Analysis: Tata explores IPX opportunities

Analysis: Tata explores IPX opportunities

Global operator Tata Communications has launched its IPX+ exchange service and confirmed that 70 global operators have already signed up.

Designed to capitalise on the latest IPX technology innovations, the mobile broadband platform enables end-to-end management of mobile networks and multiple services over IP. Tata said it expects mobile data volumes to grow threefold annually as demand for mobile broadband solutions rises.

“MNOs need solutions that deliver tangible benefits and improve efficiencies while tackling accelerated data growth,” said Allan Chan, EVP, global carrier solutions at Tata Communications. “While IPX is a key component of the overall service, MNOs are looking at the areas where they can be better positioned to deliver and monetise the customer experience efficiently.”

The company claims its new IPX framework will support the largest on-net mobile signalling and voice community, with MNOs from all over the globe signing up to the service. The delivery of a range of services, all operating over IP, will be expected to be served through the platform. Tata believes close to 50% of data delivery will come from mobile video, with data roaming solutions and voice solutions also expected to be addressed.

Tata said the IPX+ platform is expected to progressively develop as services become more readily available in the market that take advantage of LTE technology and real time rich media applications.

The IPX+ platform is an extension of the company’s IPX exchange, providing a framework for commercial and technical features.

IPX is forecast to be an increasingly popular option for operators in the future. A Questex survey commissioned by Sybase 365 found that the majority of global operators plan to deploy IPX in the future.

Many operators reported benefits using IPX on today’s networks despite it being considered a next generation technology, rating the security and manageability of the platform. The technology’s cost cutting potential is also considered exciting to many operators, as it allows the potential to reduce the number of connections needed.

Of 353 global operators, 63.5% said that they planned to deploy IPX over the next one to three years. More than half of operators surveyed agreed that IPX networks make it easier to deploy end-to-end IP services.

LTE is expected to be a major tipping point for IPX deployments with many 3G operators committed to LTE and planning LTE rollouts in the next 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 at 41% and those who believe IPX will become essential for operating 4G networks in the same timeframe at 45%.

Tata’s investment in IPX services is not surprising given the figures presented by the survey. IP technologies are considered to be a keystone in preserving the cost base that carriers need and providing the most efficient way of carrying traffic in order for their operator customers to compete with OTT players.

“If the carrier’s operator customers are going to be able to compete with the OTT players then they are going to have to be able to do something that is as cheap and efficient as possible,” said Catherine Haslam, wholesale analyst with consulting firm Ovum. “They also need to have the ability to differentiate on quality, and that is where you get things like the IPX+ coming in.”

In terms of the technology this latest IPX+ offering from Tata does not offer anything drastically different to competitors. But Haslam stresses that it does offer a framework for providing a clear path for operators to come into the IP world, starting with services like roaming, signalling and IP VPN. She believes that the company is trying to differentiate itself by compiling services together and removing the pain of the transition, launch and management of services for operators.

With the predicted success of IPX technology the majority of global carriers are expected to come up with some form of offering if they haven’t done already. Verizon is said to be less enamoured by the IPX proposition but the other top players are all likely to be looking to produce a similar IPX or hub IP exchange platform in the future.

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