Offloading Data Using Unlicensed LTE (2019)

By Loay Kreishan, Charter Communications

Multiple System Operators, MSOs, are capitalizing on new revenue streams by providing mobile services to their customer segment through mobile virtual network operators, MVNOs. MSOs are motivated to offload mobile data onto their own wireless infrastructure in order to reduce mobile data cost and improve user experience. MSOs can utilize Wi-Fi and LTE networks operating on spectrum bands like 3.5GHz Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS), while keeping users registered with the MNO network to take advantage of broad coverage.

To this end, some MSOs are investigating using dual credential user equipment (UE). A UE with two subscriber identity modules (SIM) enables it to simultaneously stay attached to two networks. Dual SIM dual standby (DSDS) handsets are widely available in the market particularly in Asia.

This does not come without obstacles. The main challenge in the existing DSDS UE implementation is that it requires intervention on the part of the subscriber to designate one network for data and one for voice. The existing DSDS UE functions under the assumption that the subscriber has full control to select which networks will be suitable for data.

Because both networks’ overlap, there is no need for the UE to know when it is within coverages and which network to use for data. Put simply, the devices don’t need to be smarter in this area.

The standard DSDS implementation does not meet the MSO offloading requirements because the two networks’ do not overlap.

This paper first describes how the solution of using DSDS UE meets the main requirements of offloading data. The existing DSDS UE needs enhancements to seamlessly select a designated data network and dynamically switch data path between networks when available.

Then the paper depicts an improved DSDS solution, which is called dynamic DSDS (D-DSDS) in this paper, that lifts the burden of intervention from the subscriber and elevates his experience. Last, some promising D-DSDS results from early trials is shared that indicates a D-DSDS solution will soon become a reality.

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