Network world Image credit pixaby/sumanlyBICS has launched a new cloud roaming service using the AWS global network. It means the customers will benefit from much faster speeds when users want faster speeds when roaming abroad. Rather than use often complex networks or internet backhauls, BICS will leverage the AWS global network.

The network traffic will redirect to the local AWS hub, traverse the low latency AWS network and provide faster connections for users whether working abroad or at home. The new service is targeted at Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) and Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs). It is the end customer, both consumer and business users, that will benefit from the new service.

It will allow mobile users to enjoy lower latency when using business applications, other apps, streaming media, gaming or other low-latency services. For international travellers wanting to connect to their home new service whilst abroad, it will save time and improve the experience.

Sameer Vuyyuru, Director and Head of worldwide telecommunications business development at AWS, commented, “We are proud to work with BICS to innovate on improving the subscriber experience. BICS’ shift from a legacy network approach to a digital cloud-native approach for roaming is groundbreaking and helps to achieve global network presence on demand while ensuring reliability, flexibility and cost optimization. We look forward to working with BICS to serve the roaming customers of any telco worldwide.”

Award-winning Service

BICS has already piloted the cloud roaming services between Spain and South Korea, with South Korea’s largest mobile operator SK Telecom (SKT). The service reduces latency from 555 milliseconds to just 90 milliseconds using a 5G connection in Spain and SKT’s mobile network in South Korea. This achievement was recognized by the World Communications Awards, in its Cloud awards category.

The service leverages AWS Transit Gateway, AWS Direct Connect, and Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) and leverages AWS’ global footprint, including AWS Regions and AWS Local Zones. The AWS network is extensive, with around 105 Availability Zones within 33 geographic regions around the world, with announced plans for 12 more Availability Zones and 4 more AWS Regions in Germany, Malaysia, New Zealand, and Thailand.

BICS is also working with Proximus, the Belgian telecoms company. It has also tested the cloud roaming service, but it does not appear as a service on its website yet. The work with SKT continues with BICS and SKT developing a Roaming Edge Cloud (REC) solution. SKT has further improved the solution. It was seen an 80% improvement in response time increased to 85% compared to current roaming services.

Changing the world of roaming for the better

The BICS roaming service is now available for a limited number of MNOs and MVNOs. It is likely that it will continue to test and learn from the initial deployments. The solution is deployed globally using BICS’ self-developed Packet Data Network (PDN) Gateway-based internet termination edge sites.

Jorn Vercamert, Vice President Customer Solutions and Products at BICS, image credit: LinkedIn
Jorn Vercamert, Vice President Customer Solutions and Products at BICS

Jorn Vercamert, Vice President Customer Solutions and Products at BICS, said, “Low latency combined with truly global and interactive communications has the power to unlock massive potential for connected cars, drones, AR headsets, and many more next-generation use cases, and BICS is delighted to be at the core of driving this forward with AWS. Travelers and devices alike will benefit from the AWS-based cloud roaming solution, no longer facing latency delays when using mobile internet.

“BICS’ Roaming Services facilitate improved roaming across all geographical locations by enabling content to be accessed within a specific region. With the added agility and flexibility of AWS, we can avoid the burden of heavy upfront capex investments, innovate more, and launch new offerings faster while at the same time bringing simplicity to our customers and application content quicker to end-users.”

Enterprise Times: What does this mean

For mobile business users, this is welcomed news. If their mobile operators deploy this solution leveraging BICS and AWS, they can work while travelling more effectively. It is frustrating when faced with latency when using services abroad. Ones that work quickly when at home. The time delay can cost money or even cause errors.

With the average mobile data usage per smartphone set to rise from 21 GB in 2023 to 56 GB in 2029 (Source Ericsson), organisations will want to avoid bottlenecks for customers. There is also a question of what this means for the global network operators. Will it mean that AWS can grab an even bigger share of the global network traffic?

What is missing from this announcement is the impact on cost. Is this solution cheaper for BICS and the mobile operators to deploy? It has slashed the latency for customers, but will that come at a price? Or, will this also help to reduce the sometimes onerous international roaming charges?

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