GB2380361A - Telecommunications services apparatus - Google Patents

Telecommunications services apparatus Download PDF

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Publication number
GB2380361A
GB2380361A GB0216112A GB0216112A GB2380361A GB 2380361 A GB2380361 A GB 2380361A GB 0216112 A GB0216112 A GB 0216112A GB 0216112 A GB0216112 A GB 0216112A GB 2380361 A GB2380361 A GB 2380361A
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Prior art keywords
lt
message
number
sms
sep
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GB0216112A
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GB0216112D0 (en )
GB2380361B (en )
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Jeffrey Wilson
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Intellprop Ltd
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Intellprop Ltd
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Classifications

    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04WWIRELESS COMMUNICATIONS NETWORKS
    • H04W4/00Services specially adapted for wireless communication networks; Facilities therefor
    • H04W4/12Messaging; Mailboxes; Announcements
    • H04W4/14Short messaging services, e.g. short message services [SMS] or unstructured supplementary service data [USSD]
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04WWIRELESS COMMUNICATIONS NETWORKS
    • H04W88/00Devices specially adapted for wireless communication networks, e.g. terminals, base stations or access point devices
    • H04W88/18Service support; Network management devices
    • H04W88/184Messaging devices, e.g. message centre

Abstract

In a text messaging system, a plurality of different telephone numbers are assigned to a message receiving destination, such as an SMS host 5. Means such as a host interface 4 recognises when a telephone number associated with a message from the SMSC 3 is one of the plurality of telephone numbers and identifies the message as being intended for that SMS host. In voting applications the use of a plurality of telephone numbers allows high throughput of messages. The delay caused by waiting for an acknowledgement from the host, before sending a subsequent message is avoided. An SMS router 6 may diversify a destination number by mapping a single number to one of a range of numbers. Reverse mapping is done at the host interface 4. Diversification may be done at the mobile phone handset. Alternatively different numbers may be advertised in different areas.

Description

<Desc/Clms Page number 1>

TELECOMMUNICATIONS SERVICES APPARATUS This invention relates to a telecommunications services apparatus for use with a mobile telephone messaging system, such as one operable to provide the Short Message Service (SMS) according to the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM).

Many networks currently support attached equipments known as SMS Hosts which can send and receive short messages. SMS Hosts are usually third party equipments attached by communication links to the Short Message Service Centres (SMSCs) of a mobile telephone network. The SMS Hosts can receive messages from any mobile phone on any compatible network by means of an MSISDN number, or number range, so that the Host appears to the sending network and any intervening networks to behave as a normal Mobile Station (MS) destination for a short message. When the message is received by the destination mobile telephone network, it is routed to its appropriate Host, rather than to a mobile.

Currently, there is a problem for the mobile operator providing SMS Host capability, as a result of the way that the GSM system is specified. When a short message is sent to Operator A's SMS Host by a mobile subscriber of Operator A, the message normally first travels to the SMSC of Operator A's network. This SMSC determines the subsequent routing information by querying a home location register (HLR) in Operator A's network, and then delivers the message. However for a voting application and for similar applications, Operator A's SMSC will receive very many short messages for delivery to the same MSISDN destination number. The GSM specification mandates that an SMSC shall not attempt to deliver a second short message to the same number until the previous message has been acknowledged. For properly implemented SMSCs this severely limits the throughput of messages to a given SMS Host. The GSM specification also mandates that two messages shall not be delivered to the same destination number with the same timestamp. Since the resolution is one second, this potentially limits throughput to an SMS Host to one message per second per MSISDN, although some SMSCs may advance the clock.

