Home Tags Posts tagged with "4G"


Since the advent of telecommunication, SMS messaging has played an important role in communication. The usage of SMS messaging service has evolved over a period of time. Starting from personal messaging (P2P), SMS messaging service is widely used by enterprises for marketing (A2P) due to high reachability and ROI when compared to other communication channels.

The telecommunication which is initially designed for voice communication is enhanced for providing internet services to the subscribers. The quest for providing higher internet speeds has revolutionized the way network nodes operate and communicate with each other. The network nodes are enhanced to provide better internet speeds with low latency which has led to the evolution of multiple generations of telecom network which are referred as 2G, 3G, 4G, 5G etc. Despite the advancements in the telecom network generations, SMS messaging still remained as the key way of communication when compared to voice calls and other communication channels like email, OTT, App notifications etc.

SMSC is the network node which handles SMS messages in telecom network. In 2G/3G network, SMSC is integrated with MSC and SGSN via SIGTRAN protocol for receiving and sending SMS messages. The SMS messages will be sent as part of signaling messages where the size of the packet is limited. Hence only fixed number of characters can be sent in the SMS messages. In case of a big message, the SMS message will be split into multi-part and sent in multiple signaling messages.

3GPP has introduced 4G/LTE network which is capable of providing 10x the speeds of 3G network for mobile devices. Due to the higher data bandwidth availability in 4G network, VoLTE (Voice over LTE) is introduced where voice data packets will also be transmitted via internet channel. SMSC in 4G/LTE network can integrate with VoLTE network via SIP protocol for receiving and sending SMS messages. Unlike 2G/3G network, there is no need to split the SMS message into multi-part as there is no limitation on the number of characters that can be sent in the SMS message.

Operators who are upgrading their network from 2G/3G to 4G/LTE will have two options for enhancing their messaging network. The first option is to deploy an IPSMGW and integrate with their existing 2G/3G compatible SMSC. IPSMGW will act like a translator between VoLTE network and 2G/3G compatible SMSC by converting SIP traffic to SIGTRAN and vice versa. The second option is to enhance their existing SMSC to integrate with VoLTE network directly and handle SMS messages via SIP protocol. Telecom operators generally prefers the second option to avoid additional IPSMGW node in the network which becomes an overhead in latency, network capacity upgrade, OAM and performing SMS filtering.

High internet speeds and growth in smartphone usage in 4G/LTE era has resulted in the evolution of a new messaging channel known as OTT (Over The Top) applications like Whatsapp, Viber, Hike etc. Since these OTT applications communicate over internet, subscribers have the option of enjoying additional services along with messaging like sending images, videos, voice calls, video calls etc. This has resulted in significant reduction in P2P traffic in SMSCs. Due the adoption of different OTT applications in different parts of the world, enterprises still consider SMS as the primary channel of communication with subscribers. The raise in the number of enterprises and applications has resulted in a spike in A2P traffic in SMSCs and A2P messaging has become a key monetization factor for the telecom operators.

In order to leverage the high bandwidth availability in VoLTE network and to compete with the OTT applications, 3GPP has introduced a new channel of messaging called as RCS (Rich Communication Service) which is intended to replace traditional SMS service. RCS platform provides rich features like messaging, image transfer, video transfer, voice call, video call, group chat etc. which are available in OTT applications. RCS transfers all the messages through VoLTE network unlike OTT applications which transfer the messages through internet channel. The traditional SMS messaging client that is present in the handset will be replaced with the RCS client and all the RCS features will be provided to the subscriber by default which might help the telecom operators to regain their share in P2P traffic from OTT applications. Enterprises can also push rich content to the subscribers through RCS channel which helps in better ROI when compared to traditional text based SMS. Fallback to traditional SMS and MMS helps the enterprises to reach subscribers even though they are not available in VoLTE network.

