Roaming: Basics

Dheeraj Kumar
12/03/2009

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. by means of using visited network. 2 Information Security Level 2 ± Sensitive © 2008 ± Proprietary and Confidential Information of Amdocs . or access other services when traveling outside the geographical coverage area of the home network. send and receive data.

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

4 Information Security Level 2 ± Sensitive © 2008 ± Proprietary and Confidential Information of Amdocs . > 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. > The legal roaming business aspects negotiated between the roaming partners for billing of the services obtained are usually stipulated in so called Roaming Agreements. authentication and billing procedures.Roaming Agreements > Roaming is technically supported by mobility management.

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

6 Information Security Level 2 ± Sensitive © 2008 ± Proprietary and Confidential Information of Amdocs . 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. Likewise. > If successful. > 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.

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

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

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

> 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. 10 Information Security Level 2 ± Sensitive © 2008 ± Proprietary and Confidential Information of Amdocs . > There is a call for the user (call goes to the home MSC): > User in Home Area: Home MSC delivers the call immediately. > User is Roaming: MSC contacts the VLR prior to setting up the call.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.

AMPS etc. 11 Information Security Level 2 ± Sensitive © 2008 ± Proprietary and Confidential Information of Amdocs . location. etc.. time of call and duration. calling party.. called party. file and is transferred to the home network. > A TAP/CIBER file contains details of the calls made by the subscriber viz.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.

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

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