[cellular news] Mobile operators around the globe consider IP Exchange (IPX) an essential ingredient for next generation wireless services, according to a new study commissioned by Sybase 365.
"Despite the interest in IPX as a next-generation play, operators also report benefits on today's congested networks. The majority rate the security and manageability of IPX as the main plusses, however operators are also excited by the potential to cut costs by reducing the number of connections needed," said William Dudley, Group Director of Operator Services Products at Sybase 365. "Operators see potential in IPX to enable them to bring over-the-top services including multimedia and other high-bandwidth content, and social networking into the fold."
Gearing Up for IPX
The majority of operators surveyed (63.5%) plan to deploy IPX over the next one to three years. The findings underscore the firm grasp of the benefits and opportunities for IPX that operators have, as well as growing demand for an infrastructure that can securely and reliably connect multiple operators with over-the-top (OTT) services, enterprises and cloud services. IPX management and security capabilities rank highest as prime benefits for current network owners (24%). More than half (50%) of operators surveyed agree that IPX networks make it easier to deploy end-to-end IP services, cut costs, guarantee quality and ease the migration to 4G networks. Nearly a quarter of operators (23%) rank highly the ability to consolidate multiple connections.
"Our study shows that while operators will be relying on IPX to handle roaming, IP signalling and streaming services on next-generation networks in the early days, in the longer term, when more 4G networks are live, operators will also leverage IPX to facilitate expanded voice interconnect," said Dudley. "We firmly believe IPX will become a centralized infrastructure across service providers and across solutions for the rest of the decade and beyond."
Results of the Sybase 365 study also show that operators will look to IPX service providers to offer multimedia services, Voice over IP (VoIP) and HD voice. Operators in all regions are most interested in bringing high-bandwidth or multimedia services into their service offerings, followed by social networks and financial services. One operator highlighted that offering differentiated services is one of the key elements being considered for IPX networks. "Internet players are always included in such open initiatives, because they are designed to give customers more choice in terms of the services they can enjoy." IPX will also "offer operators improved flexibility to deliver new services," he noted.
Nearly eight out of 10 operators surveyed (79.3%) who say they have deployed IPX currently use it for voice services, with data roaming next (59.5%), citing ease of use and scalability as major benefits. A minority claim to be using IPX for inter-MSC connectivity, signalling, enhanced GRX, MPLS, IP transit, L3 VPN, BGP peering, CDN and IP data. The survey found that there are a significant number of IPX networks already in place, with the Asia Pacific region leading the way in terms of deployments to date (32%), as seen with the recent IPX deployment by Total Access Communication PLC (dtac) of Thailand. Additionally, the study reveals that service providers of all types -- wireless, wire line, wholesale, cable operators and integrated carriers -- are already deploying IPX.
Long Term Evolution (LTE) is expected to be a major driver of IPX deployments. Many 3G operators are committed to LTE and are planning to start rolling LTE out in two to three years, according to the study. There is a clear correlation between the number of operators planning to deploy IPX within the next one to three years (41%) and those who believe IPX will become essential to operating 4G networks in the same timeframe (45%).
LTE Ignites Interest In IP Exchange Facilities