Even though RCS looks promising, operators are still in a dilemma, regarding its adoption, considering the challenges that should be mitigated for launching RCS services effectively. The race for the monopoly in RCS has lead the handset and its OS vendors to limit the default SMS messaging client to connect to their respective RCS Core systems. This restrains the telecom operators to collaborate with the handset and its OS vendors for providing RCS services to their subscribers. Without the default SMS messaging client support, operator has to request the subscribers to download a RCS client application from application store to avail the RCS services which makes the penetration rate questionable. In a long run, after mitigating the challenges, RCS has the capability to take over OTT applications and emerge as a primary channel of messaging.

March 25, 2020 0 comment
0 Facebook Twitter Tumblr Pinterest

The mobile industry has been going through a period of continuous transition for the last 30 years or so. In the process, operators are continuously upgrading their networks or establishing the latest ones. To achieve this, these players are pumping in significant sums of money. However, a number of challenges still remain-the most significant one being competition from Over-The-Top (OTT) players.

The Changing Face of Technology Over the Years

The industry has witnessed the launch of a upgraded mobility standard every eight to 10 years. It all started in the early 1980s, wherein the 1G standard based analog cellular system made its first appearance, purely for voice calls and almost negligible intent to support the data services.

Then in the early 1990s and mid 1990s, 2G/2.5 G standards came into existence and that lead to deployment of GSM/GPRS and CDMA networks. It was a huge success in terms of massive deployments of cellular networks across the globe. From the technology viewpoint, it was using circuit switched technology. 2G/2.5Gbased networks still exist in different parts of the world and this is the standard that gave the real mobility experience to the people and soon became the technology of choice across the globe for operators. Going forward, 2.5G provided users with their first ever data experience on mobile handsets. It supported theoretical data rates of up to 144Kbps.

Standard bodies soon realized the importance of higher data rates and thus in early 2000s came 3G standards capable of supporting up to 2 Mbps (stationary data access) and up to 384 Kbps (used while moving).

4G standard based deployments started to become a reality in the start of 2010. They were capable of providing peak download speed of 100 Mbps during high mobility and maximum speed of up to 1Gbps.

Enhanced user data experience

People were able to use data on the move with good 3G and excellent 4G speeds. Mobile became a preferred mode of any-time any-where data access. It was additionally supported by the smartphones coming into the picture in the late 2000s. At this time, many application developers started to develop their own set of applications that users can download from internet and start using on their mobile.

Any negative impact on the operator revenue!!

Yes… At this time that operators started realizing that they are gradually becoming data pipes. So many OTT applications started being supported on smartphones. People started using these OTT apps for different purposes. Some of these applications directly started eating into operator revenue. These applications include but not limited to chat and VOIP calling applications.

Operators invested huge amounts of money in upgrading their networks from 3G to 4G or deploying 4G networks from scratch but advent of these some really innovative OTT applications have resulted in operators started seeing decline in their conventional SMS, Call and Value Added services revenue.

…and on subscribers

These OTT applications are bringing a set of challenges for subscribersalso in addition to impact on operator revenue. Though most of these applications are available for free or at nominal cost to users, users are concerned about their data security and QOS that are made available. Users need to go through the process of download and install different applications for different purpose. Users first need to ensure that does other person also use the same APP and if yes, then only they could use that APP for communication. It is a big challenge in terms of communicating in a frictionless and seamless manner.

Step in the right direction

GSMA has also realized the threatbeing faced by operators and challenges being faced by the subscribers. For some time they were working on creating specification that could be used to provided consistent messaging experienceacross the operators, across the territories keeping interoperability in mind.

The initiative is supported by many of the leading operators, OEM vendors and OS providers across the globe. The Universal profile thus created is expected to enhance operator messaging and calling services. It is expected to help the operators and partners to come up with different innovative services. The idea behind is that user need not be aware if other person he communicating to has particular application or not. The service is expected to be part of all the handsets coming into the market and people can interact seamlessly.

So the future is here for the operators to build enriched applications, monetizing the investments made in 4G network deployments and upgrade the existing networks by providing services that their subscribers can use and keeping relevance as the preferred communication provider to the subscribers and effectively compete with the OTT players.

January 3, 2017 0 comment
1 Facebook Twitter Tumblr Pinterest