"NGN (next-generation network) allows operators to simplify their overall network to a horizontal-layered architecture enabling converged services - like voice, video, data, Web 2.0 and multimedia - running on a common core to be delivered seamlessly to multiple access devices," says Frost & Sullivan senior industry analyst Adeel Najam.
"Quick and efficient deployment of new services to appeal to consumers' changing lifestyles is critical as operators compete intensely for greater control of subscribers and market share," he adds.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan (communicationservices.frost.com), Service Provider Transformation Update, finds that fierce rivalry in the telecom environment makes the timely launch of services critical. A transformed network ensures faster implementation of services and a high degree of flexibility.
The study closely examines the business models, strategies and trends for network transformation, and profiles case studies of five operators' transformation projects - NTT (Japan), AT&T (US), Telstra (Australia), China Unicom (China) and Chunghwa Telecom (Taiwan).
If you are interested in more information about this study, then send an email to Sarah Lourdes at sarah.lourdes[.]frost.com, with your full name, company name, title, telephone number, company email address, company website and country.
"Next-generation networks, structured on a horizontal architecture, allow the sharing of network resources and common functionalities for applications," Najam says.
"For service providers, it means considerable cost savings and new revenue streams," he adds. Fewer nodes are utilised due to standardisation and Internet protocol (IP) technology, and less physical space is necessary. "Completely new services such as IPTV, triple-play and other converged services can be offered."
As appealing as that may be for operators, the migration to a NGN is not without its associated challenges. According to Najam, "Network stability is of high priority during the transformation process. Interoperability with legacy infrastructure is essential for some service providers."
He adds that service providers are looking for standardized multi-vendor solutions that can help them keep their networks stable during the transition.
Today, most telecom operators are at various stages of their NGN deployment. IP-based networks and services with increasingly better quality of service (QoS) are being introduced; however, IP multimedia subsystem (IMS) rollouts have been piecemeal, and the establishment of complete, end-to-end IMS services has not yet taken place.
Najam believes that IP-based networks have delivered cutting-edge solutions, dramatically cutting down cost for service providers as well as prices for consumers. He cautions however that issues of network security for new services due to IP models and cost-modelling for hefty network investments could be tricky.
He says, "NGN transformation is a long-drawn-out process for service providers that could extend up to five years or more, with multiple phases of transformation in terms of network migration, upgrades and deployment.
"A well-planned migration path with minimal service disruption to subscribers, timely launch of new services, and a lean business model to harness the advantages of this investment are necessary," he adds. "A highly effective service delivery platform holds the key for optimizing its value.
"Service creation must be skilfully accomplished and the platform must allow wide outreach to a large community of developers," Najam concludes, adding that multi-play providers offering blended services will need seamless handover between different environments in the network and standards for uninterrupted operation.
The Service Provider Transformation Update study is part of the Communications Services Growth Partnership Service program, which also includes research in the following markets: fixed broadband, WAN services, infrastructure hosting, managed and hosted services, IPTV and data centre services. All research services included in subscriptions provide detailed market opportunities and industry trends that have been evaluated following extensive interviews with market participants.
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