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Why subscriber data is key for 4G and 5G interworking

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This article appeared on RCR Wireless

You can’t keep a good technology down! According to recent industry data, 5G is the fastest growing mobile technology in history – despite a pandemic and widespread lockdowns. Between Q3 2019 and Q3 2020, there were 225 million 5G subscribers. This remarkable feat took 4G LTE four years to attain. And while 5G will come to dominate the mobile landscape in the future, 4G is not going away anytime soon. The GSMA estimates that 4G will in fact grow and still account for 56 per cent of connections in 2025. The time is now for operators to have a robust strategy to achieve seamless 4G to 5G interconnectivity.

The strategy for subscriber data management needs to reconcile different systems and standards that have been applied to achieve successful – and seamless – network transformation. As legacy 4G networks will run alongside 5G for the foreseeable future, interworking is essential for reliable access to subscriber data for user registration, network profiles, and service monetization.

According to 3GPP Release 16 standardization, the 5G core subscriber data management system replacing Home Subscriber Server (HSS) systems is Unified Data Management (UDM). Cloud-native UDM technology provides a centralized way to control network user data designed specifically for 5G. Yet there are several different options available for interworking between 4G HSS and a 5G UDM system.

So, how can operators choose the best data management strategy? Read the rest of the article on RCR Wireless