By Douwe van der Heij, Product Manager, Advanced Network Services, MACH
It sounds obvious really! By improving the voice quality of outgoing roaming calls, mobile operators can experience increased call durations on selected routes, which in turn brings in more roaming revenue. But just how do home network providers ensure that the roaming services provided by their roaming partner networks match the level of service promised through the home network’s brand values and identity?
When a subscriber leaves his home network, the roaming service is provided by a partner network or visited network. This visited network has agreed with the home service provider that it will provide voice (and data) services to the subscribers of its partner. This means that the larger part of the network related customer experience is now in the hands of the visited network and the home network is now no longer in a position to manage the full customer experience. As long as the subscriber is roaming on this partner network, outgoing calls placed by him will be routed over the voice carrier of choice of the visited network.
The visited network is of course incentivized to provide a good customer experience to roamers through its desire to maximize service revenues from these visitors on its network. However, this objective can be reached in various ways – from receiving a good wholesale price for the ‘leasing’ of its network to ‘optimizing the wholesale cost’ of using its network – both of which have huge potential to negatively affect quality and therefore customer experience.
The home network operator can focus its efforts on improving the level of service provided by its roaming partners for selected routes only. 65-90% of originated roaming calls go back to the home country (where the roamer has its domicile). In order to make sure that this route is meeting the service level requirements, the home operator has two options:
- Agree on service levels between its roaming partner networks as per the GSMA initiative (GRQ)
- Offload traffic directly in the visited country to a premium quality route.
During the past year, MACH has provided the latter option, through its Optimal Call Handler solution, to a select group of customers. It has found that by offloading calls locally (initially deployed to decrease IOTs paid), the voice quality of outgoing roaming calls improves significantly. It has also found that due to this increased voice quality, average call durations have increased by up to 50%!
MACH’s solution relies on the CAMEL service and makes it possible to route mobile originated roaming calls through high quality voice carrier routes that can be monitored and improved without the involvement of the visited network. It is an easy and cost effective way of taking control over this traffic stream. By routing locally, the cost for the roaming service can be brought down and better voice quality and presentation of the correct identity of the caller to the receiving party leads to more and longer calls and increases retail revenues.