In a short amount of time, Mitel has put itself on the map, posting tremendous growth and even going head to head with established technology heavy weights in some markets. Telecom Review sat with Mehmet Balos, VP International Sales at Mitel Mobility, to talk about the companyâ€™s role in the VoLTE market, its most demanded solutions and the secret to its success.
Mitel has been pioneering next generation voice solutions with visionary leadership in the VoLTE/VoWiFi arena. While the buzz around VoWiFi has just started gaining momentum, Mitel already has deployed live commercial VoLTE and VoWiFi networks carrying millions of subscribers. We were the first to launch a commercial IMS-based, WiFi calling solution at T-Mobile USA. This implementation is in commercial operation for almost six years and is currently supporting over 30 million users.
Following the success in the US, European operators have embraced the concept of WiFi calling for a number of reasons. Indoor coverage, limitation of coverage investments in commercially less attractive areas, roaming optimization and subscriber retention have all been the drivers.
The Mitel solution is currently deployed in various markets worldwide providing Voice over WiFi (VoWiFi) and SMS over IP services. USSD service is also being considered as part of the Mitel VoWiFi solution given that many prepaid markets use this service for subscriber account balance queries.
What are the critical challenges that mobile operators face?
The migration of current voice and messaging services, which account for a majority of operator revenues to this architecture, presents a number of critical challenges to mobile operators, such as:
- Providing functional and service equivalency with the CS domain in this new IMS-based network
- Leveraging the significant investments made in the legacy CS network to the greatest extent possible, to allow a more gradual and less expensive migration of functions and services to the new network
- Providing call and service continuity during the period of time before LTE coverage is ubiquitous, to maintain a positive user experience
- Facilitating the convergence of fixed and mobile IMS networks and services, where current fixed IMS deployments already exist
Mitel has long been focused on innovative core network solutions to enable operators to deploy converged voice, video and messaging services in a timely and cost-effective manner. Mitel has a proven track record in maximizing an operatorâ€™s reuse of legacy infrastructure and providing the necessary customizations to facilitate the operatorâ€™s network evolution to an all-IP network.
What differentiates Mitel from others?
The wireless industry is changing rapidly. Competition is intensifying as operators not only compete with each other, but also compete with OTT (Skype, Google, Apple and Facebook). Devices are proliferating as the world becomes connected over 4G LTE and consumers increasingly expect service ubiquity with a seamless and consistent experience across a multi-device ecosystem, including smartphones, tablets, PCs, TVs, etc. Technology is evolving as NFV and SDN have profound impacts on the way that operators build and maintain next generation networks.
Current architectures and traditional approaches from incumbent suppliers are ill-suited to the scope and magnitude of network transformation that is required for future success. The reality is that the market is moving faster than standards. OTT is innovating and continually experimenting with new services and creating new user experiences. While VoLTE/VoWiFi/RCS provide an improved user experience with HD audio and faster call setup times, it is driven by standards and is focused on achieving parity (reliability and QoS) with circuit-switched voice. Standards are focused on solving specific problems, i.e. providing guaranteed and reliable voice services in an all-IP environment, but often donâ€™t address the larger opportunity and challenge of creating compelling new service experiences.
Mitelâ€™s offering is not bound by the standards of minimal service definitions, but extends beyond to enable new user experiences that are differentiated and create new revenue opportunities.
- First mover advantage in VoWiFi deployments
- Launched IMS-based WiFi calling service at T-Mobile US in Nov 2011
- Worldâ€™s first IMS-based mass market consumer service, with over 30 million active users per month (growing rapidly)
- Market leadership in providing VoLTE/VoWiFi solutions to tier one mobile operators
- Mitel has more than 20 VoLTE and VoWifi customers that have either already launched VoLTE, or plan to launch VoLTE within the next 12 months
- Mature and proven portfolio of fully virtualized SW products and solutions across IMS domains
- Mitel has delivered WiFi calling solutions which are commercially live (T-Mobile US, EE a 3 (UK)) and is in the process of implementing many more
- Future proof architecture and platform
- Software platform that is implemented in a virtualized NFV environment
- Mitel has extensive IOT experience across network interfaces in multi-vendor networks