Hendrik, as a telecom professional with extensive experience in creating innovative and award-winning software and services for mobile operators, you know the industry from scratch. As a key contributor to various GSMA groups, can you tell us how the GSMA’s initiatives help the industry advance?
Especially with roaming fraud, the GSMA has found ways to improve the situation remarkably. They introduced the NRTRDE (Near Real Time Roaming Data Exchange) format to replace the HUR (High Usage Report). Until 2008, HUR was the standard method used for the frequent exchange of roaming usage data and the detection of fraud. When the NRTRDE (Near Real Time Roaming Data Exchange) format was developed and standardized, the time for the home network to analyze call data was shortened considerably. With the compulsory implementation of NRTRDE for all members, partner operators have a four-hour window to exchange files (contrary to the 36-hour window by the HUR standard) and to stop unauthorized network usage. With the help of this requirement, revenue loss due to roaming fraud could be reduced to a large extent.
In my role as a chairman, I lead the GSMA FSS (File Specification Subgroup) that was tasked to define the new standard. While NRTRDE certainly proved to be very beneficial, it still bugs me that it gives fraudsters a several-hour’s window to act undetected, an unsatisfactory situation for fraud managers. HUR and NRTRDE both were devised at a time where the HPMN did not always have visibility of what his roamers were up to, because this visibility needed to be provided by the VPMN and that in turn took a bit of time (time in which fraud could take place undetected). Luckily, in 2020, many networks have access to roaming CDRs generated in their own home network and hence can act much quicker also in fraud situations. There is still a lot of work to do, but fortunately, a lot of innovation is going on. You should closely follow the GSMA activities around T-ISAC (Telecommunication Information Sharing and Analysis Centre) where you will soon find lots of remedies to your fraud and security issues.