While operators taking measured but decisive steps towards IMS-enabling their networks, it is critical to assess the impact on their OSS/BSS infrastructure and operations. IMS means many things to many people; most importantly it translates into agile implementation of rich data applications. What gets forgotten is the overhaul that accompanies the introduction of IMS components. This report analyses how the short and medium term challenges of IMS-enablement weigh against its medium and long-term benefits.
IMS was originally designed for mobile users to enable them avail the benefits of IP based data services and applications. Its scope was expanded to include fixed line as well. IMS is based on the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP).
The key characteristic of IMS is the separation of the services offered from the underlying networking technologies. This total separation enables the user to enjoy seamless experience of voice, data and video applications regardless of the applications employed.
Telecom companies are being forced to re-invent themselves for a variety of reasons. At the outset, their staple traditional voice revenues have been taking a hit on account of emergence of Internet telephony and Voice over IP (VoIP). These two technologies have thrown the service provider market wide open for Internet based players that can exploit the packet functionalities to provide cheaper services to the carrier’s customers, eating into their revenue base. Network operators have to ensure that their customers stick to them, and the most effective way of achieving this elusive loyalty is to increase the number of “touch-points” between the operator and the customer. This increase can be achieved only by diversifying the number of services and applications that the carrier can offer to its customers. Some of the lucrative services that can be facilitated by IMS include the following:
- Presence based services
- Location based applications
- Video telephony
- Streaming and downloads
- Peer-to-peer applications
- Fixed Mobile Convergence (FMC)
Deployment of IMS is slated to have a profound impact on Next Generation Network (NGN) Operational Support System and Business Support System (OSS/BSS) stakeholders. While network operators are taking measured but decisive steps towards IMS-enabling their networks, it is critical to assess the impact on their OSS/BSS infrastructure and operations.
Mind Commerce forecasts that the overall market for OSS and BSS will grow at a healthy rate of 13% to touch $24 billion in 2014. The growth will be aided in no small measure by the buoyancy imparted by IMS network elements and the consequent developments required in the OSS/BSS architecture.
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