It’s a familiar scene: no sooner has a plane touched down at an airport, then the chaotic sound of tens of mobile devices beeping and ringing kicks off. Calls are taken or made, and voicemails are played back.
The devices are from every known brand, and the users are a mix of locals, business travelers or tourists from all over the world speaking in many tongues - yet everything works, seamlessly. This is all down to the use of global cellular standards and interoperability across the different networks and wide variety of mobile devices.
It is standards that provide the special rules that enable mobile devices to talk to each other in the same language over a communications network. As long as the operator’s network infrastructure is standards based and the devices follow the same standard, thus understand that language, – then we have communication across all devices over that network. “Interoperability” is the term used in the industry - and it doesn’t happen by accident: All the industry players - the network equipment supplier, terminal chipset suppliers and network operators – commit to working together to ensure it works for all our customers, everywhere. This is the foundation for the mass market adoption of mobile communications.
Continuously, the telecommunications industry comes together to find new ways to better solve customers’ communications needs – and contribute these into a process that agrees formal global standards. All this happens in special industry groups that are set up for exactly that purpose. Once the standard specifications are approved, the next step is to bring these detailed specifications into chipsets that power our mobile devices. As part of this process, all parties put their equipment through rigorous and robust interoperability tests – which are also defined as part of the standardization process - to verify that the network equipments and terminals can connect and talk to each other in the lab - and of course in the real world. The continuous testing of function to comply with the standards speeds up the development of the commercial hardware and devices that bring the benefits of each new communications standard to our customers.