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Time to Break Out

Time to break out


In a scenario where a roamer wants to access the internet or data service instead of redirecting the customer over the GRX network, the roamer could be allowed to access their services, over the visited network, a cost efficient way for operators.


Local break out is a matter of trust. Home routing was the default option in 3G, because it was the only way to reliably track customer usage, it was more expensive in terms of allocated resources. With local break out in place, operators can charge less, although they do get less visibility of what their customers are doing.


Network operators often seek absolute control over the end user, but local break out requires that they relinquish some of that control. A specialist can get around this issue with a perfect implementation of the Diameter protocol‑the new control protocol for authentication, charging and policy management. But on the flip side, if a user is roaming and all they want to do is stream some content on YouTube, then an operator won’t want to carry that request on its IPX bandwidth which comes at a premium compared to internet.


So although local break out can lower ARPU, due to the fact that the operator can offer lower rates to subscribers, the carrier also benefits from lower costs for bandwidth.


It is apparent that all the roaming scenarios LTE and local break out introduce burden charging and billing systems, as the operator needs to follow the users, identify what they are doing and be able to charge and bill them correctly.


But operators can find some synergies between different business processes for example, there are similarities between roaming and interconnect billing as both instances concern customers visiting other networks, requiring reconciliation and settlement.  Joint reporting is quite common for roaming and interconnect, and a full merger of functions is likely to occur in the near-term.


Ashruti Singh
Senior Product Marketing Manager- SAP Mobile Services
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