IMS: The Slow Road to Reality

At the FierceMarkets IMS Executive Summit yesterday in Washington, D.C., Verizon Vice President, Network Architecture Stuart Elby, assured the audience that tier 1 operators such as Verizon are committed to IMS, but that it’s taking longer to deploy than anticipated.  

During his keynote address, Elby pinpointed problems with IMS standards and noted that by having no specifications or framework for the different elements of IMS, carriers have been left with lots of flexibility. However, he warned that they are at the risk of developing a platform that isn't interoperable. "The relationship between IMS and the service delivery platforms must tie to the core.  But that has been left to the user to figure out," Elby said.

Inter-carrier peering is still a challenge, according to Elby, as is the lack of OSS support for IMS. "We are working it out but we need the tools to tie it to our legacy network," Elby noted.

He also said that before an operator can deploy IMS it has to resolve certain business issues, such as which applications will be IMS and which one’s won't. Specifically, he pinpointed IPTV as an example of an application that won’t be 100 percent IMS. He also said that Verizon Wireless' Get It Now service, which uses Qualcomm’s BREW platform, has numerous successful applications that can’t be rewritten to a SIP environment. Nevertheless, it’s necessary to maintain those services and bridge them to IMS. "It will be a blended world. But you have to figure it out before deployment," Elby said.

In other news from the event, Cox Communications Vice President of Voice Development and Support Mark Kaish talked about his company’s IMS trial that started in mid-August. The trial involves about 85 users and will last 120 days.

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