ZTE Aims to Boost IMS

ZTE Corp. (Shenzhen: 000063; Hong Kong: 0763) is showing off technology that it believes will help carriers integrate disparate OSS systems, which in turn could help IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) applications come to life.

ZTE announced today that as part of the TM Forum "Catalyst Project," it demonstrated interoperability between its IMS and the TMF's New Generation Operations Systems and Software (NGOSS) framework. (See ZTE Integrates IMS, NGOSS.)

The idea was to show "how to apply NGOSS and IMS for network service management solutions," says Weijun Lee, vice president of Network Architecture of ZTE USA.

Carriers are trying to tie together network assets from various parts of their businesses -- including wireline, wireless, and broadband access. China Unicom Ltd. (NYSE: CHU) , for instance, has a mix of fixed and mobile networks, including a GSM network and a CDMA network throughout China, according to Lee.

But OSS is holding back those efforts. "The problem with most carriers is that they have either homegrown or many different OSS platforms," says Akshay Sharma, research director of Carrier Network Infrastructure at Gartner/Dataquest .

That makes it harder to roll out new services. NGOSS has the potential to bring those OSS systems together and fix that problem, which in turn could help IMS-based fixed and mobile services take off, Lee says.

For example, wider acceptance of NGOSS could enable the kind of "three-screen vision" that service providers like AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) are promoting. (See AT&T Shows Off IPTV Tricks.)

IMS could use the boost, it seems. "IMS has been a solution looking for a problem. It's a good framework, but it has had no application," Sharma says.

"If it's done right, you have to have an OSS with end-to-end QOS [quality of service], and a framework that is session-aware and subscriber-aware and policy-aware. Having a common OSS framework is a necessity."

ZTE's demonstration was sponsored by China Unicom and Chunghwa Telecom Co. Ltd. (NYSE: CHT), and showcased deployment, activation, and management of a video and telephony service that was made available over a range of devices, including Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) video phones and laptops.

As part of the demo, which took place in early November, ZTE's IMS products showed off interoperability with Amdocs Ltd. (NYSE: DOX) billing and CRM systems, as well as Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) Connected Service Framework for service activation. — Ryan Lawler, Reporter, Light Reading

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