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Confusion over tech, business models, holding back VoLTE roaming, claims new report

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Confusion continues to reign over the implementation of roaming services for voice and video over LTE, new research has found.

An Ovum report commissioned by KPN subsidiary iBasis, which is an international signalling and roaming provider, revealed operators still face "significant challenges" in developing a truly global service for its customers.

While 80 percent of operators will launch VoLTE in their home markets during the next year, only half will expect to launch global VoLTE interconnection and roaming during the same timeframe.

Operators were found to appreciate the benefits of VoLTE, from offering high quality services to its biggest spending customers to shoring up its services against OTT players, but struggled when it came to determining which model to implement.

The survey found opinion was split between launching global VoLTE by using the GSMA-defined S8HR (S8 home routed) or LBO (local breakout) models. The former is seen as a simpler and quicker means of launching VoLTE roaming, although it there are issues surrounding the likes of call quality and emergency calls. The latter uses existing roaming architecture.

Ovum Senior Analyst Catherine Haslam said: “Potential internal conflicts appear to be centered on different priorities for inbound and outbound roaming as well as between an operator’s strategy teams developing service propositions and the roaming team implementing roaming structures. It’s a major undertaking that requires a clear view of the business objectives and the technical implications, as well as cross-organisational cooperation to create a comprehensive implementation strategy.”

Ajay Joseph, iBasis CTO, said: “Operators are eager to deploy VoLTE interconnection and roaming but they also need the right model. They don’t want to have to choose between time to market and regional call quality. They are demanding a competitive and flexible model to better compete with the OTTs and meet digital communications demand. That’s why IPX providers are playing a critical and enlarged role to assist MNOs in moving to this new all-IP environment.”