Communications platform company BICS has partnered with network software provider Mavenir to launch a new VoLTE solution that helps operators preserve roaming for their 2G and 3G customers even when they roam to countries where those services have been shut down.
As operators progressively shut down their 2G and 3G networks in order to free up spectrum for 4G and new 5G offerings, preserving roaming interoperability between the different ‘G’s has become problematic because operators are following different timetables.
That means, for example, a 2G/3G user roaming to a country where their operator’s roaming partner only offers 4G and 5G won’t be able to make voice calls.
2G/3G can still roam on 4G/5G networks
The joint VoLTE solution from BICS and Mavenir leverages the latter’s cloud-native IMS and the former’s reach and expertise in international roaming to enable smooth communications between the different networks on a global scale, the companies said in a press release.
The solution enables 2G/3G operators to continue providing a seamless roaming experience to customers, even when visiting locations where the technology has been phased out. Meanwhile, for operators further along in the sunsetting timeline, they’ll be able to support visitors roaming onto their 4G/5G network and gain otherwise lost inbound roaming revenues.
Roaming still matters, says BICS
Roaming revenues took a major hit worldwide during the COVID-19 pandemic. But a recent report from Juniper Research projects the value of the retail roaming market to reach $19 billion by 2027 globally – a 98% increase from $10 billion in 2022 – driven mainly by growth in 5G roaming traffic. That said, Juniper also warned that roaming revenue leakage remained a challenge.
“As mobile technology continues to evolve, safeguarding roaming between networks is crucial,” says Mikael Schachne, VP Telco Market at BICS. “With this partnership, we are ensuring operators around the world continue to provide excellent customer experience for their roamers, while leveraging our extensive reach and expertise to monetize potential opportunities.”
“When talking about the future of the telecoms industry, a lot of focus is put on next-generation innovations, like 5G or even 6G,” said Ashok Khuntia, president of Core Networks at Mavenir. “While these are of course important, we need to ensure we’re doing this in a way that doesn’t create blind spots that could cost operators revenue and potentially widen the digital divide.”