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Cooking Up Next-Generation Services

A few telcos have judged the timing right to introduce initial next-generation services, even if they don't actually call them that. And a few others are waiting until they think the time is right. In a way, the trend is like cooking: Mix the basic ingredients, figure out the timing, and serve. Heavy Reading's research shows there are six key ingredients:

  • Management commitment
  • Organizational flexibility
  • Partners
  • Applications platform deployment
  • NGN infrastructure deployment
  • Initial next-generation offers

When telco executives see the market need for next-gen services, they must commit to bringing them to market. Once they define their objective and the method for achieving it, they must clearly communicate it to their suppliers, employees, and customers. Customers must know what their telcos are bringing to market, the employees must be ready to create and sell it, and the suppliers have to make sure their hardware and software platforms can support their telco customer's objective.

The three telcos bringing initial next-gen services to the market are AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA), and Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ). Each of their services, in its own way, allows wired-to-mobile phone handoffs, while leveraging directories, policies, and four-digit dialing features originating on enterprise PBXs and running on network-resident servers.

Another group of cooks – Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT), Salt SA , and Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) – are getting ready to serve up some initial offers as well. Over the next 18 months, these telcos will add and subtract capabilities to better fit the new services to market requirements.

Getting that done in a fast, yet flexible manner means the carrier organizations must carry out their traditional responsibilities, but remain flexible enough to accommodate market changes, integrate acquisitions, and adapt to rapidly evolving customer demands. Additionally, the telcos must make sure hardware and software suppliers act as partners by designing and deploying the necessary capabilities in their applications platforms and next-gen infrastructure.

These and other carriers strive to align management and partner commitments while building more flexible organizations. At the same time, they will leverage their network infrastructures to make use of early IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) and service delivery platform (SDP) systems that are the hallmarks of next-generation networks. With these characteristics in place, they will have the ability to introduce and refine their initial next-generation offers.

— H. Paris Burstyn, Senior Analyst, Heavy Reading

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