To those of us who follows such things, it seems like we have been hearing about Voice over LTE (News - Alert) (VoLTE) forever. The caveat being that we have been tracking its promise but not its commercial reality. Indeed, for the last several years, predictions from various quarters have been that, “Next year is the year VoLTE will start rolling out.” The same can also be said for the carrier VoIP and IMS markets, which in many ways need VoLTE to take off as the tipping point justification for mobile infrastructure upgrades.
There is good news to report. Market research firm Infonetics Research has released its vendor market share and forecasts from its first quarter (Q1 2014) Service Provider VoIP and IMS Equipment and Subscribers report, and it turns out that VoLTE is finally making its mark.
In fact, not only did Infonetics (News - Alert) find that VoLTE fueled a 37 percent year-over-year growth in Q1 carrier VoIP and IMS revenue, but there is a new leader of the pack amongst the vendors as Alcatel-Lucent (News - Alert) slipped ahead of Huawei. In addition, as the graphic shows, GENBAND is one of the top five VoIP/IMS equipment buyers and somebody to keep an eye on.
Highlights from the report, in addition to the aforementioned Alcatel-Lucent emergence as the No. 1 equipment vendor, include:
- Worldwide service provider VoIP and IMS equipment revenue totaled $992 million in Q1 2014, an increase of 37 percent from Q1 2013, but a sequential decline of 9 percent. Most segments were down on a sequential basis following a strong Q4 2013
- The core IMS and voice application server segment posted the strongest growth in 1Q14, continuing to be driven by VoLTE activity in the large North American and Asian markets.
- All regions are up on a year-over-year basis in 1Q14, with Asia Pacific and North America forming the foundation for the IMS rise due to activity from mobile operators.
Commenting on the report (whose full text will be available May 30), Diane Myers, principal analyst for VoIP, UC, and IMS at Infonetics Research (News - Alert), noted, “Voice over LTE continues to positively impact the service provider VoIP and IMS equipment market, though we look for the market to slow this year as operators commercially launch services and draw down capacity built over the past year.”
Myers also said, “Already this year we have seen AT&T, PCCW/HKT, and other operators launch VoLTE services, and NTT (News - Alert) DoCoMo is set to do so in June. There will be additional launches in 2014 by large and small providers alike that will hit the bottom line, but mobile does not completely dominate the picture. Spending on Class 5 replacement and voice over broadband (VoBB) and SIP trunking expansion will continue.”
We hear so much about the data tsunami that is engulfing mobile networks that sometimes we lose sight of the fact that voice still matters. In fact, as the VoLTE bandwagon picks up steam is demonstrates that it matters a lot with significant ripple effects that speak to how the deployment of next generation wireless is transforming the customer experiences for users around the world. In fact, I can’t wait until I get VoLTE on my network of preference.
Edited by Rachel Ramsey