Big Interview

Bjørn Iversen, Telenor Global Services Company Strategy: Future IPX-pectations

Telenor Global Services’ CEO Bjørn Iversen talks to Capacity about the growing opportunity for IPX and how the company is implementing the service globally.

As an associate member of the GSMA, Telenor Global Services (TGS) is focussed on delivering high-quality services to mobile and fixed operators across the globe and this year celebrates the first anniversary of its Global IPX platform.

TGS delivers services over its MPLS/IP network to approximately 160 million customers worldwide, utilising the group’s presence in many countries across the globe, including Bulgaria, Serbia, Pakistan, India and Myanmar.

“Our role [at TGS] is to handle all the international services on behalf of the Telenor Group,” says Bjørn Iversen, CEO at Telenor Global Services. And one such way of responding to the needs of its international customers resulted in the establishment of the TGS Global IPX platform in April 2013.

Going global

TGS’ Global IPX platform is designed to deliver high-quality IP connectivity over longer distances, as well as transport voice, signalling and data traffic between operators, with market-level quality and security.

Iversen explains that TGS began strategising for IPX in 2002 following a number of discussions with the GSMA, when the company also decided to be a carrier with a dedicated focus on the mobile industry.

“Our ambition is to be one of the preferred quality vendors of international wholesale focussing on mobile only,” he says.

Iversen says that discussions from the GSMA, as well as responses from the industry, indicated a need for IPX.

“Our motive was to deliver in line with the expectations from the mobile operators, and we saw that they were moving towards an IPX solution,” Iversen says.

TGS began building its IPX platform in 2009 and finally launched the platform in 2013. Iversen admits the process took longer than initially planned, but TGS can now be proud of a platform which is fully in line with every requirement and specification from the GSMA.

Despite the growing number of high-quality IPX vendors emerging across the globe, Iversen claims Telenor’s platform not only falls truly in line with GSMA standards, but is unique in its customer reach, thanks to its affiliation with the Telenor Group.

“It is quite unique to have such a wide range when it comes to end customers,” he says. “We have all 160 million Telenor subscribers on the IPX platform, and it is the best and most secure way to reach them.”

IPX has landed

According to Iversen, the development of next-generation mobile networks is beginning to drive the huge demand for IPX. And with 4G implemented in an estimated 300 networks worldwide, Iversen explains that operators of these networks are realising the need for better ways of hosting services across their networks.

“[Operators] see that they need to have managed services and M2M on their LTE roaming services, and IPX is the answer to that,” says Iversen.

IPX is poised to become an important architectural solution to efficiently exchange international traffic of IP-based services interworking among LTE networks.

Using an IPX platform, LTE operators are able to interconnect via a single pipe, meaning both a more efficient and secure process is in place.

TGS sees the vast potential of IPX in the wholesale industry and plans to grow its Global IPX platform in line with this over the next 12 months, starting with its voice customers.

“We have got hundreds of voice customers and our ambition is to migrate all of those customers to the Global IPX platform,” Iversen says.

Onwards and upwards

As well as moving more of its customers to IPX, TGS has modified many of its solutions to stand as fully IPX-ready services, and is looking at new services which could add value to its end customers as well as other mobile operators.

“We are constantly looking at product and business development and we are quality focussed,” Iversen says.

TGS believes that the existing public internet is not good enough for today’s services, and the company has big expectations for IPX in changing the way this operates.

“We believe that delivering services over IPX is the way forward for this international wholesale industry, so we are all in,” he enthuses.

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