<Desc/Clms Page number 2>

<img class="EMIRef" id="024171161-00020001" />

This leads to three problems. Firstly, if delivery can only be effected at a low rate, the bursty high loading which can result, for example, from a typical voting application can lead to a backlog of messages in Operator A's SMSC, and this backlog can stress the limited resources of the SMSC and may affect other SMS traffic in Operator A's network. Secondly, the backlog effect can prevent the messages from arriving at the SMS Host in a timely fashion. For a voting type event this may unduly limit the number of votes that can be collected, and it is possible that many of the messages still will not have been delivered after the event has finished. Finally, this makes timely interaction with the senders (e. g. for solicitation of a second vote) impossible, and hence reduces possible revenues.

SMS Hosts are usually connected to a mobile network via the SMSC, using one of a number of standard protocols. Many networks support the reception and transmission of large quantities of short messages by attached SMS Hosts.

It is also known that methods exist for accessing these SMS Hosts from other networks, albeit with the throughput restrictions described above. These methods overcome earlier addressing limitations by assigning the SMS Hosts a range of mobile telephone numbers so that messages can be addressed to them as though they were mobile handsets. This permits access to the SMS Hosts from any mobile network.

The functionality and operation of home location registers (HLRs) in modem mobile networks is well described by the international standards. Although HLRs may implement proprietary features, the signalling messages which are required to support short message reception and transmission are fully defined. Hence also the signalling traffic which results from particular patterns of short message traffic is also quantifiable.

It is also known that HLR and SMSC functionality can be divided amongst multiple physical equipments. These equipments are normally geographically diverse.

<Desc/Clms Page number 3>

Signalling messages can be routed within a network using Signalling Transfer Points (STPs). These have the capabilities to direct messages to preferred or secondary destinations according to an addressing scheme which uses Global Titles. The MSISDN of the destination mobile telephone or SMS Host has been used as the Global Title for routing short messages. By manipulating the look-up tables within STPs or Global Title Translators it is possible to control the routing of signalling messages through a network, or to compensate for non availability of a signalling destination by using secondary or tertiary routing addresses. Global titles can also be assigned to groups of equipments, with STPs used to distribute messages to that title amongst the equipments.

Additional equipments can be placed in a network to intercept certain types of signalling message in order to reduce the loading on the network's HLRs. For example, equipments could preferably be placed at network interconnect points, operable to intercept the"Send Routing Information for Short Message" (SRI-SM) message, which is sent between the SMSC in the source network and the HLR in the destination network, in certain cases to provide the response"Routing Information for Short Message", and in other cases to pass the SRI-SM messages transparently on to the HLR in the destination network. These equipments can also handle SRI messages and their responses associated with voice calls to host telephone numbers arising from other networks. Such interception of SRI and SRI-SM messages can reduce the load on the destination network's HLRs.

In some existing cases, an SMS Host attached to an Operator A's networks can be responsible for massive levels of SMS traffic and this traffic tends to be peaky in nature. Examples include televoting and competitions stimulated by television programmes. An aim of the invention is to remove a major bottleneck in the delivery mechanism at Operator A's SMSCs.

Figure I shows a block diagram of the network of Operator A, showing the route of short messages between mobile stations (MS) I and an SMS Host 5, and shows the network configuration prior to implementation of the invention. The message routing

<Desc/Clms Page number 4>

runs from the MS 1 to the mobile switching centre (MSC) 2, then to the short message service centre (SMSC) 3, then to the Host Interface 4, and finally to the Host 5.

When a short message is sent from one of Operator A's subscribers to an SMS Host on Operator A's network, the message arrives at the SMSC 3 in Operator A's network. After delivering the message, a properly implemented SMSC must wait until the delivery has been acknowledged by the SMS Host 5 before sending another to the same SMS Host. This leads to the bottleneck at Operator A's SMSC 3, because the link between the SMSC 3 and the Host Interface 4 is only allowed to support one message at a time to any given SMS Host MSISDN number.

According to one aspect of the invention there is provided telecommunications services apparatus for use with a mobile telephone messaging system in which a message forwarding means is operable to receive messages intended for a message receiving destination, processing of the messages by the message forwarding means being dependent on a destination telephone number of the intended message receiving destination, and wherein a respective plurality of different telephone numbers are assigned to the or each message receiving destination so as to improve message processing by the message forwarding means, the apparatus comprising means for recognising when a telephone number associated with a message from the message forwarding means is one of the plurality of different telephone numbers so as to identify the associated message as being intended for the respective message receiving destination.

