Mobileum/Datasheets/EngagementExperience/5G%20Edge%20Analytics/2021_09_5G%20Edge%20Analytics.pdf?utm_campaign=Roaming&utm_medium=email&_hsmi=177999560&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-8cjJrsA0oblD0IGF_5DGRTAVbBNSTJdNz90B3cZ-f_nOhL16WoMq7drOD_AtvrH554i301FaczVQOI6KaGLebSXDy54Q&utm_content=177999560&utm_source=hs_automation

[5]https://www.syniverse.com/products/5g-roaming

[6]https://www.tomiaglobal.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/5roamingchallenges_tomia.pdf

[7] https://www.juniperresearch.com/blog/august-2021/the-5g-roaming-landscape

[8] https://ibasis.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/5G-Roaming_-_IPX_Requirements__Opportunities.pdf