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From GSM to LTE: An Introduction to Mobile Networks and Mobile Broadband by Martin Sauter

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1.2 Standards

As many telecom companies compete globally for orders of telecommunication network operators, standardization of interfaces and procedures is necessary. Without standards, which are defined by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), it would not be possible to make phone calls internationally and network operators would be bound to the supplier they initially select for the delivery of their network components. One of the most important ITU standards discussed in Section 1.4 is the Signaling System Number 7 (SS-7), which is used for call routing. Many ITU standards, however, only represent the smallest common denominator as most countries have specified their own national extensions. In practice, this incurs a high cost for software development for each country as a different set of extensions needs to be implemented in order for a vendor to be able to sell its equipment. Furthermore, the interconnection of networks of different countries is complicated by this.

GSM, for the first time, set a common standard for Europe for wireless networks, which has also been adopted by many countries outside Europe. This is the main reason why subscribers can roam in GSM networks across the world that have roaming agreements with each other. The common standard also substantially reduces research and development costs as hardware and software can now be sold worldwide with only minor adaptations for the local market. The European Telecommunication Standards Institute (ETSI), ...

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