Telecom wholesalers are stressed out. Voice wholesale minutes are now intensely competitive – and even potentially declining – due to a slowdown in growth of voice usage. As a result, voice wholesalers are looking to expand their business and innovate to continue thriving. IPX is an enabler for the revenue innovation that these voice wholesalers are looking for. Why? There are a few reasons for this.
But before we go into why IPX is the voice wholesalers’ key for revenue innovation, let’s first answer the question: What is an IPX? An IPX, or Internet Packet Exchange, is a privately managed network that is defined by the GSMA (News - Alert) over which service providers can offer network connectivity, and service interworking on a commercial and competitive basis. IPX can offer connectivity not only between mobile operators, but also fixed and converged service providers, cloud operators, and application service providers. In short, it’s the private connection hub for operators and service providers where they can also add new services.
So, back to our first question: Why is IPX the voice wholesalers’ key for revenue innovation, more connectivity, and more services?
First, with IPX there is inclusion with both the various GSMA networks (i.e. LTE (News - Alert), 3G) as well as what I like to call non-GSMA networks (i.e. cable networks, enterprise VPN networks, fixed line networks). With this comes opportunity because those other networks carry minutes. Being able to carry both types of networks means more minutes, which means more opportunities for revenue.
Secondly, voice over LTE minutes are starting to rise. VoLTE roaming and the conversion of HD voice codecs is an efficient way to usher the wholesale community toward additional revenue streams. Minutes from over-the-top apps, such as WhatsApp or Skype or Google (News - Alert) Hangouts, are also starting to rise as subscribers are using social media to make phone calls, or text pictures or short videos. So voice as a function of a greater social media application is generating minutes. Voice wholesalers (which carry VoLTE) were pitted against OTT apps for market share. But actually, with the IPX platforms, voice wholesalers are profiting from the different kinds of OTT traffic. The message here is that it’s important to evolve a network with different services to keep relevant with all types of traffic.
Cable voice minutes, which include voice over Wi-Fi and voice over IP minutes, are starting to rise as well. Voice over Wi-Fi is an integral part of an operator’s network strategy because it enables the operator to offer value-added services and keep from becoming just a dumb pipe. And enterprises are increasingly using VoIP and creating a mini-subscriber network. Any time these different voice networks need to go off-network (for example, if there is a surge of calls, and the network can’t handle all of them), there will be media transcoding and signaling interworking required. An IPX provider can offer the media and signaling transcoding as an offering to its MNO/MVNO/enterprise subscriber base.
How can an IPX provider go about this? First, the IPX platform needs to be up to date, as well as support IPX standards.
The basic IPX platform would need to add in a WebRTC gateway to handle WebRTC traffic and a VoIP gateway that supports OTT-type codecs such as different kinds of HD codecs. These would be the gateways that handle the voice and video media and signaling conversion required to get on and off the IPX. These gateways would need to be inserted in the path of the IPX platform.
There is also opportunity for another type of revenue innovation. If an IPX provider is passing enterprise minutes, then a large amount of information will be coming through the IPX platform. Analysis of this information could be a service to sell to that enterprise. Additionally, roaming information would be available and analysis of customer data could determine if customers are taking advantage of the service or not. If they’re not, then a marketing package could be developed to help them take advantage of it. For example, they can look into when and how long a download is happening, and perhaps offer a higher speed package for a short period of time. From the analysis of the information passing through, voice wholesalers can offer opportunistic packages to generate more revenue.
The quest to remain relevant is critical for wholesaler survival. But if you look closely, there are a lot of opportunities for IPX providers to generate new revenue streams, and to remain competitive in the cutthroat voice wholesale arena.
Jim Machi is vice president of product management at Dialogic (News - Alert) Inc. (www.dialogic.com).
Edited by Maurice Nagle