TECT meeting in Brazil: working together to bring the GSMA’s Vision 2020 strategy to Latin America

The GSMA Latin America Technical and Terminals Working Group met on 15 and 16 March in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, providing a catalyst to continue updating mobile operators on the technical topics the GSMA is promoting globally. The meeting brought together more than 60 executives in the technology areas from operators and the main manufacturers in the Latin American mobile ecosystem, including Huawei, Ericsson, Qualcomm, Gemalto and Nokia.

Held alongside the first Small Cell Forum in Latin America, the TECT meeting was attended by representatives from Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The main topics addressed at the meeting were the specific technological needs of Latin America for access network development and antenna deployment. Attendees were brought up to date on the key concepts of the GSMA’s Vision 2020 strategy with an explanation of the real opportunities in implementing these new technologies in the region.

The TECT meeting included seminars and debates on the topics of access networks, the internet of things, the future of mobile networks, mobile identity services and solutions, and mobile financial services, such as:

Access Network Seminar: TECT Chair and Head of Technology at Telecom Argentina Martín Wessel reached an agreement among various operators and the main manufacturers from the region to work together on a guide to help GSMA members identify problems and possible solutions associated with access network deployment. This line of action will be supported by Small Cell Forum, which will make its experience and studies available to the TECT for preparation of the guide.

During the seminar the GSMA went over the measures that mobile operators can take to protect their networks from the potential vulnerabilities of SS7 signalling. Other topics at the seminar included new access network trends, with an in-depth look at LTE broadcast services and the main features of MBMS (Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Services).

Connected Living Seminar: During this session on machine-to-machine (M2M) communications, discussion focused on the security challenges for deploying and scaling Internet of Things (IoT) services in the region. The session included a presentation of the GSMA’s Mobile IoT initiative, designed to accelerate the commercial availability of Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) solutions in licensed spectrum, providing security and extending battery lifetimes. The seminar focused on LTE for Machines (LTE-M), Extended Coverage GSM (EC-GSM) and narrow band IoT technologies (NB-IoT). International experts gave keynote presentations about Embedded SIM and how it will contribute to the growth of M2M communications, and the main features of the new Customer Device connection model.

The discussion addressed the benefits of a common architecture for Big Data and standardisation of IoT information sources, as well as the new use cases to be taken into account in the region to encourage Smart Cities, in particular the importance of security for connected cars.

Vodafone Brasil presented the regional success case of its project to develop new technologies for M2M and determine how to combine voice, mobile data and M2M architectures.

Network Evolution Seminar: At this session experts discussed progress made in the initiatives and activities of the GSMA Network 2020 Programme focusing on building mobile networks with All-IP technology. One of the main items addressed was VoLTE and the work carried out by the GSMA to facilitate local interoperability of VoLTE among operators, and the example of Korea. Attendees were informed about the collaboration tool for resolution of incidents on IP communications (RCS, VoLTE, ViLTE, VoWiFi), in which the GSMA is working on almost 500 incidents that affect these services. Representatives from Oi group (Brazil) presented the results of their Voice over WiFi launching trials and international experts spoke about what can be expected from the new 5G technology, not only at the services level but also in changes to 4G that will gradually be introduced, such as Carrier Aggregation, MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output), Virtualisation (NFV), Slicing, Edge Computing and broadcast technologies.

Identity Services Seminar: Mobile Connect is an authentication service launched by operators worldwide as an alternative to the multiple usernames and passwords of the digital world. This service has reached Latin America, allowing operators to provide user authentication on websites through individual telephone numbers. During this session, the TECT was joined by the global head of Mobile Connect at Telefónica, who talked about the launch of this service in Peru, Argentina and Mexico and the start of work to implement it in Brazil and other countries. Key presentations were given by Telecom Argentina, which shared its experience in implementing Mobile Connect, and service provider representatives interested in implementing Mobile Connect to deliver higher levels of security. The evolution of Mobile Connect to provide services for authorisation, attributes, payment and identity was reviewed.

Mobile Money Seminar: This seminar included regional experts in mobile money, who highlighted the importance of this service in Latin America, where Paraguay, El Salvador and Honduras are among the world’s 15 leading mobile money markets. They also highlighted the importance of interoperability and the development of the mobile money ecosystem in Brazil, Mexico and Panama. The account of Brazilian experts about developing mobile payments in their country was particularly interesting. Attendees at the TECT meeting had the opportunity to learn about the technological concepts behind what is known as “tokenisation” in mobile financial services, which delivers the additional security necessary for the growth of mobile payments and even their extension to IoT in the region.