SBC Jumps on Lucent IMS Bandwagon

SBC Communications Inc. (NYSE: SBC) is the latest carrier to line up for Lucent Technologies Inc.'s (NYSE: LU) IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem) solutions. The carrier says it will roll out convergence applications based on an IMS architecture by the end of 2006. (See SBC Picks Lucent's IMS .)

The announcement comes just a day after Cingular Wireless LLC -- the mobile operator part-owned by SBC -- said that it will use Lucent's kit to implement IMS. (See Cingular Picks Lucent for IMS). This leads analysts to suggest that Cingular's other parent, BellSouth Corp. (NYSE: BLS), will soon follow suit and announce that it has jumped on the Lucent IMS bandwagon any day now.

"We continue to believe LU won the IMS deal at BLS," says UBS Research's Nikos Theodosopoulos in a note on the Cingular deal.

A spokesman for BellSouth declined to comment on a potential deal with Lucent but didn't deny the possibilty when asked.

"We work closely with our partners," Joe Chandler, BellSouth's director of media relations told Unstrung. "It may well turn out to be the case, but we have not made any announcements, and obviously, I'm not saying we are."

Interoperability could be a key reason for chosing a single supplier for early IMS deployements. IP Multimedia Subsystems are ostensively standardized architecture, but -- since the systems are so new -- it is not yet clear how much interoperability testing has been done on transferring data, video, and voice services across the cellular, WiFi, and wired network elements.

SBC plans to deploy IMS services at the end of 2006 under the "Project Lightspeed" umbrella, which will integrate IP voice, video, and data services, starting in 2005. Anticipated IMS-based services include:

  • Find me, follow me: This lets a customer determine how an incoming call will be routed if her phone is busy or she is in a meeting. The customer can enter up to three numbers, with voice mail the fallback if the call is unanswered at all three locations.
  • Address book sharing: Sharing of common address books across devices, so a user only has to enter a phone number or address once rather than in each device.

  • On-screen Caller ID: Allowing incoming calls to appear on the SBC U-verse TV service.

  • Multinetwork connectivity: Allows customers to seamlessly switch voice and data connectivity across networks. For example, a customer can begin a voice conversation while in his car, using the cellular network. As he pulls into his driveway, the call is automatically switched to his WiFi home network.
SBC won't yet comment on which services will be rolled out initially, but it is clear that the operator is working in conjunction with Cingular to get fixed/wireless convergence capabilities in place as soon as possible.

Cingular announced today that it has launched its high-speed downlink packet access (HSDPA) 3G network upgrade in selected markets in the U.S. HSDPA and its CDMA equivalent, EV-DO (evolution, data only), are considered by some industry commentators to be a key technical requirement for rolling out IMS services. (See IMS Taxes Mobile Voice.) This is because moving to pure IP services tends to put more of a strain on mobile networks than do cellular voice calls. (See Cingular HSDPA Goes Live.) — Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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DanJones 12/5/2012 | 2:57:01 AM
re: SBC Jumps on Lucent IMS Bandwagon So most of the analysts seem to think that these deals are bad news for Sonus. Do you think they're getting edged out here?

DanJones 12/5/2012 | 2:57:00 AM
re: SBC Jumps on Lucent IMS Bandwagon "NT should watch it's back at VZ as LU may be close to an IMS deal there as well."


If you have further info on this feel free to call me on 212 925 0020 x115 or email [email protected]

Dan Jones
Site Editor
allidia 12/5/2012 | 2:57:00 AM
re: SBC Jumps on Lucent IMS Bandwagon The SBC deal is pure IMS so SONS still has a shot as does LU/NT and ALA although the T network which uses SONS/NT and LU seems to favor SONS a bit more over the others. The Cingular deal is bad for them and TKLC as it implies LU will be providing switches as well as IMS in this particular application which gives LU the inside track to the C5 business. SONS will probably keep the C4 business but it's much smaller.

Logic would give LU the BLS deal for IMS and C5 switches as they are already handling the Enterprise side at BLS with the Accelerate products. Why should BLS go a different way. SONS or SI could get a small temporary piece.

NT should watch it's back at VZ as LU may be close to an IMS deal there as well. SONS is also barking for a piece of the C5 business as well.

SONS will get the crumbs IMO but that could be in the 10's of millions which isn't bad for a 600 person company.
ecipo 12/5/2012 | 2:56:59 AM
re: SBC Jumps on Lucent IMS Bandwagon Sorry for my question as I'm not an engineer, but is IMS and VoIP the same thing. If not, are those two applications using the same equipments or software.
Thanks in advance
DanJones 12/5/2012 | 2:56:58 AM
re: SBC Jumps on Lucent IMS Bandwagon Nope, VOIP is an IP-based service, IMS -- in theory, at least -- is the mechanism that enables such services. But I'm just a simple hack, I'm sure others have better definitions.

alchemy 12/5/2012 | 2:56:57 AM
re: SBC Jumps on Lucent IMS Bandwagon 2bits sez:
IMS is an architecture that ties together wireline VoIP, Wireless service, WLAN, and even video in a single network. As the article above says, you can have common address books across your services, multimedia services and the network knows you no matter how or where you log on. This marks a big disruption in how services are delivered.

