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Service Provider FMC Outlook is Still Upbeat

Nearly 80 percent of service provider respondents taking part in a market study by Infonetics Research say they plan to offer fixed-mobile convergence (FMC) services by April 2008, a sharp increase over the number planning to offer FMC services this year.

According to the new report entitled "Service Provider Plans for Next Gen Voice and IMS," service providers anticipate that the top two benefits of offering FMC services as increasing average revenue per user (ARPU) and keeping traffic within the network.

Over half the service providers Infonetics interviewed also expect to have a full IMS solution deployed in at least some part of their network by 2010 -- but interestingly, a significant number say they have no plans to deploy a full IMS solution, the study shows.

"Despite the fact that 71 percent of the service providers we interviewed for a similar study last year expected to use IMS architecture in 2007, we cautioned that providers likely were being optimistic with their uptake plans. With this year's study, we now have concrete evidence of IMS adoption shifting out -- just over a quarter are using IMS in 2007 and less than half plan to do so in 2008," said Stephane Teral, principal analyst at Infonetics.

Other highlights from the report include:

- Operational expenditure saving remains an important driver to deploy IMS.

- Some providers say they will never completely migrate to next generation voice for access, Class 4, or Class 5, meaning multiple heterogeneous access networks will coexist for a long time, and full Class 5 replacement is not on the agenda.

- Main drivers for carriers adopting VoIP continue to be reducing opex, growing revenue, and adding margin-rich services, all aided by an increasing broadband penetration and the maturation of next generation voice technology.

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