According to another aspect of the invention there is provided a telecommunications services method for a mobile telephone messaging system, in which a message forwarding means is operable to receive messages intended for a message receiving destination, processing of the messages by the message forwarding means being dependent on a destination telephone number of the intended message receiving destination, the method comprising assigning a respective plurality of different telephone numbers to the or each message receiving destination so as to improve message processing by the message forwarding means, and recognising when a

<Desc/Clms Page number 5>

telephone number associated with a message from the message forwarding means is one of the plurality of different telephone numbers so as to identify the associated message as being intended for the respective message receiving destination.

A preferred embodiment of this invention permits significantly increased throughput of short message transmissions to an SMS Host from subscribers of the'Home network'i. e. the network to which the SMS Host is attached. This is an important revenue-generating application for SMS, which is being used increasingly for applications such as voting and premium services. It can also be used to increase throughput from other networks.

Embodiments of this invention may provide a solution to the above-described problems, that can be implemented simply in one operator's network, and which allow the delivery rate through that operator's SMSCs to be significantly speeded up. In a similar manner, throughput from other networks can be increased by utilising similar techniques in the other networks.

UK Patent Application No. 0129618.5 describes a different solution to the problem described above, whereby certain signalling messages directed at one operator's HLR are intercepted and modified. The present technique differs by being implemented in existing equipment for routing or grooming short messages that is already provided in the network. This equipment already has access to the entire contents of the short message, and so means for solving the problem which do not resort to interception of signalling messages are appropriate.

The invention will now be described by way of example with reference to the accompanying drawings, throughout which like parts are referred to by like references, and in which: Figure I is a block diagram of the existing routing of short messages to an SMS Host;

<Desc/Clms Page number 6>

Figure 2 is a block diagram of diversified routing of short messages to an SMS Host utilising diversification of MSISDNs into the SMSC, according to one embodiment of the invention; and Figure 3 is a pictorial representation of the diversification process.

The technique described here works, in accordance with an embodiment of the invention and as shown in Figure 2, by diversifying the destination MSISDN number prior to the arrival of the short message at the SMSC 3. This implementation is particularly appropriate for networks which already have, or are planning to have, equipment between the MSC 2 and the SMSC 3, for example for grooming or routing short messages within the network. In this case a minor modification to this equipment may be arranged to implement the technique, with no change required to the SMSC 3 or any other part of the network. For networks which are not planned to have any intervening equipment between the MSC 2 and the SMSC 3, a software modification to the SMSC 3 may be a more appropriate solution to avoid the bottleneck problem described.

The MSISDN diversification that circumvents the bottleneck in the SMSC works for example as follows. Figure 2 shows the network block diagram, similar to that of Figure <RTI>1</RTI> but with the addition of intervening equipment, in this example an SMS router 6, between the MSC 2 and the SMSC 3, and the MSISDN diversification is implemented therein.

In operation, a short message is sent by a subscriber of Operator A's network. This is sent as <RTI>a"MOforwardSM"Mobile</RTI> Originated Short Message from an MS <RTI>1</RTI> to the Operator A's SMSC 3. The User Information part of the short message contains the destination mobile station ISDN (MSISDN) number for the message which in this case corresponds to one of Operator A's SMS Hosts. The SMS router 6 diversifies this destination number using a reversible algorithm, so that the original single destination MSISDN is mapped to one of a range of MSISDNs which are made available for this purpose. The reverse mapping may be achieved in the Host interface 4 if desired, or

<Desc/Clms Page number 7>

alternatively the mapped numbers may be transmitted right through to the SMS Host 5. The effect of the mapping is that the SMSC 3 receives a significantly reduced number of messages for any given destination number, and hence the bottleneck effect caused by the GSM specification described is correspondingly reduced. Consequently the short message throughput to the SMS Host 5 is increased for subscribers of Operator A's network.

