Mobile network operators (MNOs) and service providers in some of the most challenging markets in the world now have the ability to leapfrog past established players. All they have to do is choose their network infrastructure wisely and build new intelligence directly into their networks.

Not all network elements are equal and some can create a level playing field where service providers, even in extremely challenging markets, can deploy new and innovative services. Next-generation session border controllers (SBC) have this potential.

They can have an immediate impact on a service providers’ business no matter where it is deployed. Next-gen SBCs enable the seamless migration from TDM networks to all-IP infrastructure and the delivery of services like Voice over LTE (VoLTE), WebRTC and Voice over WiFi (VoWiFi), while also identifying and mitigating fraud.

MNOs and service providers in the Middle East, Africa and Asia are deploying intelligent networks and creating a foundation for service innovation. These deployments change what is possible in some of the most underserved regions in the world as they are able to benefit from the flexibility and scalability of IP, but with the reliability and consistency of TDM networks.

Removing barriers to IP

MNOs and service providers in developing markets are often faced with a long and complex migration from legacy TDM networks to IP infrastructure. Their TDM networks have served them well over the last two decades but have not been gradually updated like their counterparts in developed markets.

With high average revenue per user (ARPU) and growing numbers of subscribers in both consumer and enterprise markets, MNOs and service providers in developed markets were well-positioned to make incremental investments in their network infrastructure. These investments in network assets then need to be sweated and recouped over time.

MNOs and service providers in many developing markets aren’t faced with these challenges and can use next-gen SBCs to leapfrog from their TDM networks to IP without the burden of extensive investments in legacy infrastructure, and create a foundation for the delivery of new services.

Big data, machine learning and new network intelligence

The key is to choose an SBC that can offer the same level of quality of service and (QoS) and experience QoE on IP that is available on TDM. When an MNO or service provider in a developing market goes beyond ‘Best Effort’ on IP, a whole world of IP-based services is available to them and they can roll out services that similar businesses in developed markets may struggle to deliver.

Next-gen SBCs use big data, machine learning and historical data analysis to learn and understand what ideal network behaviour is and troubleshoot issues in real-time. They look at deliver real-time insights into session, service, application, MOS/R-factor scores, network and end-to-end SLAs so that MNOs and service providers have a real understanding about what is happening on their network.

This builds intelligence directly into the network and enables MNOs and service providers to be continually improving network performance and that creates opportunities for new services to be delivered. They are able to deliver new levels of consistency on IP while benefiting from its flexibility, scalability and efficiency.

VoLTE, VoWiFi, and fighting fraud

A next-gen SBC opens the door to the delivery of VoLTE in almost any market. It makes complex LTE networks simple to manage with a single integrated solution that encompasses VoLTE, LTE data roaming and security functions. When end-to-end quality of service can be guaranteed, the number of innovative services delivered on LTE can then grow.

Similarly, a next-gen SBC can also support VoWiFi deployments. It enables MNOs and service providers to monitor call quality and congestion levels of a WiFi hotspot and troubleshoot QoS and QoE on VoWiFi, ensuring the subscriber is getting the best possible service.

At the same time, the real-time analytics enable seamless switching between mobile networks and WiFi hotspots when needed. Decision making is key to the success of VoWiFi services. It is important that solutions act as an enabler for local voice breakout, driving higher levels of service quality, routing and cost efficiency for roaming subscribers.

As part of leapfrogging capabilities, next-gen SBCs are helping service providers in developing markets fight fraud with in-built fraud identification and mitigation capabilities. SBCs are at the heart of the network and deliver unparalleled visibility and enable immediate response. Machine learning within next-gen SBCs build a pattern of activity that keeps getting richer and more informative over time.

MNOs and service providers markets as challenging as Liberia and Afghanistan have the opportunity to deploy world-leading communications services. There no limits on where new and innovative services can be deployed when MNOs and service providers build new intelligence into their networks.

Jay Jayasimha is CEO at Cataleya, a company that develops next generation session border controllers.