The astounding growth in LTE roaming usage and reach continued during 2015 with next generation services now available in about 126 countries around the world. End users of wireless services are now able to enjoy streaming video and other high-bandwidth services in countries across all continents.
With over 50 new countries added during the last year, including the USA, Italy, Morocco, Iceland or the Seychelles, we are now approaching the stage where high quality data roaming will be available to visitors to every major market. During this year, we anticipate the reach will extend further into Africa and the Middle East as an increasing number of operators complete roll-out of domestic LTE services and sign agreements to expand the availability to visitors onto their network. This also means their customers will be able to enjoy the highest quality data services when they travel into markets where a partner network has also developed the service.
LTE roaming requires a whole new set of commercial agreements and technical interconnections to support this all-new IP signalling infrastructure, built on IPX, to replace the SS7 signalling network. Using BICS’ market leading IPX platform, including LTE signalling, service providers can now exchange IP traffic bilaterally with any IPX destination.
The benefit for the end user is clear, and following the improvement in connectivity brought about by next generation roaming services, there has been a rapid increase in the volumes of data traffic due to inbound roamers across Europe and the world.
The advent of LTE has led to a rapid increase in subscriber reliance of mobile data services with streaming services and other high-bandwidth applications gaining strong traction. The desire to use these services does not end when subscribers leave their home market, with both business and leisure travellers alike adopting the service during 2015.
By the midpoint of the year, LTE data usage by roamers through the BICS IPX platform doubled in volume monthly, driven by the European holiday season. This continued to increase throughout the year and looks likely to grow further as voice is added through international VoLTE services, which are being developed for a wide-scale launch this year.
An article by Raphael Glatt, Head of Signalling Product Management at BICS