The ‘Open’ Telecom Application Server (TAS): Helping Carriers Go ‘Beyond VoLTE’

David Snow - Principal Analyst, IP Services Infrastructure
David Snow – Principal Analyst, IP Services Infrastructure

Summary Bullets:

  • Deploying just VoLTE makes little difference to carrier voice revenues or competitiveness; carriers now need ‘beyond VoLTE’ services differentiation.
  • Such service differentiation is sparking a new wave of vendor telecom application server (TAS) offerings and openness.

Nokia recently launched a new version of its TAS (see here), positioning it as a ‘beyond VoLTE’ offering. Nokia, however, isn’t the first to focus on the ‘beyond VoLTE’ business issue. Oracle Communications did something similar last year (see here), and in April, OpenCloud went as far as to produce a downloadable software package for ‘VoLTE service development’ on its own application server (see here).

So, what is the ‘beyond VoLTE’ issue? Notwithstanding all the technical challenges of successfully deploying VoLTE, more cost-effective voice delivery makes very little difference to the end-customer experience. While some operators have made a point of marketing VoLTE as ‘HD voice,’ it’s still something of a hit-and-miss marketing tack and very few customers are willing to pay extra for HD voice. In fact, many consider that voice of any fidelity should be free anyway! Most carriers simply regard VoLTE as a more cost-effective way to deliver voice. While reducing delivery costs certainly helps, carriers are now considering how to differentiate their VoLTE services to generate top-line revenue and increase their competitiveness. Most look to monetize VoLTE by focusing on enterprise users, creating new IP-based unified communications and collaboration (UC&C) offerings. Multiple IP-based enterprise communications services such as presence, messaging, video, whiteboarding, and so on can be integrated together to create a compelling ‘HD’ company-wide collaboration space. However, there are also some that want to target consumer users, and while the consumer-consumer HD voice experience cannot always be guaranteed, IP connectivity usually can, so that consumer-oriented IP services, whether they be video, messaging, chat, or simply the integration of relevant local business information, can be ‘mixed in’ with the consumer VoLTE to make a difference.

Why is this relevant to the Current Analysis Network Matter Blog? Simply because it is this ‘beyond VoLTE’ issue which is sparking this new wave of TAS offerings. The carrier TAS has historically been a ‘closed’ operator asset, simply and reliably delivering the standard voice service of the day. However, today’s TAS now has to be far more of an ‘open’ asset so that its voice service can easily be mixed with IP-based services and earn its keep. To do so, today’s TAS needs a full complement of application programming interfaces (APIs) and support for a service creation and testing environment. These are just some of the TAS attributes regularly tracked in Current Analysis’ Application Server service.

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