IPX operators and wholesalers are starting to pivot in their approach to providing value to mobile and fixed network operators. Their dominant customers now, mobile network operators (MNOs), are seeing significant challenges in the market place. Asset monetization has always been a concern for MNOs as they see shrinking ARPU even with increases in investment. They’re actively seeking ways to increase ARPU and figure out how to better monetize their huge investment in LTE technology and support the large amount of data being consumed over their networks. So they are looking for ways to improve their cost/revenue curves and still roll out services more quickly. IPX operators have an opportunity to help.
Hot Telecom analyst Isabelle Paradis and Steve Heap indicated in their report, Above and Beyond Connectivity – The Future of International Carriers, that International voice traffic volume will see moderate growth of about 2.1% (6 year Compound Annual Growth Rate through 2020), and rather stagnant revenue growth of only 0.3% over that same time frame. IPX operators and wholesalers will have to pivot, as they point out, in how they are providing value and move that proposition above and beyond terminating minutes. Many are doing that already.
So what and where are the opportunities for current IPX operators, wholesalers, and international carriers? Let’s look at what they are doing with innovative valued added services that take them beyond the minutes termination model.
- Hutch-IPX is leveraging its extensive and secure network as a means for OTT players to gain access to MNOs. Its open platform allows OTT players and Application and Content Providers to access other connected mobile, fixed, and cable operators to exchange IP content and application traffic.
- Syniverse has designed a set of enterprise solutions tailored towards specific enterprise verticals including finance, retail, travel, and hospitality to help them improve customer conversion, increase customer loyalty, and enhance customer service.
- PCCW Global’s MediaFlex Video Platform helps service providers rapidly roll out OTT multiscreen video services that can be customized for region specific applications. Solutions in this platform include media transport, media transcoding, CDN, video management and business consulting.
- Not only is TATA Communications providing services to help MVNOs with their business and connectivity needs, but they also have a cloud based, full managed OTT video platform that allows operators to deliver video-on-demand and linear content to a wide variety of devices.
So we see IPX operators expanding their addressable market by supporting fixed and mobile service providers as well as multinational enterprises with value added services. They’re seeing that they can leverage their ability to provide secure, end-to-end connectivity and their position in the network as a trusted intermediary to deliver value-added services. This can help connected customers accelerate into new markets and new offerings with lower CAPEX and less complexity. These value added services include offerings like video content, Unified Communications, VoWiFi enablement and IP voice and data roaming. Mobile group operators are also taking note and starting to adopt and deploy IPX functionality between member companies to help improve the user experience of their subscribers and brand stickiness across their various properties.
So while it’s apparent that voice is definitely not dead, IPX operators need to evolve their core Voice-over-IPX exchange by layering in additional capabilities to deliver these value added services. While an IP Proxy forms the basis of IPX IMS exchange providing service-aware bilateral and multilateral routing, it can also be used to break out calls to networks that still use TDM interfaces. With this same platform, an IPX can help connected service providers reduce complexity and improve end-to-end quality for inter-network calls by making sure HD Voice calls that can be terminated to a VoLTE enabled subscriber in another network can actually do so. They can also perform the signaling mediation, signaling conversion, MNP lookups, fraud detection, and media transcoding that are really important for seamless bilateral and multilateral connectivity.
The same platform can be evolved further to help operators speed up support for VoLTE roaming. There are basically three VoLTE roaming architectures approved by the GSMA, and the IPX can provide a roaming hub that can help connected carriers accelerate support for inbound VoLTE roamers by providing capabilities, like the Transit Routing Function (TRF), that they may be lacking. So when it comes to VoLTE interworking and VoLTE roaming, mobile operators will be turning to IPX operators for help interworking between the different implementations. Ovum analyst Catherine Haslam estimates that over 75% of the carriers rolling out LTE will turn to a third-party IPX provider to facilitate their roaming services. This includes not only routing the various call flows, but also providing value added services like ENUM and Mobile Number Portability (MNP) lookups, fraud and also Diameter hubbing authentication and authorization of inbound roamers.
In addition, IPX operators can layer value added hosted UC and contextual voice and video services and leverage information from the signaling path as well as the media to enhance a subscriber’s roaming experience, reduce fraud. These types of services also appeal to connected MVNOs as well as enterprise customers. We’ve created an infographic that visually steps you through this journey to get to the evolved IPX. You can download it by clicking here. How are you seeing the international carrier and IPX market pivot? Tweet us at @Dialogic, and if you are in Chicago for ITW, please stop by – we’d like to talk to you first-hand about mapping out the IPX opportunity.