There’s no question that mobile phones and the internet have completely transformed how consumers and businesses communicate today and these technologies seem to amaze us with their innovation on an almost daily basis.
This all-IP revolution and the evolution to and anticipation for the next-generation network, has brought about the need for the telco industry to undergo a transformation.
While this new network has brought about much debate relating to challenges and opportunities for the telecoms market, the result of this transformation does offer several opportunities for operators.
Consumers Lead the Way
The move towards all-IP has been occurring slowly for some time, with subtle signs like the death of traditional landlines as a prime example. While telecom providers used to require a customer to have a landline in order to receive new broadband services, the current multitude of broadband providers, the continuing strength of mobile networks and broadband capacity have all empowered subscribers to easily and advantageously join the IP revolution without any prerequisite except for their device (smartphone, modem, tablet, computer, etc.)
In addition, mobile internet access has had a strong impact on consumer behaviours themselves. Customers now expect access to information in any location and from any device, and year-after-year they continue to use more mobile data than ever before. They also expect to be able to use all the latest and greatest over-the-top (OTT) technologies across all of their devices, such as free instant messaging on services like WhatsApp, video calling on services like Skype, video streaming on apps like YouTube, location sharing and much more. The inability for operators to offer these services can result in increased perceived irrelevance and ultimately subscriber churn.
Many of these OTT services are, to a large degree, free for customers to use and have a direct impact on the value added services that telco’s offer, such as traditional voice and messaging forcing the telco’s to let go of the revenue-generators of yesterday, to embrace the new business models of the IP mindset that is more hurried as demand for “new” is growing quicker. It’s a pivotal moment in the industry – telco’s will either sink or swim.Benefits of the Cloud
By transitioning to an all-IP network, operators stand to gain valuable savings. One of the biggest savings for the traditional telco is real estate - once they move to all-IP, there's simply no need for large amounts of physical infrastructure, as everything will essentially be travelling over the Internet. Sun setting those assets and moving to the cloud, can result in an instant boost for an operators’ bottom line. The operators that embrace this move to the cloud can also benefit from reduced service complexity, cost-efficient scalability, and the ability to get new technologies to market quicker, which is key to staying relevant and reducing churn today.
IMS at the Core of IP
Always start with the core. By choosing to work with an IP vendor with a virtualized IMS core, operators can quickly start benefitting from the all-IP revolution today by delivering the advanced services it enables such as: Rich Messaging (RCS), WiFi Calling (VoWiFi) and Voice-over-LTE (VoLTE).
By offering VoLTE, operators stand to gain a considerable savings on the cost of voice calls as it moves voice to the more efficient data side of the network, while offering subscribers a quality calling experience.
Being able to offer VoWiFi means operators can complement their network coverage without the CAPEX investment, reduce the cost of international roaming for both operators themselves and subscribers, and protect their voice service against competing OTT applications.
Offering rich communications services (RCS) is key for operators today. It lets operators offer the advanced mobile communication features that subscribers are demanding and that non-operator competitors are already providing. These include instant messaging and group chat, video chat, sharing locations, contacts, images, videos and audio files. Operators need to not only offer these features to enhance the subscriber experience but do so in a meaningful way for their business goals as well- this isn't about catching up to the OTT competitors, this is about using the latest messaging technology to stay market-relevant and open new revenue streams.
Furthermore, by choosing to use a virtualized IMS core and its easily integrated services from the cloud, operators can join the IP revolution in a phased approach with reduced migration, management and operational costs. In a time when new technologies and customer expectations are moving at lightning speeds, the ability to bring these services to market quickly could be the difference between moving forward and treading water for operators. The old ways of testing and building new services is gone. Operators need to embrace this digital shift and the innovative vendors providing these new virtualized solutions. This strategy enables operators to take control of their network and scale up or down to compete within their market right now and long into the future.