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The real benefits of virtualised VoLTE

Telecoms.com periodically invites expert third-party contributors to submit analysis on a key topic affecting the telco industry. In this article Mark Windle, Head of Marketing at OpenCloud discusses how the advent of 4G and IP and the introduction of cloud-based VoLTE infrastructure could spell a change in fortune for mobile operators. He argues that by evolving the network service-layer to use these technologies, operators have the opportunity to become more agile, innovative businesses, and accelerate the transition to all-IP communication services.

Internet companies and OTT service providers are constantly innovating and rolling out new services, designed by their IT engineering teams at the lightning fast pace associated with modern IT technology. In contrast, in telecom networks, technological change is traditionally implemented through the physical deployment, integration and commissioning of new equipment into the network.

Moreover, this costly and time-consuming process happens multiple times:  first for the test network and then for the live network. This tradition severely limits the speed at which operators can modify their networks and the number of modifications that can be afforded.  The result is slow, ponderous change in what is increasingly a fast-moving market. It leaves the operator unable to react effectively to competitors; unable to innovate and compete.

Apparently, the expectation of slow, laborious change even deters one from thinking about service innovation at all, as reflected by traditional vendors’ and operators’ views on VoLTE. Most regard it simply as an exercise in recreating today’s voice-calling experience on an all-IP network. Equally basic video-calling is added, and the audio bearer goes to HD to match what we’ve had on Skype for a few years.

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