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Global Roaming Glitch Or Signs of A Bigger Problem?

Ten days ago when I landed in London my Blackberry wasn't getting any connection to the BB network, nor could I BBM my colleagues and friends, surf the web, Facebook, Tweet or anything. It took a few days, and divine intervention (i.e The PR agency route) to get someone who helped get me back online as there was a glitch in T-Mobile USA network that needed to be fixed. It wasn't RIM's fault, nor mine, but something with some setting. The person I dealt with in the executive support team was awesome, and I'm thankful to Mercedes for her help. But, the global roaming bug reminded me of an outage years ago with my cable operator, Cox, and then with some outages I've seen with hotspots, as operators one by one roll out "upgrades" only to see the problems come to light with other operators later on.

Today I read where Telecom New Zealand is having a global roaming outage. Hmm. Makes me wonder as the concentration of service providers, NEPs and network operational software is pretty much all supplied by a handful of global vendors. If that's the case, then the idea of a global cloud supplier who see's the problem first, see the solution first, and can deploy first, means these problems both come faster, but also go away much faster.

Just like with VoIP where Broadsoft is the leader in supplying softswitches to telcos, when it comes to mobile its Alcatel-Lucent, NSN (Nokia Siemens) and Ericsson who are in the middle of most of the mobile operators. Then companies like Neustar, Mach, Syniverse all play key and crucial roles, replicating what they each do across the thousands of GSM operators and local networks, all interconnecting and integrating.

When one breaks though, it cascades across the world...and that's what may have impacted Vodafone and those connected to it.. Ouch!


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