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VoIP Feature Article


December 22, 2005

IMS Standards Gaining Importance for Fixed and Mobile Carriers in Europe

Laura Stotler, TMCnet Contributing Editor

IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) standards are gaining importance in Europe as fixed and mobile carriers step up competition and strive to meet the requirements of end users. According to research firm Frost & Sullivan, the success of IP telephony services like Skype has brought about increased emphasis on standards based on the third generation partnership project (3GPP).
Frost & Sullivan Research Manager Jennifer Fruehauf believes the deployment of IMS will facilitate the offering of differentiated services, as well as lead to a reduction in application costs and increased revenues. By dividing the core network infrastructure and separating application and transport layers, all types of operators can achieve interoperability and roll out enhanced services more readily. IMS ensures SIP stacks are available on a number of devices like 3G components, and also readies applications for GPRS devices.
"IMS is a very exciting technology in the industry today, providing many different advantages and benefits", said Fruehauf. "At the same time, there are strong implications on carrier strategies, structures and market approaches, which must be taken into account when assessing the implementation of IMS technology."
IMS offers a standard for implementing a number of IP applications like instant messaging, presence and push-to-talk services. Frost & Sullivan believes future applications will likely be developed to address specific end-user segments, and that operators will succeed by entering into partnerships to address these specific needs.
New access technologies like WiMAX and DVB-H as well as broadcasting for mobile handsets will provide more opportunities to deliver a variety of services. While some early adopters have deployed PTT services on proprietary technologies, Frost & Sullivan believes these will gain short-term traction. But when IMS PTT succeeds as a standardized service, many operators will migrate to enable interoperability with the IMS infrastructure and associated devices.

"Voice is and will continue to remain the major telecommunications application in the foreseeable future," said Fruehauf. "While IMS technology contributes to application development and promises to move away from a 'siloed' approach, in the short term, it will require an additional silo that must be managed and supported. Moreover, the need to work with the existing circuit-switched infrastructure will also lead to additional expenses and hence, the degree of cost efficiency of the IMS technology cannot be accurately ascertained."

Laura Stotler writes about IP Communications and related topics for TMCnet. She has covered VoIP and related technologies for seven years, contributing to Internet Telephony magazine and TMCnet, and as a freelance writer. To see more articles, please visit: Laura Stotler’s columnist page.


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