Roaming: Basics

Dheeraj Kumar
12/03/2009

Information Security Level 2 ± Sensitive © 2008 ± Proprietary and Confidential Information of Amdocs

send and receive data. or access other services when traveling outside the geographical coverage area of the home network. by means of using visited network. 2 Information Security Level 2 ± Sensitive © 2008 ± Proprietary and Confidential Information of Amdocs . > Roaming is defined as the ability for a cellular customer to automatically make and receive voice calls.What is Roaming? > Roaming is a general term in wireless telecommunications that refers to the extending of connectivity service in a location that is different from the home location where the service was registered.

> International Roaming: If the visited network is outside the home country. 3 Information Security Level 2 ± Sensitive © 2008 ± Proprietary and Confidential Information of Amdocs . this is International Roaming (the term Global Roaming has also been used).Types of Roaming > National Roaming: If the visited network is in the same country as the home network. this is known as National Roaming.

4 Information Security Level 2 ± Sensitive © 2008 ± Proprietary and Confidential Information of Amdocs .Roaming Agreements > Roaming is technically supported by mobility management. > An agreement between two or more wireless telephone companies outlines the terms and conditions under which the participating companies will provide wireless service to each others subscribers. authentication and billing procedures. > The legal roaming business aspects negotiated between the roaming partners for billing of the services obtained are usually stipulated in so called Roaming Agreements.

notices that it is not registered with its own system. maintenance of service is impossible.Roaming process > When the mobile device is turned on or is transferred via a handover to the network. and attempts to identify its home network. 5 Information Security Level 2 ± Sensitive © 2008 ± Proprietary and Confidential Information of Amdocs . and service is denied by the visited network. this new "visited" network sees the device. > If there is no roaming agreement between the two networks.

Likewise. 6 Information Security Level 2 ± Sensitive © 2008 ± Proprietary and Confidential Information of Amdocs . > The visited network contacts the home network and requests service information (including whether or not the mobile should be allowed to roam) about the roaming device using the IMSI number.Roaming process contd. > If successful. the home network updates its information to indicate that the mobile is on the host network so that any information sent to that device can be correctly routed. the visited network begins to maintain a temporary subscriber record for the device.

i. customer profiles. A HLR contains user information such as account information. etc. features subscribed to by the user.e.. 7 Information Security Level 2 ± Sensitive © 2008 ± Proprietary and Confidential Information of Amdocs . user preferences. > HLRs are used by the Mobile Switching Centers (MSCs) to originate and deliver arriving mobile calls. TDMA. used in mobile (cellular) networks. and CDMA networks. > It is a key component of mobile networks such as GSM. account status.HLR > A Home Location Register (HLR) is a database of user (subscriber) information. user¶s current location.

8 Information Security Level 2 ± Sensitive © 2008 ± Proprietary and Confidential Information of Amdocs . > This VLR data is based on the user information retrieved from a HLR.VLR > A Visiting Location Register (VLR) is a database. which is used by the mobile network to temporarily hold profiles of roaming users (users outside their home area). > MSCs use a VLR to handle roaming users. similar to a HLR.

or receiving a call. > The user¶s location is recorded in the HLR.. 9 Information Security Level 2 ± Sensitive © 2008 ± Proprietary and Confidential Information of Amdocs . i. it first checks a database to determine if the user is in his/her home area or is roaming. the user is a visitor. it is also recorded in the VLR. When a MSC detects a mobile user¶s presence in the area covered by its network.How are the HLR and VLR used? > Each mobile network has its own HLRs and VLRs. terminating. > User in Home Area: HLR has the necessary information for initiating. and in case the user roaming.e. > User is Roaming: VLR contacts the user¶s HLR to get the necessary information to set up a temporary user profile.

10 Information Security Level 2 ± Sensitive © 2008 ± Proprietary and Confidential Information of Amdocs .Making and Receiving a call > The user wants to make a call: > User in Home Area: MSC contacts the HLR prior to setting up the call. > User is Roaming: MSC contacts the VLR prior to setting up the call. > User is Roaming: Home MSC contacts the VLR to determine the appropriate switch in the roaming area to handle the arriving call and then transfers the call to the roaming area MSC. > There is a call for the user (call goes to the home MSC): > User in Home Area: Home MSC delivers the call immediately.

Billing > The usage by a subscriber in a visited network is captured in a file called the TAP (Transferred Account Procedure) for GSM / CIBER (Cellular Intercarrier Billing Exchange Roamer) for CDMA.. > A TAP/CIBER file contains details of the calls made by the subscriber viz. 11 Information Security Level 2 ± Sensitive © 2008 ± Proprietary and Confidential Information of Amdocs . AMPS etc. called party. time of call and duration. location. calling party. file and is transferred to the home network. etc..

> The TAP/CIBER files are rated as per the tariffs charged by the visited operator. > The home operator then bills these calls to its subscribers and may charge a mark-up/tax applicable locally.Billing contd. 12 Information Security Level 2 ± Sensitive © 2008 ± Proprietary and Confidential Information of Amdocs .

Thank you Information Security Level 2 ± Sensitive © 2008 ± Proprietary and Confidential Information of Amdocs .

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