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Study on Mobile Virtual Network Operations

Study on Mobile Virtual Network Operations

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Journal of Computing, ISSN 2151-9617, http://www.journalofcomputing.org
Journal of Computing, ISSN 2151-9617, http://www.journalofcomputing.org

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Published by: Journal of Computing on Jan 22, 2011
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JOURNAL OF COMPUTING, VOLUME 2, ISSUE 12, DECEMBER 2010, ISSN 2151-9617HTTPS://SITES.GOOGLE.COM/SITE/JOURNALOFCOMPUTING/ WWW.JOURNALOFCOMPUTING.ORG 45
Study on Mobile Virtual Network Operations
Md. Whaiduzzaman and Mahmudur Rahman
Abstract
 — In this paper, Mobile Virtual Network operation has been introduced. A full MVNO consists of a Home LocationRegister (HLR), Mobile Switching Centre (MSC), Authentication Centre (AUC), and Equipment Identity Register (EIR) andassociated signaling capabilities.We analyze the MVNO sector from two perspectives: the factors including the consumer,industry, regulation and technology characteristics and successful MVNOs in various organization for Economic Cooperationand Development markets.The trend of how the MVNO market has changed and what opportunities ,network operators andpotential MVNO are likely to face. Different sectors related to implementation of MVNO are working with the GSM technologyand the feasibility study of implementation of MVNO in the present world.
Index Terms
 —MVNO, MNO, Virtual Network, GSM
——————————
 
 
——————————
1 I
NTRODUCTION
 
ow a day all over the world mobile communicationmarket has reached its saturation point. As themarket has matured, the basic subscription has be-come a commodity product and the competition is basedincreasingly on existing subscribers. Until recently, eachnational market has consisted of only few operators. Thetwo main types of operators are: Mobile network opera-tors (MNOs) providing a mobile network for the purpos-es of transmitting, distributing, or providing messagesand Mobile service operators (MSOs) transmitting mes-sages over a mobile network obtained for use from a mo-bile network operator.SIM-based mobile services can be offered without own-ing a radio network or rights to the required radio spec-trum. Simultaneously the launch of mobile number por-tability has decreased switching costs and opened up themobile communications market to new service providers.This paper studies about the mobile virtual network op-erators (MVNO), a new type of communication serviceprovider.
1.1
 
W
HAT IS AN
MVNO
MVNO stands for mobile virtual network operator. Asmentioned above the MVNO is a new emerging model intelecommunication sector. Secondly, there is unanimousagreement about what an MVNO does not have but thereis no consensus about what an MVNO must have. Sothere is a significant amount of disagreement over whatexactly constitutes an MVNO. However, taking eachword in turn perhaps provides a clearer understanding ofthe concept.
 
"Mobile" refers to the fact that such operators of-fer services in the mobile market.
 
"Virtual" means that such an operator does nothave its own spectrum allocation or license butinstead acquires them from already establishedMobile Network Operators (host operator).MVNOs do not have a governmental license touse radio spectrum, but have access to one (or, intheory, perhaps more) of the radio elements of amobile operator and are able to offer services tosubscribers using such elements. At minimum,these radio elements are: The radio transmissionlink, its control functions and the mobility man-agement functions that keep track of exactlywhere mobile handsets are located so that callscan be delivered to them; and Some transmissionand switching facilities needed to link the radiofacilities to the points of interconnection, eitherwith the MVNO's system direct, or with transitnetwork operators.
 
"Network" means that there is some elementprovided by the MVNO itself rather than all ser-vices being undertaken by the host operator.
 
"Operator" means that the MVNO appears to thecustomer as an independent operator in its ownright rather than an entity using somebody else'snetwork.Hence putting all these together it appears that MVNO“is a mobile operator that does not own its own spectrumand usually does not have its own network infrastructure.Instead, MVNO's have business arrangements with tradi-tional mobile operators to buy minutes of use (MOU) forsale to their own customers.”
————————————————
 
 
 Md. Whaiduzzaman is a Lecturer with the Institue of Information Tech-nology, Jahangirnagar University, Dhaka
 
 M. Rahman is with the Department of Electronics & TelecommunicationEngineering, Daffodil International University, Dhaka.
 
