Operators in all regions are actively deploying IMS core networks to speed up their roll-out of next generation communication services and future-proof their network infrastructure, providing plenty of exciting opportunities for market differentiation.
IMS offers the backbone infrastructure to provision enhanced communication services – VoLTE and Rich Communication Services (RCS), enabling operators to effectively compete with OTT players.
Once the infrastructure is in place for ‘All-IP’ communications, a world of opportunity for service innovation is revealed including HD voice, video calling, Wi-Fi calling, instant messaging, file transfer, location sharing all through an mobile operator-developed application or through native communication apps on recent smartphones. These advance services offer enhanced user experience with multimedia rich capabilities along with ubiquity to the end-user. Also, they enable mobile operators to offer feature rich features and services that ensure customer loyalty.
There is already a clear appetite for next generation services built using IMS infrastructure, with the GSMA reporting VoLTE is now available in over 25 markets and Wi-Fi calling being launched by operators across the world. This demand is reflected by the development of mobile devices from many of the premium manufacturers to support these new services – driving mass consumer adoption.
Operators that make investments in IMS to enable this innovation first, give themselves an excellent opportunity to position as the premium supplier of enriched communications services in their individual market and to be ready for the next digital wave of services for many verticals.
For challenger brands, this offers a way to differentiate from established service providers and for incumbents this showcase the dawn of a new ecosystem of communication services including unified communication for enterprises, richer gaming apps to consumers, advanced customer care solutions, and digital applications targeted towards vertical markets.
The mobile operators who are not ready for IMS can still be in the game: the industry is proposing managed, hosted IMS and RCS solutions that can be used to provide the full rich experience offered by the technology with rapid time-to-market strategy.
An operator enabled Rich Communication Services (RCS) platform have the advantage of providing global inter-operability outside of the user silos OTT providers create for their services. VoLTE combined with traditional circuit-switched voice in the native dialers of smartphones provides mobility to users by enabling anytime flexibility over any access network, be it 3G, 4G, Wi-Fi with seamless call continuity with VoWiFi, SRVCC (Single Radio Call Continuity) while moving from 4G to 3G network and CSFB (Circuit Switched Fall Back) capabilities.
In this bright new communications era of limitless opportunity, IMS is the constant, future-proof solution which operators must embrace to ensure they remain competitive into 2016 and beyond.