Over the last few years Tier 2 and 3 regional operators have faced a growing pressure to expand their international footprint to support an increasingly mobile subscriber base. The COVID-19 pandemic may have reduced travel temporarily, but no one expects this to last once a vaccine is found, mass produced, and made widely available. Obtaining a ‘COVID shot’ is likely to become as common place as the annual flu shot, so operators should plan for a return to normal roaming expectations from subscribers before the end of 2021.
Establishing international roaming agreements and partnerships can be extremely time consuming and complex, as well as costly. The TNS-powered CCA LTE Roaming Hub aims to relieve carriers of this burden by providing a cost-effective and efficient single international gateway to many leading overseas operators. Continual investment since its launch six years ago means that it now offers coverage across 36 countries, including popular US tourist destinations like Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, the Dominican Republic, and France.
Most recently we have expanded the hub to cover nine countries across Central America and into South America. In Central America this includes Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Panama, in addition to Mexico which went live in May 2020. Collectively these countries cover approximately 193,000 square miles, making up 96% of Central America geographically and covering 99% of the region’s population.
This follows the news last year that we had increased the hub’s Caribbean coverage to more than 17,000 square miles.
We also centralize and manage industry testing which includes IREG and TADIG testing, removing the need for individual bi-lateral testing and offering complete transparency of roaming traffic directly into an operator’s existing processes. This allows carriers to quickly and easily see subscriber roaming patterns as well as the duration and costs incurred for streamlined clearing and billing practices.
Roaming provision is a key component of the subscriber experience, and we encourage operators to explore how the CCA LTE Roaming Hub can help expand their footprint quickly and easily, with limited expense. Reciprocal agreements can also be established to generate inbound roaming revenues, making this a win-win solution.
Glenn Andrews is a Senior Product Manager at TNS, with specific responsibility for the LTE Roaming Hub.