HomeInsightsConfusion over IPX role, claims report

    Confusion over IPX role, claims report


    Many mobile operators are still unsure of the value that IPXs (IPeXchanges) can bring to their businesses, according to Isabelle Paradis, CEO of research company Hot Telecom.

    Originally conceived by the GSMA to cater for the growing IP needs of mobile operators; IPX has since come to include the IP-requirements of fixed operators, cable companies, ISPs and “OTT” players. Hot Telecom has carried out a survey of 100+ providers and customers of IPXs, and found that there appears to be a disconnect between how IPX providers view their businesses, and how their customers do.

    The report found that 60% of the customers intending to adopt IPX anticipate that it will primarily be used to facilitate voice traffic (standard Voice over Internet Protocol or HD Voice) over the next 3-4 years, while only 16% indicated a focus on video and other data content. In contrast, only 18% of IPX providers expect voice to be the prominent service.

    “At the moment the providers have a better idea of how the IPX idea is evolving and what it can and cannot do. Customers don’t understand the IPX capabilities and how it is going to evolve in terms of its capability. The providers think, looking ahead four to five years, that most of the operators will use IPX for a  large part of their data traffic, for example for RCS and video content, interfacing to content and third party providers. But the customers can’t really see themselves doing those things yet.  Customers think I can’t be bothered with everything else, what I need is voice and HD voice,” Paradis said.

    Explaining this, Paradis said that there is still a lot of confusion in the operator space as to what IPX is and what the benefits of the IPX model are. She added, “it has been quite technically challenging to interconnect different hubs and offer SLAs with end to end quality, and cascaded billing. It took a while for different IPX providers to be able to offer all this, and they are only now starting now to capitalise on different features.”

    One effect of this confusion is that the business mix for IPX providers is predicted to change. Hot Telecom found that whereas 60% of IPX customers are currently mobile operators, that number will reduce to 30-40%, as OTT and content providers become increasingly connected to the exchanges.

    That isn’t bad news for operators, Paradis said, as they could benefit from interworking with OTT providers at the PIX, to facilitate the exchange of traffic, content and services between different operators.

    One IPX provider, Syniverse, said that in its experience, mobile operators do indeed understand IPX capabilities. John Wick, SVP Network, Syniverse, said, “Our experience does not support [the idea of] telcos not understanding the IPX concept. We are seeing significant traction with operators that choose to run data traffic over IPX today so they are able to benefit from the enhanced network capabilities now and prepare for LTE roaming.“

    “When it comes to protecting a brand and rising above increasing competition, mobile service providers know they must ensure seamless access to service and high-quality end-user experiences at all times. Trusting the public Internet to deliver this level of service simply will not be good enough to meet the needs of today’s mobile end user, so we will see a variety of different mobile players taking advantage of the enhanced security, quality and reporting capabilities of IPX moving forward,” Wick added.