IMS is an extremely complex and ponderous distributed SIP architecture that was designed to support cell phones. The number of discrete interfaces in the architecture and the complexity of those interfaces is really stunning. UDP isn't good enough for you? TCP isn't good enough for you? Then how about the SIGTRAN SCTP transport. Radius is too simple so we'll use Diameter. We'll then layer all kinds of XML schema on top of that. SIP is nice and simple and human readable until you feed it into the world's most fiendishly complex compression engine. Can you say "CPU cycles"? Sure you can. You have to kill a middling-sized forest to print out the 3GPP specs. This architecture was created by some huge companies to prevent any kind of innovation to create a simple and elegant solution to the problem. There are so many discrete components in the architecture that it will take a team of PhDs to debug it. Multivendor interoperability is completely unachievable since there are too many variations in the interfaces. You can't upgrade individual components in a live network without risking the whole shooting works tumbling down and this stuff is so complex that you'll never be able to properly simulate a real network in the lab. Things like wireless LAN connectivity and PC-based soft clients are very much works in progress.

This is the better mousetrap? Maybe so if you skip building most of the interfaces to knock out the worst of the complexity.
2bits 12/5/2012 | 2:56:57 AM
re: SBC Jumps on Lucent IMS Bandwagon VoIP on its own is a pretty one-dimensional service. Its a one-for-one replacement of our old POTS line (lacking some things like guaranteed powering and 911, but adding others like ability to move CPE anywhere without fuss).

IMS is an architecture that ties together wireline VoIP, Wireless service, WLAN, and even video in a single network. As the article above says, you can have common address books across your services, multimedia services and the network knows you no matter how or where you log on. This marks a big disruption in how services are delivered.
fgoldstein 12/5/2012 | 2:56:54 AM
re: SBC Jumps on Lucent IMS Bandwagon Brilliant summary, alchemy. Remember Rube Goldberg? If you took a few of his cartoons and printed them on transparencies, and layered them atop one another, you'd get something vaguely like IMS.

As I noted in another, obscure topic on LR recently, IMS seems to be the reincanation of the 1980s' European ISDN "Teleservices" push. That was a DOA plan to define services provided in the network by ISDN. Since the USA had Computer II in effect, it was strictly verboten here, and the Bells coudn't even talk about it, but the CCITT did all sorts of meaningless drivel about "telefax" and "mixed mode" and other teleservices that never got anywhere. I think that dated back to the super-strong monopolies of the PTTs in the 1970s, when some may have envisioned ISDN as a way to extend their monopolies from telephony into computing: If the network could compute, it would be illegal to compete with that, too! Of course reality dope-slapped them, and Europe now has a more open and competitive market than the USA. But this FCC seems to like the old Teleservices model that those radical commie leftist pinkos of the Reagan administration had prohibited.
voyce_overipee 12/5/2012 | 2:56:39 AM
re: SBC Jumps on Lucent IMS Bandwagon Alchemy your right it is crazy complex. Some of the complexity is by necessity and some by committee.

But i think you'll find that most of them aren't building to that complexity. by that i mean the IMS spec has 6 or so functional boxes just to get a call setup through the network to a gateway, but really they're built as 2 or 3 boxes. For example they integrate the P/I/S-CSCF into one box, and the media gateway controller and gateway functions into another.

SIP, by the way, is anything but nice and simple anymore - at least for real services. I love that you can read it, and i have my doubts about the need for sigcomp, but let's be honest about the protocol - it's the biggest ever in ietf history, to get it to provide basic business features requires implementing some of the numerous additional drafts or RFCs, to get it through a NAT the ietf way takes another set of protocols (stun/turn/ice), and to get it secure takes even more.

As for the other stuff it depends. I doubt SCTP will really be used by most. Diameter had to be used instead of radius for a lot of reasons - if you want me to list them i can. personally I think they went too far on where they used it, but radius was out of the question. So once they found a need for diameter in one spot, i guess they started cut/pasting.

ultimately it's not in the vendors best interest to have multivendor interop for some components. (anywhere they make both sides!) It's not in cisco's interest either for data networks. yes they have to play nice at borders, but if you want a full mpls core, you think they want you to have a vendor mix?
optical_man 12/5/2012 | 2:56:38 AM
re: SBC Jumps on Lucent IMS Bandwagon voyce_over_ipee,
You and the rest of the crowd are correct about IMS being an Evil Attempt to "Re-Proprieatarize" the world back to the control of Bell Labs (Lucent) and BNR (Nortel).

With NO other competitors in the market, and with LU and NT holding MAJORITY positions in the market and with regards to Intellectual Capacity, it is only a matter of time before they perfect IMS, and bring the World population to their knees......

Now, where did mini-Me get off to??
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