Long term evolution (LTE (News - Alert)) is primarily data driven and doesn’t have a dedicated voice channel. So if voice has to be handled over LTE (VoLTE), then the new standard –IMS- is expected to emerge more strongly than before. ABI Research (News - Alert) projects that IMS spending will reach $ 4 billion by 2017.
“We see increasing IMS Core Network revenues through 2017,” commented Joe Hoffman (News - Alert), research director at ABI.
However, after the initial spending on core network products that are integral to the functioning of an IMS network, ABI expects IMS revenues to plateau.
This seems to be in keeping with its predictions for North America, which is a leader in the LTE market. Hoffman notes that the region will experience peak IMS revenues during 2015-2016, suggesting that it could flatten after that. In Asia-Pacific, where LTE is just picking up, IMS spending may be restrained and slow, but continuous.
With leading LTE operators ramping up for VoLTE and IMS becoming the standard migration path for telecom, IMS deployments are edging up. Operators are busy readying the necessary infrastructure and capacity for the planned 2014 VoLTE launches.
VoLTE, although in its infancy, will buck up once carriers see the benefit of allowing their LTE networks to handle voice calls as well as data. VoLTE promises superior audio quality over current technologies, and it is in the interest of operators to ensure that compatible mobiles for VoLTE become available.
Hoffman also notes that while the IMS driver is clearly VoLTE, operators will also find competitive advantage as they can also deliver superior user experience for WebRTC and OTT services under network congestion.
Currently however, as operators already have other options like 3G and CSFB for voice, they will probably appear to be content to adopt a ‘wait and watch’ stance. Once they realize that the whole world is moving towards an all-IP-single –communications- interface that requires less investment in infrastructure, they will learn to adjust their strategies.
IMS sounds rather promising for both consumers and carriers, as it can mitigate bandwidth and spectrum issues, but it’s a long walk and not a bed of roses either.
Edited by Cassandra Tucker