There are many ways to implement such a mapping. The main requirement is that a single number should be translated to one of a range of numbers. One way to do this would be to allocate a range of, for example, 10000 numbers to SMS Host <img class="EMIRef" id="024171161-00070001" />

applications, such as Zxxjrc, where xxx oxy are fixed, and abcd are variable and provide the 10000 numbers. Now if only 1000 of these numbers are advertised to subscribers, e. g. the range pbcd where p is fixed, then the remaining 9000 numbers are available for implementation of this technique. The diversity may now be implemented in the SMS router 6 by substituting the digit p by a digit in the range <RTI>0</RTI> to <RTI>9,</RTI> either cyclically or randomly, or by some other arrangement. This'diversifies'numbers of the form <RTI>07xxx yypbed</RTI> into <RTI>07xxx</RTI> <RTI>yyabcd</RTI> where abed are all variable, thereby reducing by a factor of ten the rate of messages traversing the SMSC with the same destination number. The diversification factor in this example is ten, but any factor could be chosen according to the degree of throughput improvement that is required.

Figure 3 shows pictorially an example of diversification in a televised event, where subscribers are invited to submit a vote. In this example, one million voters send a vote to the MSISDN 07123 004567. The diagram shows how the diversification step translates this number into a range of ten numbers that then pass through the SMSC 3.

Any procedure that expands the range of the destination numbers passing through the SMSC can be used to implement this invention.

The reverse mapping may be implemented if desired prior to the message being delivered to the SMS Host 5. For example some networks implement a'Foreign Subscriber'equipment which receives SMS Host traffic arriving from other networks

<Desc/Clms Page number 8>

as well as traffic from the home network. This is shown generically in the diagrams as the Host Interface 4. This equipment would be an ideal place to implement the reverse mapping if desired. The reverse mapping may be a very simple operation, for example in the case shown above, all numbers of the form <RTI>07xxx</RTI> <RTI>yyabcd</RTI> would be mapped to <RTI>07xxx yypbcd.</RTI>

The invention is also applicable to solving the same SMSC bottleneck problem in other networks. Due to revenue sharing arrangements, it is to the advantage of both the Host network and the other participating networks that as many short messages as possible are carried during any SMS Host event. Customer satisfaction will also be improved by a reduction in message-sending failures.

One way in which this may be achieved is that Operator A, the network which is connected to the SMS Host, may publish to all the other networks a range of MSISDN numbers which it will accept as valid aliases for any single SMS Host number. The other networks may then implement, by any method of their choosing, a form of the present invention that permits the single Host number to be diversified into the published range of MSISDN numbers (or a subset thereof) in order to reduce the SMSC bottleneck. This may be by implementation of an SMS routing or grooming system, or by addition of a feature to their MSCs that allow certain numbers to be treated specially, or by another method. It is not necessary for other networks to implement a diversity-reversal process, since this is provided, if at all, by Operator A's network.

A staged implementation of the invention is possible in Operator A's network or in another network, in order to minimise the effect of changes made to that network. For example, MSISDN diversity could be initially introduced by operational rather than technical means. One way to do this would be to advertise different MSISDN numbers in different geographical areas. For example, for a televised competition where viewers were to be invited to send their entry by SMS to an MSISDN number presented on-screen, the MSISDN number could differ in each television area (e. g. by <RTI>the one digit a as described above. ) This would provide the necessary number diversity</RTI>

<Desc/Clms Page number 9>

to reduce the effect of a bottleneck in the SMSCs. Reverse mapping could be implemented if desired in the Host Interface 4 as described (such that variable digit a is mapped to fixed <RTI>digitp).</RTI>

As a second stage in the process, a technical implementation could be introduced as described, where the MSISDN diversity is introduced at the SMS router 6. This would then allow the same number to be advertised to all subscribers, avoiding the need for managing subscriber segmentation.

