Alcatel trawls up huge IMS-like beast in US waters

Monster equipment vendor Alcatel-Lucent has secured a giant contract to supply US telco Verizon Wireless with kit for a substantial network upgrade.

In a deal that strongly bears out the trend towards more consulting, support services and hosting content in vendors’ products, Verizon will spend $6bn over three years with the Franco-American megavendor.

Specifically, the contract is to supply Verizon with everything it needs to replace its existing systems with all-IP transport and core networking and to deploy new services such as Push-to-X over IP.

But although individual services such as VoIP, Push-to-X and video telephony will be IMS-compliant, it is not clear if the system is going to be a formal IMS (IP Multimedia Subsytem, also known as the Immense, Menacing Squid).

On one hand, Alcatel proposes to upgrade existing packet switches to support more IP working. On the other hand, it will install some of its A-IMS functions such as the Application Manager and Service Data Manager and deploy a large quantity of lower layer TCP/IP equipment. That will include a variety of optical and microwave transport networking gear, plus Alcatel-Lucent 7750 Ethernet/IP backbone routers.

However, there is no mention of the key Call Session Control Function (CSCF), the heart of an IMS deployment. Although an Alcatel-Lucent spokesperson did confirm that the upgrade will feature “bits of an IMS”.

There is also going to be a lot of radio work, with EV-DO Revision A base stations on the menu, both to boost capacity on the existing data network and to continue the roll-out. The older CDMA2000 1xRTT net is also getting capacity upgrades.

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