LTE roaming efforts pick up steam

With operators rolling out LTE worldwide, it was only a matter of time before attention turned to LTE roaming, and two vendors--Sybase 365 and Syniverse--this week announced significant roaming milestones.

SAP business unit Sybase 365 announced that Globe Telecom of the Philippines is using Sybase technology to enable LTE roaming service with China Mobile Hong Kong, the first operator that Globe has connected to commercially. The service is being delivered over the Sybase IPX (IP exchange) 365 network and uses Diameter signaling.

"Globe is leveraging the Sybase IPX 365 capability to run multiple international services across the one IP connection, thereby providing services and solutions that give our subscribers a more enriched mobile experience," said Rizza Maniego-Eala, Globe's group head for international business.

Earlier in October, Globe said it will also soon launch LTE roaming with SK Telecom in South Korea.

Globe is enabling LTE data roaming experience for its postpaid subscribers, "who will be the first to access the superior browsing experience from this service," said Globe President and CEO Ernest Cu.

"We are also working with IPX providers Sybase, Aicent, Syniverse, Citic, Tata, and BICs to allow us to scale up our LTE roaming partnerships with operators from Australia, Singapore, US, Japan, Canada and the Middle East. We look forward to reaching these countries in the coming months," Cu added.

Sybase 365 also announced a partnership with Zajil International Telecom an ISP and MPLS service provider in Kuwait. The partnership extends Sybase 365 global footprint by extending IP Exchange (IPX) services to mobile operators in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, which the company said will help enable seamless LTE roaming services in the region.

Similarly, Synivere's IPX network and Diameter signaling service have been used in end-to-end LTE roaming and interconnect testing by seven Tier 1 mobile service providers around the globe. Some of the tests are completed while others are ongoing.

In the first phase of trials, data services are being tested, and more advanced services such as LTE voice, video and messaging will be tested in subsequent phases, said Syniverse.

The company noted enabling LTE roaming is a complex challenge that involves Diameter signaling, clearing and settlement and customer-experience protection between one LTE network and another LTE network. Another critical issue is ensuring fallback from an LTE network to a 2G or 3G network, said Syniverse.

For more:
- see this Sybase 365 release and this release
- see this Syniverse release
- see this Globe release

Related articles:
Leap looks for LTE roaming partnerships
iPhone 5 will be plagued by LTE roaming issues
Clearwire signs TD-LTE roaming pact with China Mobile
Verizon CTO promises global LTE roaming, with caveats
Verizon: We offered MetroPCS LTE roaming agreement

Article updated on October 31, 2012, to add additional information from Sybase 365.