IMS World Forum Summary 2014
IMS reaches an inflection point:
IMS may not be everyone’s ‘favorite cup of tea’,
but it’s there in most networks. Put simply, for any
operator migrating their services to IP, and in
particular voice, what choice do you have?
Today, none, but we can start preparing for a
multi-control-platform world today.
• SK Telecom’s update on its VoLTE deployment, and the importance and
challenges of interop
• HKT’s plans to deploy VoLTE and a good review of the challenges
• Huawei have a funny video on the services enabled with LTE, and their
summary of the issues on VoLTE was good
• I pick on Dan Warren’s slide the increasingly false assumption on the power
of the ‘green button’ – “Its not the green button it’s increasingly a click on
• A popular theme is “WebRTC extends IMS,” which is true but ignores the
importance of focusing on customer value and experiences rather overly
complex standard-disabled commodity services
• A nice slide from T-Mobile that summarizes the real0world complexity
we’re seeing in IMS deployments.
• Update on Rogers One Number, and adding RCS features, not evolving to RCS, which
is a common theme across many telcos
• Results from a live survey, that highlights some of the popular assumptions in the
industry, but also shows the changes in thinking that RCS is simply a capability not a
service (hence most of the Joyn work was wasted)
• Patrice from Bouygues, gave a good review of their experiences with WebRTC, I differ
on IMS being a good platform for IMS, it is one of the control platforms, but telcos
will need multiple platforms as discussed by Thomas from Fokus
• Some great slides on Libon and its success, and the RCS capabilities it is adopting –
but its much more than RCS. Libon is a template for telcos to copy.
• Key slide from Thomas at FOKUS on multiple control platforms
• Critical results from Stephen Sale on app usage and how Libon has engaged some
customers while RCS remains unused
• A nice WebRTC summary from Victor Pascual
Wooyong gave (as usual) a great presentation on Korea’s progress on VoLTE
Only engineers would go ‘woohoo’ on shortening call set-up times every UE person
is face-palming. But finally after 2 decades of decline the core service is improving.
This is not an easy problem. Maybe 10 years ago I would care, today not so much,
only an increasingly smaller % of customers care and will pay for such voice ubiquity
(some business customers).
SKT understand service are key, its not about just VoLTE.
SKT is being quite innovative in its plans for WebRTC / IMS.
This is just the tip of the iceberg on their plans.
Interworking is one of the major challenges the Korean operators have faced, and
we will see this pop up a number of times as the US and other APAC countries move
beyond showing VoLTE works on just their networks.
The thing that made most operators jealous of SKT was the number of VoLTE
phones it had available at 14, while most struggled with 2.
Even when VoLTE starts to get rolled out, there is a long road ahead, can the mobile
industry keep up with the IP-based competition. Yes 4G-3G handover is an issue,
but its no longer a must have for me, and most of my communications is business
HKT are about to deploy VoLTE. And like every mobile telco they’re finding
customers use the service more when you give them a better experience. Its should
be said with shame, as the service offered has been inhibiting demand.
This is a frank and honest review of the challenges, we need more slides like this. IMS is complex,
too complex in my opinion. The differences in implementation between the network and handset
views of the spec show 3GPP specs are broken – I have difficulty understanding the specs as they
are very badly written. This is done on purpose to make it hard for those not involved in the spec
creation to build it, that is a bad behavior by the 3GPP standards community. Which all means
lots and lots of testing PER TELCO. This is broken 3GPP/GSMA are not addressing the problems
for telcos – how can this be allowed to continue?
Interconnect should be the focus, how VoLTE is implemented within the network
doesn’t matter. And yes the roaming model is broken, I dunno why this is not a
major industry issue, we’re killing the industry for a few % of margin today. We
need change in the broken 3GPP/GSMA – it needs leadership not politicians.
Huawei has a great video promoting the capabilities of new services with LTE, it
lacked gore (look at the cyclist – anyone who’s been knocked over with bare legs
and hands knows what its like!) but it was very funny and well produced, a great
advert for the industry on the new services enabled with LTE.