N
 
JOURNAL OF COMPUTING, VOLUME 2, ISSUE 12, DECEMBER 2010, ISSN 2151-9617HTTPS://SITES.GOOGLE.COM/SITE/JOURNALOFCOMPUTING/ WWW.JOURNALOFCOMPUTING.ORG 46
 
1.2
 
MVNO
 
C
ONCEPT
&
 
T
YPES
MVNO is an organization that offers mobile subscriptionsin its own brand name, controlling the billing relationshipwith the customer, but who does not hold its own fre-quency license in the market. So MVNO, by nature, has toutilize such facilities of the existing mobile network oper-ator as base stations, switching system and radio frequen-cy, etc. MVNO can be distinguished into 4 types by thedegree of dependence on MNO’s facilities. The first type,type A, is the simplest pure reseller, as just reselling of theexisting MNO’s mobile service to customers with his ownbrand or MNO’s brand, which is totally dependent onMNO’s telecommunications facilities. The second type isthe simple MVNO that hold HLR (Home Location Regis-ter) to manage the customer’s information and his ownbrand but uses MNO’s network code and SIM (SubscriberIdentification Module) card. So the type B can provide thevalue-added service to his own customers although someparts of voice mobile service depend on the MNO. Thetype C is an MVNO that added switching facilities to thetype B. So the type C includes the every feature of B type.Lastly, D type in figure 1 is called full MVNO because thetype has almost mobile facilities including switching,transmission without radio frequency and some basetransmission stations. Thus, the type D is the most inde-pendent operator among 4 types, which
 
can provide mo-bile services including the several value-added services tohis own customers with independent marketing strategiessuch as pricing, brand, SIM card, etc. In the 4 type cases ofreal world, the wholesale compensation for using MNO’sfacilities has been usually calculated by cost base, or re-tail-price base.
1.3
 
D
IFFERENT
C
ATEGORIES OF
MVNO
S
 
Category I
: Plump/Full MVNO: MVNO own its brandname, numbering series, billing system, SIMs, some net-work infrastructure like IN, HLR and even MSC. TheMVNO does not own spectrum and therefore, uses radionetwork of MNO under business agreement for provisionof services to its customers. In this category, the MVNOseems like a full fledged mobile operator and public cannot differentiate in the MNO and MVNO. This categoryof MVNO operates under a license granted by the respec-tive regulator and is bound by the license conditions simi-lar to MNO.This category of MVNO is usually operating in fully ma-ture markets where there is sufficient competition and thegrowth is almost flat. The MNOs have sufficient sparecapacity to sell in bulk to MVNO and thus earn some rev-enue, whereas the MVNO adds value to it and re-sell it inthe market with its own brand name. In short this fullMVNO Model has following distinctive features:1.
 
It has its own mobile network code2.
 
Issue its own SIM cards3.
 
Operate its own mobile switching centre (MSC)4.
 
Operate its own home location register (HLR)5.
 
Operate its own billing platform6.
 
Independent pricing7.
 
Independent billing8.
 
Independent Marketing
Category II
: Skinny/Service provider MVNO: SuchMVNOs rely almost totally on the mobile operator's facili-ties. Normally such MVNO just re-sells minutes43 ac-quired in bulk from the MNO and do not possess its ownbrand name. Calls to and from these MVNO subscriberswould be treated as if they were calls to the mobile net-work operator's own customers. Similarly, the MVNOdoes not have its own codes/ numbers instead the num-bers of MNOs are used. Further, the MVNO does nothave its own SIM rather uses the SIMs of MNO.
2.1
 
N
ETWORKS
&
 
A
RCHITECTURES
 
Figure 2.1: Illustration of a MVNO network
A mobile virtual network operator provides cellular ser-vices without owning spectrum access rights. From thecustomers' point of view, a MVNO looks like any othercellular operator, but a MVNO does not own or operatebase station infrastructure. The above figure illustratesthe MVNO idea. There are different scenarios for aMVNO approach and consequently different Architec-tures for the MVNO such as:
 
A full MVNO, with its own SIM card, networkselection code and switching capabilities as wellas service center but without spectrum.
 
IA-MVNO (Indirect Access MVNO) or Enhancedservice provider without SIM card, but with owncore network (circuit switched and/or packet)and service facilities, e.g. own IN or IP applica-tion servers.
 
