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IMS falling on hard times

The market for global IMS equipment is expected to reach $8.3bn in 2012, less than 3 per cent of the total telecoms infrastructure capex, according to Informa Telecoms & Media.

The analyst parent of telecoms.com reckons that equipment vendors are beating the IMS drum so hard to the point that they are now accused of raising expectations beyond what the technology can deliver because of strategic reasons.

Although the market for IMS equipments will enjoy remarkable growth over the next five years, operators’ investments in such equipment will remain weak and will represent only a small fraction, about 3 per cent, of the global telcos’ capex.

Revenues from mobile IMS equipments are unlikely to exceed $4bn by 2012 while those from IMS equipments for fixed and fixed mobile convergence applications are expected to generate just $4.3bn.

So far, operators are in various stages of adoption, varying from issuing request for proposals (RFPs), undertaking lab trials and interoperability tests, with some even launching IMS services.

Operators are not expected to adopt IMS on a larger scale until early services prove successful and IMS technology delivers on its promise.

In contrast, the leading network equipment vendors continue to push IMS as an important element of their strategy despite the fact that the bulk of the big contracts have still to be issued and the scale of IMS deployment has yet to emerge.

Informa says there are many reasons why IMS is strategically important for kit vendors. Given the complexity of implementing NGN and related services, the integration of IMS will enable product differentiation and the sale of fully integrated end to end systems.

IMS will also create new windows of opportunity for the major vendors in the enterprise segment and will enable them to better position themselves to compete in this market, said Malik Saadi, principal analyst and author of forthcoming report ‘IMS Services: Fixed, Mobile & Convergent Revenue Opportunities’.

“Using IMS, vendors with a broad product portfolio such as IPTV, VoIP, broadband access, wireless networks infrastructure, optical networking, and routing are well placed to bid from more lucrative next generation network upgrades,” said Saadi.

“Platform sales are only one consideration for system vendors. IMS is also strategically important for NEVs because it could potentially lead to lucrative managed services contracts with the operator,” Saadi said.

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