On the 2nd and 3rd of December 2019, the first VoLTE Roaming Taskforce meeting was held in Milan, Italy.
The meeting was opened by ROCCO Research CEO – Jason Bryan. Jason set the scene of the meeting and reminded the delegates of the critical challenge facing the industry with legacy networks being decommissioned, but voice services not being launched extensively enough on 4G networks.
The attending delegates were all from mobile network operators (MNOs) who were walked through insights from ROCCO’s Research which demonstrated clearly, that although in 2018 nearly 125 networks were planning to launch VoLTE Roaming by 2019, very few had actually managed to do so. Most MNO’s believed that the business case for VoLTE roaming had not been prioritised or was not clear enough on the future path voice services would need to take.
The delegates discussed that due to little or no transparency on decommissioning activity it had been difficult for MNOs to build their business cases. With most MNOs and vendors now also focussed on high profile 5G launches, VoLTE was not being seen as compelling enough and roaming departments were finding it difficult to get VoLTE Roaming projects prioritised. Statistics were also presented that showed a substantial decline in MNOs committing resources on industry standards development.
The delegates delved deeper into the issues with VoLTE Roaming such as Emergency Calling and Legal Intercept and it quickly became apparent that standards were not in line with the real-life scenarios MNOs were facing. Handset manufacturers had also not paid heed to be consistent and the positions taken by Regulatory Authorities across the globe were at opposite ends of the spectrum. This was forcing MNOs to develop their own solutions in silos without much co-operation from vendors or device manufacturers. On this basis, the group soon agreed that this was an opportune time for MNOs to work as a combined entity and resolve the challenges or be faced with the prospect of failing to offer long term voice services while roaming in most markets.
Early on, the delegates had their first win, as a test methodology was defined which would enable Networks to test VoLTE roaming without the need to ship handsets. This is a major issue currently being faced by many MNOs.
Other key takeaways were:
- It was also clear that outputs from the meeting would be fed into GSMA working groups so that appropriate standards could be created.
- The appointment of Jason Olivieri from Verizon-USA as the Chairman of the taskforce with Dhiraj Wazir from ROCCO taking the role of Deputy Chairman.
- While the group is strictly for MNOs, the group decided that at the next meeting selected vendors would be invited to present solutions focussed on the efficient rollout of VoLTE Roaming.
- The taskforce also felt that there was a real need to raise awareness of the issues, share knowledge to help with implementation and also get more operators to sign up and contribute to the taskforce.
- Preparations would be made for the taskforce to have its own facilities for raising awareness of the issues.
- Bouygues France proposed to host the next meeting in January 2020 in France.
The VoLTE Taskforce is an MNO member only project founded and facilitated by ROCCO with a mission to mobilise the industry, search for and streamline solutions to accelerate implementation of VoLTE Roaming across mobile operators with the clear view to also start charting the path for Voice over 5G.
If you are a MNO and would like to contribute and join the initiative (there are no fees) please reach out at email@example.com
If you are a vendor and offer solutions related to VoLTE Roaming Testing or DPI solutions for Legal Intercept, or perhaps have a solution for non-VoLTE compliant HPMNs to get voice to work on 4G networks, please also reach out at the above email.
The VoLTE taskforce is chaired by Verizon and has the below members:
AT&T Group, Bouygues Telecom, BT UK, Deutsche Telekom, Hutchison Group, Jio India, LG-U South Korea, Orange Group, ROCCO, Softbank Japan, Telefonica Group, Telenor Group, Telia Group, Veon Group, Verizon USA.