GSMA expands its support for IP Communication Launches and Interoperability Testing

Helping operators and OEMs to reduce the time to market and speed up the launch process for IP Communications is a vital part of the Network 2020 Programme’s work. The GSMA has two teams dedicated to this task, and has recently expanded their scope and activities to provide enhanced level of support. One team focusses on ‘Launches and Interconnect’ to provide a range of specialist services and tools to enhance and accelerate the deployment of VoLTE and RCS interconnection. The second team run the IP Communications Interoperability and Testing (IOT) programme that implements and manages the testing process for new devices and services.

One of the GSMA’s key goals is to support operators in the early stages of an RCS deployment by sharing best practices learnt from other deployments. Regional Project Managers have now been assigned to help specific operators start their RCS / VoLTE Interoperability projects. We have produced a set of assets known as the Toolkit that brings together the accumulated knowledge from the initial service deployments and GSMA Test Events and makes it easy for operators to find the relevant information. Topics covered include IP Communication Services Implementation and Deployment Guide, Lessons Learned and Issues Registries, NNI Parameters Matrix and others. The expected outcome of this support programme is to accelerate interoperable market launches globally.

IP Communication Launches and Interoperability TestingThe Launches and Interconnect support programme is fully synchronised with the work performed by the IP Comms IOT programme, which now embraces the finalised joyn Blackbird framework (no more ‘Drops’!). A number of companies have completed accreditation to the finalised joyn Blackbird framework as we go to press: Samsung Galaxy S4 device, Sony XPERIA devices, Microsoft with Nokia Lumia devices and NewNet with its RCS Hosted Solution. The current joyn Blackbird accreditation submissions being processed include Vodafone Spain and Orange France networks, Hosted Solutions by Jibe Mobile and Openmind Networks as well as devices from LG and HTC. It is also important to mention that at the beginning of August 2014 the first accreditation was awarded for the RCS API Gateway, produced by Comverse / Solaiemes to joyn Blackbird Drop 1 framework. More information on the current accredited implementations can be found here.

The IOT Programme has also introduced an alternative approach for RCS Device and Client Manufacturers to verify their implementation within GSMA. In particular, if a client is not able to execute testing in an operator’s environment, it can achieve a permanent Accreditation Ready status by testing in the environment provided by an Accreditation Ready Hosted Solution. More information on this can be found here. This approach helps mitigate some of the practical issues and constraints of the accreditation process such as availability of operator support or SIMs to access preproduction environment, as well as travel resources.

The next step in the IOT Programme evolution is the framework for the ‘Common Core’. This is a set of high-level feature descriptions based on the RCS 5.2 specification. It includes IP Voice and Video calling and has been developed by operators to promote global interoperability and accelerate time to market for native IP Communications devices. The Common Core Service Description Documents (SDDs) have been recently published on the Network 2020 website and the IOT programme plans to develop the corresponding accreditation framework including Test Matrices and procedural documentation by the end of 2014, with the first accredited devices and networks to follow in 1Q 2015.