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UN Insider: Convergence

IMS and convergence pose challenges for network operators, finds Unstrung Insider Report

November 16, 2005

3 Min Read

NEW YORK, November 16, 2005 – The implementation of the IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) in mobile networks could play a vital role in the creation of new mobile applications, but operators face a steep learning curve developing the skill-sets and processes required to turn this technology into profitable, revenue-generating services, finds a new report from the subscription research service Unstrung Insider.

The report, entitled Fixed/Mobile Convergence, UMA, and IMS: An Unstrung Reality Check, examines the stepwise migration to fully IMS-enabled mobile core networks, with analysis of interim approaches to fixed/mobile convergence and a unified services layer. It includes analysis of the positions of major vendors in the IMS systems market, with data on contract awards and operator deployment schedules.

According to the report, the immaturity of IMS belies its promise of delivering a reusable architecture suitable for fast service creation.

"IMS is often pitched as a way to accelerate the introduction of new, rich-media services," says Unstrung Insider analyst Gabriel Brown, the author of the report. "But this presents an organizational challenge for mobile operators typically focused on delivering voice and text bundles over circuit-switched networks.

"Operators know they need to adapt their skill-sets and operating practices to take advantage of IMS, and that they will need to rely on vendor integration services to make this happen on a reasonable timeline," Brown continues.

Among the report's key findings:

  • Ericsson claims the most IMS contract wins to date, spread across wireline and wireless operators. Siemens, Nokia, Lucent, and Alcatel are challenging hard, while Nokia holds an edge in the wireless-specific market.

  • As convergence takes off, top vendors are working with innovative startups to fill gaps in their "pre-IMS" portfolios, but many of these relationships remain opportunistic. This report profiles the private vendors that, arguably, offer operators a faster and cleaner implementation of fixed/mobile convergence.

  • Momentum behind Unlicensed Mobile Access (UMA) ensures it will emerge as the initial mechanism for fixed/mobile convergence. Commitment to the approach from major operators, attracted by its simplicity, is building rapidly.

  • TeliaSonera, Cingular, and T-Mobile USA could launch UMA services before the end of 2005, say sources – although the first half of 2006 is seen as more realistic.

  • A blend of UMA and IMS will prove attractive. The first such combinational service could be "simultaneous ring," whereby the network registers your presence on your "home" wireless LAN and rings your home phone and mobile phone at the same time.

  • Gateways to link "classic" intelligent network services and charging mechanisms with the SIP/IP world are crucial for a stepwise migration to IMS.

Publicly-held equipment providers covered in this report: Alcatel (NYSE: ALA; Paris: CGEP:PA); Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERICY); Lucent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: LU); Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT); Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK); Nortel Networks Ltd. (NYSE/Toronto: NT); and Siemens AG (NYSE: SI; Frankfurt: SIE).

Privately-held equipment providers profiled in this report: Azaire Networks Inc.; BridgePort Networks Inc.; Convergin Inc.; Kineto Wireless Inc.; NewStep Networks Inc.; Outsmart Ltd.; Persona Software Inc.; and Stoke Inc.

Fixed/Mobile Convergence, UMA, and IMS: An Unstrung Reality Check is available as part of an annual subscription (12 monthly issues) to Unstrung Insider, priced at $1,350. Individual reports are available for $900. To subscribe, please visit: www.unstrung.com/insider.

For additional information, to request a free executive summary of the report, or for details of multi-user licensing options, please contact:

Jeff Claudino
Sales Manager
Insider Research Services
[email protected]

For press inquiries, members of the media may contact Gabriel Brown at [email protected].

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