Why device data is crucial for successful 5G rollout and optimisation

Ibtissam Hajjar, VP of Products at Invigo, and Walid Badaoui, VP, Technical, at Invigo, highlight how important device data is for operators managing their 5G networks, and the central role GSMA Device Database can play.

As 5G rolls out, operators need to know how to maximise its potential. After all, 5G enables everything customers will look for in the future, from very high-speed broadband to very dense Internet of Things (IoT) deployments.

So it’s crucial that operators know the full capabilities of their customers’ devices. Without that data, it can be hard to ensure these new networks have optimum coverage and capacity, and to determine which 5G technologies and spectrum bands to prioritise.

Knowing how to optimise

With regulators auctioning more spectrum for 5G in low, mid and mmWave frequency bands, operators are keen to track 5G device penetration and which spectrum their customers’ devices can support. Since this information can help operators weigh the value of specific frequency bands.

Along with 5G devices, operators need to understand the penetration of advanced technologies for 5G, such as MIMO (multiple-input and multiple-output antennas) and carrier aggregation (CA). This kind of data enables operators to improve capacity planning, based on the proportion of subscriber devices supporting the different technologies.

Knowing when to launch a service

Device data can inform network design and spectrum acquisition strategies, as well as service launches, such as IoT, 5G, eSIM or VoLTE – here, they ensure enough customers are using those technologies to justify launching the service.

Knowing when to switch off 2G and 3G

At the same time, operators also want to plan when they will be able to switch off legacy services, such as 2G and 3G. Here, they need to identify how many 2G-only devices are still connected to their networks.

The challenge

To get this data, it is vital for operators to keep pace with the fast-moving and complex device market. Yet since the GSMA estimates more than 10,000 device models are launched every year, keeping track of accurate TAC and IMEI data is highly complex and something operators probably don’t have the resources to do themselves.

There are solutions

There are companies who specialise in supporting operators with all the above. Take Invigo. We’re a Beirut-based company serving more than 50 mobile operators across the world with our Automatic Device Management (ADM) solution, which provides valuable data about customers’ handsets.

This device analytics tool is used by multiple different teams within mobile operators. The technical team, for example, can use the data generated by ADM to make informed decisions before investing in a specific technology (such as 5G or eSIM), while the marketing team can target their campaigns at specific subscribers based on the device they use and its characteristics. They can also offer specific bundles based on the device model or device capabilities (with some offers valid for only 5G devices, for example).

Using GSMA Device Database

The ADM service draws data from GSMA Device Database, which identifies a device’s manufacturer and model, as well as other characteristics, from its TAC* (Type Allocation Code).

Identifying the device model enables our ADM solution to properly configure subscribers’ devices for several data services. It also allows the data analytics module of our ADM solution to generate a rich set of device-related statistics, which the operators use continuously. Our customers can access that data through a web-based interface. With a single click, an operator can find out the penetration rate of any technology among the devices on their network.

How does the ADM solution work?

As the ADM solution is connected to the signalling network of the operator, it is notified in real-time when a new device joins the network. The ADM solution detects the MSISDN-IMEI (phone number used to identify a device during calls) combination for the subscriber. By drawing on GSMA Device Database, ADM can identify the device model based on the TAC.

Once the device model is identified, the ADM solution determines the data services supported by the device and the over-the-air protocol supported for remote configuration (OMA-CP being the leading protocol for Android devices and for legacy devices, and IoS configuration protocol being used for Apple devices) and sends the correct configuration over-the-air to the device.

A few seconds after the device is registered to the network, it gets an appropriate configuration and/or welcome message based on whatever statistics ADM has about the device.

GSMA Device Database helps drive growth

To us, the GSMA Device Database is an essential service that has been key to the development of our device management propositions. Without the information provided by the Device Database service, it would have been impossible to build and sell our ADM solution, which is our best-seller!

* The GSMA issues the TAC used to identify device types, which all devices require. During this process, the GSMA collects data from all device manufacturers, which is collated to create Device Database. This can be updated by manufacturers in real-time, so the data is always accurate.

If you’d like to find out more about GSMA Device Database, please contact our team HERE