The European market for intelligent network (IN) services is expected to explode, to be worth $15 billion by 2002. The drivers will be telcos looking for ways to introduce new services as they compete in the soon to be deregulated market.
According to research by consultancy Schema, all operators will use IN to offer services such as personal numbering, calling cards, or virtual private networks.
INs require telcos to add computer nodes to their networks, and to manage information, such as telephone numbers, on a database. This means that, as new services are offered, the information can be updated on the database, rather than having to change the entire exchange.
Of the $15 billion market, two-thirds will be for toll free and VPN services, while personal numbering schemes by mobile phone operators will represent 11 per cent. Around half the $1.2 billion revenues for VPN services will be from UK users.
Equipment manufacturers will also enjoy a boom time with the market for IN technology will grow from $175 million in 1996, to reach a peak of $300 million in 1999.
Before telcos get carried away, Schema warns that early adopters have found IN deployment more complex than originally thought. Many are looking for smaller solutions initally, suggests Robert Pratten, a senior consultant at Schema.
Although most incumbent operators have implemented INs to varying degrees over the past 10 years, new operators in liberalised countries are now driving the market, continues the report. UK operators will account for the largest proportion of expenditure - 15 per cent - followed by Germany with 11 per cent and France with nine per cent.
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