LONDON— October 5, 2011 — Mobile operators around the globe consider IP Exchange (IPX) an essential ingredient for next generation wireless services, according to a new study (“IPX: New Interconnect Strategies for Operators”) of global operators commissioned by Sybase 365®, a subsidiary of Sybase, Inc., the global leader in mobile messaging and mobile commerce services.
“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.”
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%). Within the EMEA region, 44% of carriers expect IPX to become essential in the next one to three years, yet 64% will be ready to deploy it in that timeframe.
According to the Global Mobile Suppliers Association (GSA), 218 operators in 81 countries are now investing in LTE, of which 166 networks are in various stages of deployments and the remaining 52 in technology trials. Globally, 24 networks have commercially launched in 16 countries1. As more networks launch LTE, improved international and inter-network connectivity supported by IPX will only serve to accelerate worldwide LTE subscriber numbers which is expected to reach 303.1 million by 20142.
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. The EMEA region, covering the second largest subscriber base, is expected to be where IPX takes off first, closely followed by the largest region, Asia Pacific. This is due to the open nature of EMEA infrastructure, and a strong financial backing that gravitates towards the latest in telecommunication services.
A minority of the operators 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 EMEA region showing that over two thirds (67%) of carriers will be ready to deploy IPX within 3 years. Additionally, the study reveals that service providers of all types – wireless, wire line, wholesale, cable operators and integrated carriers – are already deploying IPX.
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.
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 centralised infrastructure across service providers and across solutions for the rest of the decade and beyond.”
Get a full copy of the study: “IPX: New Interconnect Strategies for Operators”.
Sybase® IPX 365®
The Sybase IPX 365 network is designed to serve both fixed and mobile network operators with premium quality service and security required in the conversion to IP networks. It provides a full suite of IPX services including connectivity to BlackBerry Infrastructure, global data roaming (GRX), SMS and MMS messaging hubs, IPX Voice and roaming signalling —all run over a high quality Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) network.
The findings were based on an online survey of 353 global operators conducted in May and June 2011 by Questex. One-on-one interviews were also conducted with 10 global operators and the GSM Association. Operators included in the survey are based in Asia Pacific (44.5%), Europe, Middle East and Africa (25.2%), North America (26.3%) and South America (3.4%).
About Sybase 365
Sybase 365, a subsidiary of Sybase, Inc. (an SAP company; NYSE: SAP), is the global leader in enabling mobile information services for mobile operators, financial institutions and enterprises. We provide our customers with the widest offering in SMS, MMS, GRX, IPX interoperability, end-to-end mobile commerce solutions, innovative mCRM, mobile marketing and content delivery services. Sybase 365 processes more than 1.5 billion messages per day, reaching 900 operators and 5.2 billion subscribers around the world. For more information, visit: www.sybase.com/365. Read our blogs: http://blogs.sybase.com.