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Measuring Multi-Carrier Cellular Access roaming performance measurement

Universidad Carlos III de Madrid and Telefónica Research

Northwestern University

Multi-Carrier Cellular Access (MCCA)allows cellular users to dynamically connect to different cellular networks without switching their SIM card. There are a number of advantages that can be realized through MCCA. MCCA users can improve coverage and performance, combining measurement-based dynamic carrier selection and predefined preferences on radio access technology use (3G, 4G, 5G, wifi), irrespectively of which carrier is offering it a particular location. There are several commercial services already offering MCCA services, including Apple SIM, Huawei Skytone, Xiaomi MI Roaming and Google Fi.

While MCCA services are becoming increasingly popular, little is known about their technical intricacies beyond what is described in their commercial offers. To date, there is no quantitative-based analysis of the relative performance benefits of MCCA services compared to traditional services. In particular, there is no information about MCCA performance while roaming, which is one of the key selling points of several of these offers.

The goal of the project is to characterize the performance of MCCA services while roaming. We will collect quantitative information to help us understand the benefits and downsides of MCCA service when used abroad. We will focus our analysis to clients from MCCA operators in the US that are roaming in the EU and investigate how their performance compares to both traditional US carriers while roaming and local EU carriers while providing local services in the visited network.

The 30-months project will push the Next Generation Internet a step further by providing cascade funding to EU-based researchers and innovators in carrying out Next Generation Internet related experiments in collaboration with US research teams.

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