A further stage in avoidance of the bottleneck problem in the SMSC 3 would be to allow the SMS router 6 to groom off some or all of the SMS Host traffic, to allow it to be delivered directly to the SMS Hosts bypassing the SMSCs. For example, contract and pre-pay customers could be handled by different routes. The billing functions of the SMSC 3 could then be supplanted by other means, preferably using logs recorded by the SMS router 6.

It would also be possible to extend the use of this technique to include the use of short codes either by subscribers of the SMS Host network, or by all subscribers of networks that have agreed such use with the SMS Host network.

The diversification is preferably done independently per SMSC in the case where an operator has more than one SMSC.

The diversification could also be introduced at the handset, for example by a SIM Toolkit application.

Whereas the invention has been described in the context of SMS text messaging systems, it could alternatively be applied to other such messaging systems, for example enhanced messaging services (EMS), multimedia messaging services (MMS) and the like.

<Desc/Clms Page number 10>

GLOSSARY <img class="EMIRef" id="024171161-00100001" />

<tb> <tb> SMS <SEP> Short <SEP> Message <SEP> Service <SEP> of <SEP> the <SEP> GSM <SEP> mobile <tb> telephone <SEP> system <tb> PLMN <SEP> Public <SEP> Land <SEP> Mobile <SEP> Network <tb> SMS <SEP> Host <SEP> A <SEP> Short <SEP> Message <SEP> Service <SEP> Entity <SEP> (SMSE) <tb> equipment <SEP> for <SEP> sourcing <SEP> and <SEP> sinking <SEP> Short <tb> Messages <SEP> for <SEP> specific <SEP> applications <tb> SMS <SEP> Router <SEP> An <SEP> Equipment <SEP> which <SEP> embodies <SEP> the <SEP> invention <tb> and <SEP> filters <SEP> and <SEP> responds <SEP> to <SEP> certain <SEP> signalling <tb> messages. <SEP> implements <SEP> number <SEP> mappings <SEP> in <tb> addition <SEP> to <SEP> other <SEP> functions <tb> HLR <SEP> Home <SEP> Location <SEP> Register <tb>

Claims (16)

1. Telecommunications services apparatus for use with a mobile telephone messaging system in which a message forwarding means is operable to receive messages intended for a message receiving destination, processing of the messages by the message forwarding means being dependent on a destination telephone number of the intended message receiving destination, and wherein a respective plurality of different telephone numbers are assigned to the or each message receiving destination so as to improve message processing by the message forwarding means, the apparatus comprising means for recognising when a telephone number associated with a message from the message forwarding means is one of the plurality of different telephone numbers so as to identify the associated message as being intended for the respective message receiving destination.
2. Apparatus according to claim 1, including number allocating means responsive to input of a message with associated destination telephone number to replace that telephone number with one of the respective plurality of different telephone numbers, and to send the message with the different telephone number to the message forwarding means.
3. Apparatus according to claim 2, wherein the number allocating means comprises a message router within the messaging system.
4. Apparatus according to claim 2, wherein the number allocating means is within a subscriber's mobile station, such that the different telephone number is allocated therein and transmitted with the message from the mobile station.
5. Apparatus according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the or each message receiving destination is a respective host.
<Desc/Clms Page number 12>
6. Apparatus according to claim 5, comprising a host interface operable to convert the allocated one of the or each plurality of respective telephone numbers in reverse mapping manner into the respective destination telephone number associated with that host.
7. Apparatus according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the mobile telephone messaging system is a text messaging system.
8. Apparatus according to claim 7, wherein the mobile telephone messaging system is operable to send short message service (SMS) text messages.
9. Apparatus according to claim 8, wherein the message forwarding means comprises a short message service centre (SMSC).
10. Apparatus according to claim 9, wherein, when a network operator has more than one SMSC, the allocation of the different telephone numbers is performed independently for each SMSC.
11. Telecommunications services apparatus substantially as herein described with reference to and as illustrated in Figure 2 and/or Figure 3 of the accompanying drawings.
12. A telecommunications services method for a mobile telephone messaging system, in which a message forwarding means is operable to receive messages intended for a message receiving destination, processing of the messages by the message forwarding means being dependent on a destination telephone number of the intended message receiving destination, the method comprising assigning a respective plurality of different telephone numbers to the or each message receiving destination so as to improve message processing by the message forwarding means, and recognising when a telephone number associated with a message from the message forwarding means is one of the
<Desc/Clms Page number 13>
plurality of different telephone numbers so as to identify the associated message as being intended for the respective message receiving destination.
13. A method according to claim 12, wherein a number allocating means is responsive to input of a message with associated destination telephone number to replace that telephone number with one of the respective plurality of different telephone numbers, and to send the message with the different telephone number to the message forwarding means.
14. A method according to claim 13, wherein the allocation of the one of the respective plurality of telephone numbers is performed by a message router within the messaging system.
15. A method according to claim 13, wherein the allocation of the one of the respective plurality of telephone numbers is performed within a subscriber's mobile station, such that the different telephone number is transmitted with the message from the mobile station.
16. A telecommunications services method substantially as herein described with reference to and as illustrated in Figure 2 and/or Figure 3 of the accompanying drawings.
GB0216112A 2002-01-04 2002-07-11 Telecommunications services apparatus Expired - Fee Related GB2380361B (en)

