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Despite a general perception that network operators are losing interest in IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS), many of the world's largest telecom carriers are continuing to deploy IMS technologies as a key part of their transition into next- generation service providers, according to a new report from Heavy Reading (, the market research division of CMP Technology's Light Reading (

IMS Deployment Update: Promise & Challenges analyzes the progress made to date by network operators in deploying IMS technologies, focusing on the key factors that continue to drive IMS spending by carriers and the obstacles that remain for IMS to fulfill its initial promise as the key enabler of next-gen integrated telecom services. The all-new 59-page report profiles and analyzes IMS deployments by nearly two dozen network operators worldwide, including such major carriers as AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, France Telecom, and Verizon Communications.

The report also presents and analyzes results of an exclusive, worldwide survey of service provider professionals regarding network operator attitudes toward and spending plans for IMS technologies and products. Nearly 200 carrier professionals participated in the Heavy Reading survey, providing deep insight into their companies' plans to migrate to IMS. The report also includes an update and analysis of IMS deployments and contract wins claimed by leading vendors in the IMS sector.

"After several years of unvarnished hype, IMS has moved from hero to zero faster than the average telco panacea," notes Graham Finnie, Chief Analyst with Heavy Reading and author of the report. "Frustration over key missing pieces, difficulties in early implementation, doubts about interoperability, concerns about just how far key elements of IMS are relevant to next-generation applications creation, and the emergence of new Web 2.0 applications tools are all cited as evidence that IMS is a dying issue."

But most telcos still say they will deploy IMS -- or elements of it -- for both wireless and wireline services, Finnie adds. "In the wireline community, deployment on a massive scale is still likely to take place around the Tispan elaboration of IMS, as incumbents make the transition to VOIP and a suite of related communications-oriented services," he said. "Misgivings about IMS are greater on the wireless side, yet with few obvious alternatives today, wireless telcos are also likely to deploy IMS on a wide scale."

Key findings of IMS Deployment Update: Promise & Challenges include the following:

Most network operators still expect IMS to play a significant role in their next-generation network plans. About 70 percent of the carrier professionals participating in Heavy Reading's worldwide IMS survey described IMS as being "essential" or "important" to their companies' next-gen networking plans, and only about 5 percent said IMS will have no impact on their ability to provide competitive services.

There is widespread confusion and disagreement about what constitutes a "real" IMS deployment, as well as about whether strict adherence to all of the key elements and interfaces really matters. While a more pragmatic approach to IMS is emerging, this may compromise the ability of service providers both to open their networks to third parties and (equally importantly) to interoperate with other network providers.

Incumbent telecom equipment manufacturers are dominating the supply of IMS components, especially in the control layer. Although many telcos want to retain a role in specifying some "best-of-breed" components, the vast majority will use equipment manufacturers as prime contractors and systems integrators, rather than doing it themselves or turning to traditional systems integrators. While this is likely to make IMS easier to deploy initially, it may ultimately compromise telcos' ability to open IMS to third-party applications developers.

"Enhanced telephony" is the biggest applications opportunity for IMS. Creating new forms of communications is the core IMS proposition. The top IMS applications are all related to VOIP, while presence, instant messaging (IM), and unified messaging are also important.

IMS Deployment Update: Promise & Challenges is essential reading for a wide range of industry participants, including the following:

-- IMS technology suppliers: How will the ongoing shifts in operator attitudes toward and plans for IMS deployment affect your business? What is the most likely timeframe for large-scale commercial rollouts of IMS, and which types of services and applications will be targeted first? Which carriers are making the firmest commitments to IMS, and how do their needs and requirements map to your IMS offerings?

-- Network operators: How do your plans for IMS deployment compare with those of other carriers? Is your IMS transition strategy in sync with other real-world deployments, or is your organization running ahead or behind the IMS curve? Which technology suppliers are in best position to meet your IMS requirements?

-- Investors: What is the real opportunity for IMS technology suppliers in the next-gen services arena? Are pessimistic projections about IMS deployment creating an market opportunity to invest in IMS developers? Which carriers are moving forward to build the infrastructure necessary to compete with traditional and nontraditional service providers?

IMS Deployment Update: Promise & Challenges costs $3,995 and is published in PDF format. The price includes an enterprise license covering all of the employees at the purchaser's company.

For more information, or to request a free executive summary, call 858/485-8870

About Heavy Reading

Heavy Reading is an independent market research organization offering quantitative analysis of telecom technology to service providers, vendors, and investors. Its mandate is to provide the comprehensive competitive analysis needed today for the deployment of profitable networks based on next- generation hardware and software.

For more information, visit

About CMP Technology

CMP Technology is a marketing solutions company serving the technology industry. Through its market-leading portfolio of trusted information brands, CMP has earned the confidence of more technology professionals than any other media company. As a result, CMP is the premier provider of access, insight and actionable programs designed to connect sellers and buyers in ways that yield superior return on investment. CMP Technology is a subsidiary of United Business Media (, a global provider of news distribution and specialist information services with a market capitalization of more than $3 billion.

For more information, visit
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Copyright 2007 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Worldwide Telecom
Date:Sep 1, 2007

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