Messaging vendors face new threats

Messaging is at a turning point. The limited demands made on the old SMSC are a thing of the past and new, more complex services, competition for customers, pressures on margins and churn are growing threats.

But according to Vince Kadar, chief technology officer at Airwide Solutions, a supplier of mobile messaging infrastructure and applications, the challenges don’t end there.

“Mobile operators have to adopt more open technologies and architectures, in part to address market demands such as number portability, and in part to more quickly test, deploy, support and differentiate new services that will provide new revenue streams as well as help retain subscribers,” he said.

Kadar believes that operators are realising that they must find ways to migrate from network elements that have become increasingly costly and limited because they were not designed for mobile messaging.

“SS7 is one example of a telephony signalling protocol that became pervasive,” he said. However, Kadar believes the vendor response to its limitations in a mobile messaging environment has not always been appropriate, noting that some messaging vendors have created proprietary implementations to work around those limitations. “But these proprietary implementations become increasingly counter-productive to mobile operators seeking open, future-proof networks,” he said.

New products being introduced into the network that are based on proprietary implementations of protocols may offer short-term feature benefits, but pull operators further down a path of increasing costs and limited flexibility, Kadar warns. Thus, to have a positive impact on an operator’s business, messaging vendors must incorporate new protocols such as IP-based SIGTRAN and also incorporate support for protocols such as SIP that are being adapted for mobile networks, he said.

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