Singapore LTE Asia 2013 Stand #37
Long-term evolution (LTE) Diameter signaling traffic will grow at more than twice the rate of mobile data traffic through 2017, according to the second annual Oracle Communications LTE Diameter Signaling Index™.1 The Index predicts that worldwide LTE Diameter signaling traffic will increase at a 140 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR), from 1.2 million messages per second (MPS) in 2012 to nearly 99 million MPS by 2017.
The Index gives communications service provider (CSP) executives, network architects and engineers insight into how new digital lifestyle services and personalized mobile data plans offered to LTE subscribers will lead to a sharp increase in LTE Diameter signaling messages.
Diameter is the signaling protocol CSPs use to deliver personalized digital lifestyle services. Diameter messages enable subscriber network access, secure interconnection with roaming and over-the-top application partners, accurate charging and usage-based services. They are essential for authorization, authentication, policy, charging and mobility management.
With the growth in 4G/LTE networks built to meet the demand of smartphones and tablets, the number of Diameter signaling messages is exploding. Network policy is the primary contributor to signaling volume. According to the Index, policy MPS are expected to more than triple in each of 2013 and 2014 compared with the previous year. By 2017, policy will account for 62 percent of signaling volumes.
CSPs’ desires to offer more personalized mobile data services will amplify the number and sophistication of network policies. Use cases include shared data plans, mobile advertising and sponsored data usage, machine-to-machine (M2M) services and content partnerships, such as streaming audio or video included with subscribers’ data allotments.
The Index predicts that North America will be the largest contributor to Diameter signaling traffic each year in the forecast period. In 2017, the region is expected to reach nearly 43 million MPS.
Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and Latin America regions will likely boast growth rates surpassing 200 percent per year through 2017.
In the Asia Pacific region, the five mature markets of Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and South Korea will likely account for the majority of LTE Diameter signaling growth.
The definition of the Diameter protocol continues to expand, with more than 24 defined interfaces to date.
The Index takes into account Diameter messages generated from:
• Communications among policy servers, charging systems, subscriber databases and gateways to support innovative mobile data plans;
• Mobility management functions, including subscriber authentication onto networks and roaming between partner networks; and
• New Diameter interfaces between network elements.
The Index bases LTE Diameter signaling traffic numbers on LTE subscriber forecasts from Informa Telecoms & Media’s World Cellular Information Service, which forecasts nearly one billion LTE subscriptions by 2017.
The years 2018 and beyond should continue to provide aggressive Diameter signaling growth. By 2017, the Asia-Pacific market is predicted reach only an 11 percent LTE penetration rate, according to Informa Telecoms & Media. Software-defined networking (SDN), which many CSPs are exploring, will likely further enable new profitable mobile data services. Once these new services are implemented in the network, they are expected to drive additional Diameter traffic.
“Digital lifestyle services represent new ways for operators to engage and retain subscribers, expand partnerships with content and device providers and grow revenue and profitability. Behind the scenes, the signaling that underpins these services will also naturally increase, as consumers benefit from the speed, efficiency and creativity of new LTE services,” said Bhaskar Gorti, senior vice president and general manager, Oracle Communications.
“LTE subscriber growth is the prerequisite to LTE Diameter signaling growth. While Oracle’s growth forecasts are impressive, we expect LTE Diameter traffic to maintain or even exceed such sharp increases beyond the forecast range. The two reasons are the projected LTE subscriber additions in developing markets, particularly China and India, and the range of new services enabled by software-defined networking,” said Dimitris Mavrakis, principal analyst, Informa Telecoms & Media.
“The Diameter protocol is already essential for operators to enable today’s revenue-generating services and ones on the horizon, like voice over LTE. The number of interfaces will also certainly expand to support new LTE network services and efficiencies, further increasing signaling traffic in the years to come,” said Jim Hodges, senior analyst, Heavy Reading.
The Oracle Communications LTE Diameter Signaling Index calculates LTE Diameter MPS based on assumptions relevant to LTE services such as third-party LTE subscriber forecasts, subscriber behaviors, the number of active subscribers, the number of concurrent sessions, mobility busy hours, subscriber busy hours, policy sessions and online and offline charging interactions.
3GPP and GSM Association standards and documentation are used to establish Diameter traffic profiles. Oracle validates these assumptions in its Diameter Signaling Lab and incorporates this information into the Oracle Communications LTE Diameter Signaling Index Calculator™ available to service providers to forecast Diameter signaling traffic growth on LTE and 3G networks.
Usage & Citation
Oracle permits media, financial and industry analysts, service providers, regulators and other third parties to cite our research with the following attribution: “Source: Oracle Communications LTE Diameter Signaling Index: Forecast Report and Analysis 2012-2017.”
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