HD voice, RCS and LTE are the driving forces in carrier plans to SIP interconnect. IP Exchange (IPX) services have been talked about a lot, but European carriers are now at the point where they must start connecting their network above and beyond simple IP to enable end-to-end mobile HD voice calls and to unlock the promise of RCS services such as joyn and Libon against over-the-top (OTT) communications services.
In 2013, Europe will be the first region where IPX happens in earnest. France Telecom (FT), first in deploying mobile HD voice, has begun the process of linking its mobile networks with the announcement of end-to-end HD voice calls between Moldova and Romania.
With all of its subsidiaries in Europe running HD voice, the next logical step is to adding more in.
Moving beyond subsidiaries, France Telecom also runs a joint network in the U.K. with Deutsche Telecom, Everything Everywhere (EE), and the two carriers will share other RF networks moving forward. There's a clear need for both carriers to fully interconnect to provide fully seamless services across their respective networks.
And if the two are establishing interconnections for themselves, it’s a short step to add peer carriers.
HD voice has been the long-pole in the tent for carrier IPX services, the first clear application needing clear and clean SIP exchange for end-to-end quality of service for HD calls. RCS (Rich Communications Services) add plenty fuel to the fire as carriers want to provide a displacement alternative to OTT providers that they view as competitors stealing profits and customer mindshare.
A struggle over standards has meant slow progress for RCS, but GSMA now has unity for RCS as it promotes usage under the joyn brand.
RCS provides a standardized of carrier-based services for instant messaging, content sharing and videocalling, enabling the simultaneous use and exchange of voice and data between callers. Under the joyn brand, RCS has been slowly rolled out by a handful of carriers on a country-by-country basis.
Next year, deployments will accelerate and with it the need for RCS services to work across subsidiaries and between carriers. Without seamless interoperability and incumbent carriers providing end-to-end quality of service, RCS and joyn do not provide a sufficient challenge to the continued presence of OTT services.
Finally, there's LTE. As an all-IP network, LTE needs IPX for roaming and VoLTE without having to fall back to switched networks and their legacy costs. With 113 commercial networks online today and at least 209 commercial LTE in 75 countries expected to be turned up by the end of 2013, there's a huge need for IPX just for LTE.
Ironically, IPX and SIP interconnection seems to be a little bit like "Fight Club." Companies actually doing IPX aren't talking about it much while many companies who are promoting IPX and SIP federations schemes are talking up the service. Regardless, I expect to see more IPX-style interoperability announcements throughout 2013, with the bulk of them centered around Europe.
Want to learn more about SIP Trunking and how to integrate it into your current UC strategy? Don’t miss the SIP Trunking- UC Seminars in South San Francisco on November 27, 2012.