Network operators look for agile, flexible platforms to enable transformations at their own pace that suit their customers’ needs
Making a move to IP multimedia subsystem (IMS) has the potential to deliver significant benefits to service providers but migration can be complex and some barriers to deployment seem insurmountable for some service providers. These explain why adoption of IMS has been slower than expected and mainly focused on the consumer sector. Service providers, in general, have been cautious of the implementation effort needed, the inter-working demands between different networks and costly infrastructure upgrades that can take years to complete.
While service providers have been assessing how to handle these challenges, the situation has been compounded by continuing uptake of over-the-top (OTT) services which have arrived and offered service providers an apparently quicker route to revenue. OTT services also bring their own issues such as service providers losing control or ending up having to carry significant amounts of traffic without charge. OTT propositions also suffer from loss of service continuity when transitioning to GSM networks which impacts their attraction to users and their revenue generation capability.
With IMS demanding long-term, deep commitment and OTT offering uncertain repercussions, network operators are faced with the unappealing choice of sticking with what they already have or committing to OTT or IMS approaches. Neither excludes the other and it is possible to adopt IMS in a limited way to enable greater control and to pace the transition. Some providers have, for example, chosen to adopt IMS for some consumer services while staying with their existing network for others. This staged migration makes sense because it avoids the business disruption of a forklift upgrade and presents a less risky strategy in which it is simpler and safer to explore the benefits of IMS.
This hybrid or partial IMS approach makes sense at the early stage of network transformation but can result in adding complexity as services and network operators traverse IMS and non-IMS environments. Mitigating the complexity can be achieved by adopting platforms that enable services to be support in either environment. Enreach’s fully-IMS-compliant unified communications platform, for example, is able to plug into any existing infrastructure so service providers can deliver value-added services while continuing their transition to full IMS.
That’s a journey that can take years so being able to support non-IMS and IMS infrastructure is essential to ensure network operators are not forced in any specific direction and have the flexibility to execute on their strategies. Enreach offers an agile approach that can become a catalyst for portfolio transformation by enabling operational simplicity with the end user experience in mind. The company’s offerings focus on providing simplified transformation paths, regardless of the approach and requirements that a service provider takes.
The Enreach UP platform, for example, provides a bridge between fixed and mobile networks, drawing on the group’s experience with fixed mobile convergence (FMC) service providers for more than a decade. Through sister company, Summa Networks, Enreach offers 5G-ready subscriber data management (SDM) software with existing IMS customers, demonstrating how Enreach UP can provide an ideal route for service providers wanting to expand their mobile services or explore FMC propositions.
Regardless of where a service provider is on its journey to IMS, Enreach’s adaptable approach means more value-added services can be introduced to gauge their success but this can be done in controlled way that reduces risk for the service provider. IMS has its challenges but they can be overcome by transition options such as the Enreach UP platform.
This blog was published on UC Today