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Addressing Subscribers’ Telephony Services Transition

Alain_Decartes

Telephony Services_telco_social.jpg

To address subscribers’ telephony services transition to Voice over LTE (VoLTE) and Voice over Wi-Fi (VoWiFi) networks, HPE is offering NFV-ready, telco-grade, scalable Multimedia Telephony (MMTel) and Service Centralization and Continuity (SCC) applications that allow a consistent subscriber user experience by supporting the same real-time services supported by legacy 2G/3G networks.

 VoLTE is mainstream

Did you purchase a new smartphone in the last few years? Or just watch the commercials from mobile operators and device manufacturers? My last purchase was a Samsung Galaxy S5, mid 2015. Of course I did not miss the latest and greatest 4G standard features for mobile networks: Long Term Evolution (LTE). Communication Service Providers (CSPs) have rapidly deployed LTE to provide high speed data services for customers, offering me access to a nearly limitless array of mobile data applications and services.

 More surprisingly, my Samsung Galaxy S5 also gave me Enhanced LTE Services. According to the device setting, it enables HD voice and enhanced communications services over mobile network (where available), a subject that I have covered in one of my previous blogs (Celebrating a Milestone with High Definition Voice Services). This would mean its support for Voice over LTE, the standards-based technology that is required to support voice calls over an LTE network. With around 100 million new subscriptions in the last 12 months, Voice over LTE is becoming mainstream, and the technology has now been launched commercially in more than 164 networks in 88 countries (and still counting…). Uptake is projected to accelerate and reach 3.3 billion by the end of 2022, making up for more than 60 percent of all LTE subscriptions globally (Source GSMA – January 2017 - FIgure 1).

 Figure 1: Delivering an all-IP world  (Source GSMA)Figure 1: Delivering an all-IP world (Source GSMA)CSP are faced with the non-trivial matter of how to deal with voice in the inevitable transition of their entire voice network to packet based LTE and, in the near future, 5G. The crux of this matter is that LTE is an all-packet, Internet Protocol (IP)-based mobile network standard, and mobile voice services have, up to this point, been primarily circuit-switched (like traditional phone calls prior to the advent of Voice over IP (VoIP) systems). VoLTE uses the IP network to both control and carry voice calls end-to-end as IP packets. Essentially, with VoLTE, voice becomes just another “app” utilizing the mobile data connection between a phone (or other LTE mobile device) and the mobile operator’s network.        

 

Addressing subscribers’ telephony services transition

Subscribers require VoLTE to support the same real-time services supported by legacy 2G/3G networks. Specifically, that means voice calls and SMS. These services are, by default, pretty much identical to their legacy counterparts. The biggest difference is that the voice codec used in VoLTE is improved compared to legacy mobile voice, and is often the Adaptive Multi-Rate (AMR)-wideband high-definition (HD) voice codec. Irrespective of the access network that a subscriber is connected to, their user experience needs to be consistent, including aspects of being able to invoke supplementary services such as call-barring, call-diversion, and 3-party ad-hoc conferencing, and the ability to configure such services. The services consumed by the subscriber while using VoIMS services are expected to be charged and billed in a consistent manner.

Figure 2: MMTel Specified Supplementary ServicesFigure 2: MMTel Specified Supplementary Services

 Multimedia Telephony (MMTel) is the global standard for this next stage in the evolution of telephony. It offers real-time multimedia communication that will replace fixed and mobile circuit-switched telephony. MMTel combines quality, interoperability, efficiency, regulatory and supplementary services with the rich media and dynamics of internet community-based communication. Within the MMTel definition, the supplementary services include several forms of call forwarding (such as call forwarding when the mobile subscriber is unreachable by the network), caller identification, call waiting, multiparty conversations, charging information, and call barring of outgoing or incoming calls (see figure 2). These call-barring features can be used, for example, when roaming in another country to limit the communication fees.

 Service Centralization and Continuity (SCC) allows consistent, interoperable, standardized, network-based centralization of services in IMS irrespective of the users being connected over either circuit switched or packet switch domain, in addition to service and session continuity for users moving between circuit switched and packet switched domains.

 MMTel and SCC roles, as per GSMA PRD IR.92, IR.94 and IR.64, allow our user experience to be consistent over VoLTE, including aspects of configuring and invoking supplementary services.

 HPE Telecom Applications Server (TAS) – MMTel and SCC Applications

Figure 3: HPE TAS Applications from HPE (existing, roadmap or via project customization*)Figure 3: HPE TAS Applications from HPE (existing, roadmap or via project customization*)To address this challenge, HPE is offering a suite of NFV-ready, telco-grade, scalable, converged TAS applications for VoIMS that fulfill standardized IP Multimedia Systems (IMS) application-server roles for VoLTE and VoWiFi networks. The first release of that HPE TAS Applications product consists of two applications, the HPE TAS MMTel and the HPE TAS SCC applications running on the HPE OpenCall Convergent Communication Platform (OCCP) and the HPE OpenCall Media Platform (HPE OCMP – vMRF). Both platforms are widely-deployed, high-performance, telco-grade, robust, real-time telecom application server and media resource function platforms, and benefit from a large and common set of capabilities typical of such platforms.

Other applications such as IP Short Message Gateway (IP-SM-GW), USSD over IP (USSI), IMS Service Switching Function (IM-SSF), one number - multiple devices, one device – multiple numbers, and various other network applications may also be deployed on an open and converged TAS.

HPE TAS applications enable CSPs to:

  • Meet aggressive customer time to market: CSPs can drive new and differentiated voice and data services to market quickly while dynamically scaling up and down as directed by real-time usage and network characteristics.
  • Delight, gain and retain subscribers: CSPs can offer superior quality of service (QoS) and customer experience, further differentiating from other OTT voice services.
  • Reduce cost of operations: CSPs can consolidate and simplify operations and maintenance using virtualization and NFV to reduce costs, minimize risk and speed up innovation while delighting your customers.
  • Proven record, ability to execute on transformation projects: Helping CSPs to realize the full value of their solutions, from planning, assessment and design through testing, deployment, operation, and nearly continuous improvement based on best DevOps practices

 Noticing anything different?

I have set-up the Enhanced LTE Services feature on my Samsung device and to be honest, I have not noticed if the enhanced communications services over mobile network was ever available in my neck of the wood. That’s probably because it worked as designed:  my user experience was consistent. Should you not experiment the same, please let me know.

Learn more about the NFV-ready, telco-grade, scalable, converged TAS Applications for VoIMS by downloading the HPE Telecom Applications Server– MMTel and SCC Applications Datasheet.

 

 

About the Author

Alain_Decartes

Success-oriented marketing professional with domestic and international experience conveying Value Added Services and IT Services for Communications Service providers’ technologies and markets worldwide, including Cloud Services, Voice and Intelligent Network Services, Network Function Virtualization, Enterprise Mobility, Big Data and Security markets, to achieve leading positions in the cloud, communications and IT service provider segment (direct and indirect).

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