Johannes Kaiser

CHIEF CUSTOMER OFFICER

Summary

  • The new RAEX IR.21 schema will be released on December 15th 2022
  • Many long awaited changes will be implemented improving security, reputation and revenues
  • The new release paves the way to full automation
  • RoamsysNext will end its Data Capturing service and we will tell you why this is a good thing!
  • RoamsysNext will remain there at the heart of RAEX
  • New free compliancy service!

Once again, a new RAEX IR.21 schema is on the horizon, ready to be released on December 15th 2022. However, this time it’s really special as there are some great changes coming that allow us to revolutionize the way we work with the IR.21 data. More importantly, these pave the way towards the full automation of your network configurations, not only make your life much easier but also improving the security within your network and making sure that you reap all the roaming revenues you can.

This article takes you through the reasons, struggles and outlook of the IR.21 format. We also explain the new release and what is so great about it, and you will also learn why RoamsysNext will no longer capture non-RAEX IR.21 files and why this is good news for the whole industry.

The relevance of RAEX

The relevance of the RAEX format for automation was also confirmed in our 2022 customer survey:

After 12 years of RAEX IR.21, it is without question that the format is a Win-Win for both VPMNs and HPMNs that were willing to embrace the format.

Why was the RAEX format implemented?

MNOs, MVNOs and Hub Providers are sharing the IR.21/IR.85s information with each other to ensure that all roaming services work for the inbound roamers, guaranteeing the best customer experience for the HPMN and to assure all the roaming revenues are captured on both sides. Sending the documents in an electronic format (XML) makes it much easier for the VPMN to process the data and it ensures the HPMN’s submitted data is crystal clear – unlike free text information that is either unclear or might get ignored/overlooked by the VPMN.

For this reason, the RAEX IR.21 standard was implemented in 2010 and has been further improved ever since. Since 2020 also other players like MVNOs can create, distribute, and receive the files via the tool by becoming a Rapporteur Member of the GSMA. By now 704 operators have already published their IR.21s via the tool, so the percentage of operators being compliant with the standard is very high.

Why is the new release needed?

As explained the big majority or operators already uses the RAEX format to distribute their IR.21s. However, some files are not maintained in the best possible way. This has two reasons: a) the standard itself is lacking some required improvements and b) a few organizations are not putting the required effort into the creation of their files – although it is in their own best interest to do this properly. At the end of the day, it affects their own security, reputation, and revenues.

So, while the amount of data on RAEX is already very good, the quality in some places needs improvement to take the last baby steps towards full automation on a broad basis.

How does the new release pave the way towards full automation?

The new update tackles the issues of data quality and helps the few trailing organizations to take the final step and switch to RAEX and stay with the format.

The below responses were given by our customers in the 2022 customer survey, when we asked about the issues and what can be improved around the IR.21:

The great news is: those issues that can be tackled with the tool and the standard will be covered with the new release:

  • New technologies will be supported (e.g. IoT quality parameters, VPMN support for Local Breakout and more)
  • Free text will be limited – the more precise the information the better for automation
  • Validation will be stricter on some fields and dummy data is no longer allowed
  • Overlaps of MSISDN/MSRN/GT and IPs with the data in the catalog will be displayed
  • Smart dependencies: sections like VoLTE become mandatory to fill out if support of VoLTE is indicated by the sender
  • Sublicensing of network parts to MVNOs and other 3rd parties becomes much more transparent
  • And much more….

The other issues require a change of mindset across the publishing organizations.

What’s next?

The new release is scheduled for December 15th 2022, all operators and Rapporteurs should create an updated version of their file shortly after the release and distribute it to their partners via the RAEX Tool in Infocentre. GSMA and RoamsysNext will provide training sessions around the release, but for most organization the update should be quite easy to do without any extra training.

No more data capturing for non-RAEX IR.21s, really?

Over the last 5+ years RoamsysNext has provided a data capturing service for their customers. While this might have been a good service for our customers for the past years, it was also counter-productive in getting the few missing organizations on board. Still today, a few operators send around Word or PDF files by email that make life for everyone else very hard, most of all for their own roaming partners. With a free tool available to all relevant players for years now, this should no longer be acceptable. Following the new release and also the coming of 5G SA, which makes the automated processing a must anyway, we also expect operators to no longer accept non-RAEX files from their roaming partners and connected Rapporteur Member partners.

RoamsysNext will remain there at the heart of RAEX and will help everyone who struggles with the format.

With the new release, RoamsysNext will end its traditional ongoing data capturing service, but of course we will remain there at the heart of RAEX and will help everyone who struggles with the format. But instead of turning a Word or PDF our customers have received into an electronic format for them, we will get in touch with the organization that should be really involved: the sender of the file. After all, the sender of the document should be responsible of the data they are sharing with their roaming partners.

Free compliancy service by RoamsysNext

Moving forward, if you receive non-RAEX files from organizations that are Operator Members or Rapporteur Members of the GSMA, you can inform your roaming partner that non-RAEX documents are not accepted anymore and that all it takes to become compliant is to contact RoamsysNext and request a free-of-charge IR.21 RAEX creation including training on how to maintain and distribute the file moving forward. From thereon it is their responsibility to send future files via the RAEX Tool in Infocentre, of course getting the regular support for updates if needed.

Let’s all make network automation a commodity for all operators instead of an exclusive strategy for the most advanced and brave ones!

Takeaways

  • The new RAEX IR.21 format will lead to significantly better data quality.
  • No longer accept non-RAEX formats from your roaming partners!
  • Let your non-RAEX compliant partners know that RoamsysNext will help them.
  • Let RoamsysNext take care of the rest.

Johannes Kaiser is with RoamsysNext since 2008 in various roles, but always in very close contact with our customers. Travelling the globe to join industry events or meet customers on-site is key to him to understand the beat of the business and most importantly the needs of our clients. Johannes is passionate about the automation aspect in the roaming industry, helping customer to move away from error-prone and inefficient manual processes. Before joining RoamsysNext Johannes worked in Frankfurt, Germany in a tech PR agency.