IMS World Fourm and IMS Status Report

In April I’ll be running a pre-conference workshop at the IMS World Forum on “Market Status and Case Studies,” its aimed at both non-technical and technical managers responsible for, or whose platform / service will need to inter-operate with, IMS.  The workshop’s objectives are:

  • Provide a deep-dive quantified analysis of the IMS market status, enabling attendees to understand what operators and suppliers are thinking and planning.
  • Learn from real-world operator deployments understanding their challenges and opportunities.
  • An aim is not to provide yet another IMS technology training session; the vendors provide enough of them, rather a focused workshop on the practical realities of deploying IMS.  However, a brief IMS review is provided so all attendees no matter their background (especially non-technical) can understand the survey results and case studies.
  • The case studies will review the environment in which IMS is deployed, including IMS and SDP (Service Delivery Platform), next generation IN (Intelligent Network), legacy IN, and JAIN SLEE (Java IN Service Logic Execution Environment).

At first sight its fair to ask, why is a conference required on IMS, isn’t it old-hat?  That’s just the point, IMS is becoming mainstream, as reviewed in the “Market Status of IMS Report” shown below.  So we’re now facing the multitude of deployment, interoperability and operational issues that face any platform in telecoms.  Only this platform is on which the core revenue service of voice is supported, hence the importance of these issues is high.

The report, shown below, provides an independent and quantified view of what is happening in the industry on IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem), through the presentation of results from an industry-wide survey that encompasses 137 interviews, 101 of them being operators.  The report also includes operator and supplier case studies, presenting as factually as possible the current state of the art; without the hype and marketing spin that has frustrated many people on this topic.  These two objectives are reflected in the two main sections of this report: market survey results and case studies which include Verizon, China Mobile, and Vodafone Spain.

Key Findings

  • IMS remains niche, with only 8% of those operators surveyed deploying IMS.  Note, none of those operators have completed the conversion of their network, all considered it a 5-7 year process.
  • Another 12% are in an extended field trial, which is characterized by services being launched on the IMS core, with in some cases paying customers; but a decision has not yet been made to commit to service migration onto the IMS core.
  • IMS does not appear to be entering a period of rapid adoption, rather a linear growth in initial adoption over the next 5 years, with by 2014 about 32% of operators commencing an IMS deployment.
  • Regionally, NAR (North America Region) provides the bulk of the growth in years 2010 and 2011, while EMEA (Europe Middle East and Africa) and APAC (Asia Pacific) regions provide the bulk of growth in later years.
  • Lack of business case, lack of standards compliance and BOSS (Business and Operational Support System) integration were the top three barriers to adoption as identified by operators.

Target Audience

  • Mobile (CDMA and GSM), fixed, broadband and cable operators: providing an independent status report to cut through the marketing hype to aid in the definition of a realistic network evolution plan.
  • Network equipment providers: giving the market analysis necessary to determine where and when to make product investments, better meet operator requirements, better aid operators in their network evolution, and guidance on where to focus sales resources over the next 5 years.
  • Related network component suppliers, e.g. business and operational support system software suppliers, service broker / service middleware providers, SDP providers, customer premise equipment suppliers, mobile handset and software suppliers: providing the market analysis necessary to determine where and when to make product investments and where for focus sales resources.
  • Application developers: whether to invest in building IMS applications, and where to focus.
  • Investors: where the investment opportunities reside in the emerging IMS landscape.

Companies interviewed for this report include: AT&T, Belgacom, Bermuda Telecom, Bharti Airtel, BSkyB, BT, Cable One, Charter, City Telecom, Cox, Deutsche Telekom, Etisalat (and operating companies), Hong Kong CSL, Indosat, KPN (and operating companies), Kuwait Telecom, Maxis, Mobilcom, O2, Optus, Orange / France Telecom (and operating companies), Qtel, Rogers, SingTel, Sprint, Swisscom, T-Com, T-Mobile (and operating companies), Telecom Italia, Telecom New Zealand, Telefonica (and operating companies), Telenor (and operating companies), Telstra, Telus, Three (and operating companies), TWC, Verizon, Vodafone (and operating companies), 4dk, Alcatel Lucent, AppTrigger, Argela, Camiant, Cisco, Comneon, Comptel, Converged Network Systems, Dialogic, Ecrio, Espial, Genband, HP, hSeind, HTK, Huawei, IBM, Intellinet, jNetx, Motorola, NeuStar, Nokia Siemens Networks, Oracle, OpenCloud, Sigma Systems, Tekelec, Telcordia, TM Forum, Veraz, Wipro.