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Cited By (3)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
GB2385241A (en) * 2001-12-12 2003-08-13 Intellprop Ltd Use of multiple addresses for receiving messages at a mobile telephone host
DE10324636A1 (en) * 2003-05-28 2004-12-30 Vodafone Holding Gmbh A method for relaying data in unavailability of a mobile station
FR2950506A1 (en) * 2009-09-18 2011-03-25 Alcatel Lucent parental control of the use of a mobile terminal

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WO1998031163A2 (en) * 1997-01-11 1998-07-16 Tandem Computers, Incorporated Method and apparatus for implementing alias mobile id numbers in a mobile telephone system
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WO2001078345A1 (en) * 2000-04-07 2001-10-18 Cool 123 Limited Interactive marketing system

Patent Citations (5)

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Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US5371781A (en) * 1993-09-30 1994-12-06 At&T Corp. System and method for identifying the incoming directory number when multiple directory numbers are assigned to one wireless device
US5675507A (en) * 1995-04-28 1997-10-07 Bobo, Ii; Charles R. Message storage and delivery system
US5983095A (en) * 1996-07-26 1999-11-09 Telefonaktiebolaget Lm Ericsson (Publ) System and method of calling a single mobile telephone through multiple directory numbers in a radio telecommunications network
WO1998031163A2 (en) * 1997-01-11 1998-07-16 Tandem Computers, Incorporated Method and apparatus for implementing alias mobile id numbers in a mobile telephone system
WO2001078345A1 (en) * 2000-04-07 2001-10-18 Cool 123 Limited Interactive marketing system

Cited By (5)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
GB2385241A (en) * 2001-12-12 2003-08-13 Intellprop Ltd Use of multiple addresses for receiving messages at a mobile telephone host
GB2385241B (en) * 2001-12-12 2005-10-26 Intellprop Ltd Telecommunications services apparatus
DE10324636A1 (en) * 2003-05-28 2004-12-30 Vodafone Holding Gmbh A method for relaying data in unavailability of a mobile station
FR2950506A1 (en) * 2009-09-18 2011-03-25 Alcatel Lucent parental control of the use of a mobile terminal
EP2299667A3 (en) * 2009-09-18 2013-07-24 Alcatel Lucent Parental control of a mobile terminal

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GB0200143D0 (en) 2002-02-20 grant
GB0216112D0 (en) 2002-08-21 grant
GB2380361B (en) 2005-09-14 grant

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Effective date: 20140711