The telecoms market is set to be "revolutionised" by IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) as all major operators roll out services within a year, analysts have predicted.
IMS began life as a wireless network architecture for adding IP-based services to existing circuit-switched voice.
When Session Initiated Protocol (Sip) was introduced, IMS evolved into an open architecture where operators are not locked into a proprietary solution, nor are "point solutions" needed for each service.
Ian Cox, an analyst at ABI Research, said: "Every Tier 1 service provider in fixed and wireless networks will announce Sip-based services running over IMS in the next six to 12 months. Any that do not will be like airlines that missed out on the jet engine."
According to a newly published ABI Research study, IMS will allow a single device to use both fixed and wireless IP-based networks.
The technology will also enable many next-generation services, including VoIP, to be offered simultaneously over Sip-enabled networks.
ABI noted that IMS offers key advantages including allowing vendors to develop applications and equipment knowing that they will be fully interoperable. Services can be tried quickly and discarded if unpopular.
"IMS is not difficult or expensive compared with other approaches, which is why almost all Tier 1 carriers are testing it. When Tier 1s have finished and sorted out the bugs, the Tier 2s will also enter the market," said Cox.
"There are regional differences, with North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific introducing it in that order. We expect Asia-Pacific to become the leading region for IMS, as Japan and Korea have led on both 3G and broadband deployment."
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