Telecom Italia Sparkle and iBasis partner for IPX interconnection

Telecom Italia Sparkle and iBasis partner for IPX interconnection

Telecom Italia Sparkle and iBasis have signed an IPX interconnection agreement to support voice, LTE signaling and GRX traffic.

Announced yesterday at ITW 2012, both companies heralded the agreement as an industry first, and particularly significant for service providers transitioning networks to IP, with the aim to support services such as LTE roaming, video conferencing and HD voice.

Ajay Joseph, chief technology officer at iBasis told Capacity Daily he expects the agreement to have wider implications for other operators seeking to build an IPX platform. “There are 800 plus operators across the world and there is certainly a need to sign relationships with other carriers, unless you really are a carrier that can claim to build it all out themselves, and expect others to come to them,” he said. “It is important to establish a footprint by partnering – a strategy that goes against this is not feasible unless you have something completely different from the pack.”

Fabrizio Gelli, EVP, marketing mobile at TIS believes the deal reaffirms the idea that wholesale is a sector which promotes competition and co-operation at the same time. “Taking the example of our deal with iBasis, they are a long trusted partner of ours, and they are also in the same markets we operate in. This is a perfect example of co-opetition, where we compete and cooperate to give each other leverage.” Gelli confirmed to Capacity Daily the company was in the market to sign similar agreements, but said “iBasis was its first priority”.

Operating as the wholesale arm of Telecom Italia, TIS has been a major player in in IPX and the convergence of both data and mobile services. Joseph stressed the importance of tapping into TIS’s global footprint as an important factor in the deal being established. “While it is important to access multiple services on a single interconnect, it is equally as important for our customers that are seeking footprint all over the world,” he said.

TIS is a founding member of the i3forum, and has pioneered the migration of voice traffic to IP for years, while iBasis has been involved in IP innovation for over 15 years. Both partners warned of the pitfalls carriers may face if there is a resistance to the IPX peering model.

“Some competitors are not pushing on peering IPX solutions because they are relying on former structures,” said Gelli. “It does depend on which markets the competitors operate, and in Europe for example, the trends are generated from here as the level of penetration is very high – and the need for an IPX solution is also higher.

Joseph added it would be increasingly difficult for carriers to claim dominance in one particular market, largely because new services like this will necessitate partnerships in the industry. “With new services no-one can claim dominance, and with this agreement, it is likely we will see an increasing peering uptake.”

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