This for me captured the essence of what needs to happen with VoLTE. Simplification
in deployment and interconnect are desperately needed. Service (APIs/WebRTC) are
key. And get it into the cloud ASAP as in the limit only interconnect matters, the rest is
overly-complex standard crap (3G/4G handover can be simplified).
Dan Warren gave a great presentation, I apologize for picking on this slide, but it was well-
articulated. Most (but not all) of the people / brands / businesses / services that are not in my
immediate social circle are on the internet in developed nations – this is the critical false
assumption on the importance of interconnect. And interconnect for VoLTE doesn’t work without
a lot of effort!!! Services and Business Model innovation are now critical to survival for Telcos. Its
not the green button it’s increasingly a click on something else.
The message of WebRTC extending reachability is correct, BUT the money is in the
services, voice is table-stakes. I liked this slide from bics as it showed all the
application services in the middle. We’re simply not focusing on customer value
and experiences rather overly complex standard-disabled commodity services.
I liked this slides as it was honest and captured the multiple IMS being deployed
today, which makes in the intra-operator service interconnect a challenge, on a par
with interconnect. If IMS is too complex, what are 3 IMS?
Larry gave a great presentation on RON, which remains an interesting service to
track, especially as it adds RCS.
Larry’s last point is critical, telco’s role as a CSP is increasingly under threat. Even
in the North American market where they’ve used bundle to make SMS appear ‘free’
its lack of experience improvement puts it at risk.
Multi-device only recently introduced – but its what customers want.
Its free so the business model is based on churn – see first customer comment, I
think it sums up most Canadian’s view of Rogers (expect Rogers’ employees).
RON evolves to include RCS features – not RON evolves to RCS….
The RON client remains! So is RCS really just interop, like with Libon? RCS
handset APIs are a while out and have their own issues on availability.
The Live survey is always fun and sometimes, though clearly the bias of the audience
being RCS/IMS advocates skews the results.
Just over one third of the audience have a RCS plan in place. I would have thought
most would have implemented, so RCS continues its ridiculously slow path. Once
Whatsapp launches voice later this year, the main revenue of voice minutes is going
to collapse for many telcos, and they have no response.
Service innovation was top, but as we saw with RON and SKT they have adopted their own
approaches rather than wait for RCS. Given the slow pace of RCS – and even when deployed
the slow pace of innovation in the native client. Can RCS ever be more than an interop spec
and perhaps in time capabilities accessed on the phone?
This is the real problem, improving the main service customers buy to remain relevant as a CSP is
seen as difficult to justify, Rogers and SKT show they can improve to core product. The core
product must improve and rapidly after years of stagnation else customers will increasingly use
Telcos as ISPs and networks of last resort – Whatsapp will rule messaging and voice. And interop
is seen as a challenge – it’s the main benefit of RCS – shows its too damned complex.
RCS APIs are CRITICAL! We’ll be creating service innovations on top of them at TADHack,
The GSMA and 3GPP have proven inadequate to the task of keeping telcos relevant. Waiting
on them for what an operator should do on WebRTC is NOT advisable. Preparations are
required now, as the shift to WebRTC will be live a switch because of its penetration across
devices – see the IMS/WebRTC workshop weblog for more details.
Definitely extending services to any web connected device is important, but WebRTC can be
used for so much more, and will be a critical technology for communications service
innovation. The focused of the audience is just service extension.
Mixed views here, though using a WebRTC gateway seems to be the preferred approach. As a
standard 3GPP TR 23.701 shows how detached telco standards are from where the web is
This was at odds with the survey I’ve done on IMS spend, 2013 was clearly peak IMS spend, its
unclear we’ll reach that level again. But the audience thinks 2016 will be the peak. Time will
QoS has become a religion in telecoms. The Netflix/Comcast deal is about peering NOT QoS.
OTTs are not going to pay, no matter what survey your PCRF vendor shows you. QoS
generally can not be guaranteed, an customers have rejected turbo button on cable years ago.ç
Bouygues continue to focus on service innovation and important technologies that can help
launch new services. They ran a trial of WebRTC to explore its capabilities.