Wireless ISP without own core network; basicallyan Internet portal providing wireless IP services.
 
JOURNAL OF COMPUTING, VOLUME 2, ISSUE 12, DECEMBER 2010, ISSN 2151-9617HTTPS://SITES.GOOGLE.COM/SITE/JOURNALOFCOMPUTING/ WWW.JOURNALOFCOMPUTING.ORG 47
2.2.
 
B
ACKGROUND
A
RCHITECTURE
The following Figure is a diagram of a typical Global Sys-tem for Mobile Communications (GSM) network that wasused in the initial consultation, and it is included here tohelp clarify the discussion below.
Figure 2.2: Diagram of a Typical Mobile Virtual Network (MVNO)
An MVNO is an organization which provides mobiletelephony services to its customers but do not have anallocation of spectrum. The MVNO must use part of theMNO’s network in order to provide services. The extentwhich the MVNO would use the network elements of theMNO. Most proponents of MVNOs indicated that therewas the most interest in ‘full MVNOs’. A full MVNO isone with a Home Location Register (HLR), MobileSwitching Centre (MSC), Authentication centre (AUC),Equipment Identity Register (EIR) and associated signal-ing capabilities. A Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cardcontrolled by the MVNO is recognized as a key require-ment of an MVNO. The MVNO would probably also re-quire an Intelligent Network (IN) platform if it wished toprovide its customers with its own value-added servicesrather than relying on those available from the hostMNO.
2.2.1
 
M
OBILE
S
TATION
(MS)
The Mobile Station (MS) is a combination of terminalequipment and subscriber data. The terminal equipmentas such as is called Mobile Equipment (ME) and the sub-scriber’s data is stored in a separate module called Sub-scriber Identity Module (SIM)
2.2.2
 
B
ASE
S
TATION
S
UBSYSTEM
(BSS)
The base station subsystem is responsible for managingthe radio network, and it is controlled by an MSC. Typi-cally, one MSC contains several BSSs. A BSS itself cover aconsiderably large geographical area consist many cells (acell refers covered by one or more frequency resources).The BSS consist of the following elements:BSC (Base Station Controller)BTS (Base Transceiver Station)TC (Transcoder)
2.2.2.1
 
B
ASE
S
TATION
C
ONTROLLER
(BSC)
The BSC is the central network element of the BSS and itcontrols the radio network. The base station controller(BSC) provides, classically, the intelligence behind theBTSs. Typically a BSC has tens or even hundreds of BTSsunder its control. The BSC handles allocation of radiochannels, receives measurements from the mobile phones,and controls handovers from BTS to BTS.The BSC is undoubtedly the most robust element in theBSS as it is not only a BTS controller but, for some ven-dors, a full switching center, as well as an SS7 node withconnections to the MSC and serving GPRS support node(SGSN) (when using GPRS). It also provides all the re-quired data to the operation support subsystem (OSS) aswell as to the performance measuring centers.
2.2.2.2
 
B
ASE
T
RANSCEIVER
S
TATION
(BTS)
The BTS is the network element responsible for maintain-ing the air interface and minimizing the transmissionproblems. The BTS parameters handle the following ma- jor items; that kind of hand offs (when and why), pagingorganization, and radio power level control and BTSidentification.The BTS has several very important tasks, some of whichare presented in the following. Air interface, signaling,Ciphering, Speech processing
2.2.2.3
 
T
RANSCODER
(TC)
The transcoder is responsible for transcoding the voicechannel coding between the coding used in the mobilenetwork, and the coding used by the world's terrestrialcircuit-switched network, the Public Switched TelephoneNetwork.
2.2.3
 
N
ETWORK SWITCHING
S
UBSYSTEM
(NSS)
The Network Switching Subsystem (NSS) contains thenetwork elements MSC, VLR, HLR, AUC and EIRThe main functions of NSS are: Call control Charging,Mobility management, Signaling Subscriber, data han-dling
2.2.3.1
 
M
OBILE SWITCHING CENTER
(MSC)
The MSC is responsible for controlling calls in the mobilenetwork. It identifies the origin and destination of a call,as well as the type of a call. An MSC acting as a bridgebetween a mobile network and a fixed network is called aGateway MSC.The MSC is responsible for several important tasks, suchas:Call controlInitiation of pagin andCharging data Collection

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