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Leading LTE Operators are Ramping for VoLTE, Edging Up IMS Deployments

January 02, 2014

A new report from ABI Research (News - Alert) forecasts that IMS Core Network deployments are beginning to move ahead. These findings come from a report entitled “IMS, RCS & VoIP,” which is part of the Telco API Research Service.

According to this information, as the leading LTE operators put the necessary infrastructure in place along with added capacity, deployments are edging up. This is leading the way for the planned 2014 Voice over LTE (VoLTE) launch.

The IP Multimedia Subsystem (News - Alert) or IP Multimedia Core Network Subsystem (IMS) is an architectural framework designed to deliver IP multimedia services. It was originally designed by the wireless standards body 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP). The goal was to evolve mobile networks beyond GSM. This vision was later updated by 3GPP, 3GPP2 and ETSI (News - Alert) TISPAN by requiring support of networks other than GPRS, such as Wireless LAN, CDMA2000 and fixed lines.

ABI’s research shows that spending for VoLTE could reach the $4 billion mark by 2017. This including spending for the core network products such as, HSS, CSC (News - Alert), Media Controllers and Gateways, MSF, IBCF, SBC and P-CSCF.

The expectation is that North America will peak first. It will peak sometime between 2015 and 2016. This is because North America is the leading LTE market. The largest market is Asia-Pacific. As the report states, this region shows continued growth into the foreseeable future.

Another field that is seen as a growth area is virtualization. Due to the fact that the IMS solution is delivered on x86 architecture and works on bare metal or virtualized platforms, it leads to virtualization becoming more widespread.

Joe Hoffman (News - Alert), ABI’s research director, feels that “We see increasing IMS Core Network revenues through 2017, after which IMS revenues will flatten and reflect capacity expansion.” Hoffman goes on to say, “Many operators will take a wait-and-see attitude as they already have 3G and CSFB for voice, but they will quickly comprehend the monetization advantage with 4G and Voice and adjust their strategies.”

His last comments reflect the fact that while the IMS driver is VoLTE, operators will also find competitive advantage with a standardized, network-integrated solution that can also deliver superior user experience for WebRTC and OTT services under network congestion.

The in-depth analysis and quantitative forecasting conducted by ABI Research shows that the whole world is moving towards an all IP world. The standard migration path that this will take is through 4G, IMS and VoLTE.

Edited by Cassandra Tucker

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