Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Andrew Seybold: 3GSM Wrap-up

Andrew Seybold at Commentary 4Mobility writes a long wrap-up of 3GSM. He covers some of the "hot" topics making the rounds such as mobile TV, IMS/IP and VoIP. Regarding IMS or IP, Seybold states that "everywhere I walked in the various halls, someone was talking about IMS, which, it seems, is going to cure all of our problems and voice and data will be delivered more economically (faster and better) than it is today." Here are his thoughts:

I think that we are, indeed, heading for an all-IP world but I question whether IMS is the right road. Is IMS truly a proprietary standard? Is there an element of interoperability built into it? I could not get an answer from Siemens, Nortel, Lucent or others. I do know one thing for sure: Proprietary standards are part of the old world and do not fit into today's world!

Is IMS real? The concept is definitely real. All-IP to the core makes sense over time, but I don't know of anyone rushing to throw out their SS7 switches -- the transition will be gradual. Some believe IMS will quickly become a reality. Contracts have been let and companies are building various elements of IMS and were showing them at 3GSM. How long will it be before a full network is running IP and only IP in its backend? My bet is it won't be this year or next, and I expect the first network to deploy an all-IP core to experience a lot of grief.
Regarding the hyping of "VoIP and automatic switching between VoIP and standard wide-area wireless...being touted at this year's show," Seybold believes the systems he "tried at the show were a long way from being perfect and a long way from being bulletproof." He opines:
It is easy to demo the handoff between wide-area and Wi-Fi at a show like this, but getting it right outside the lab or a setting with a single Wi-Fi hotspot set up for the transfer is a long way from reliable, network-quality service.
On the topic of browsing via the handset, Seybold points out some companies "demonstrating applications that do not need or use browsers to deliver a great user experience," such as Action Mobile, ClairMail and Microsoft, help deliver his "active content" concept . He concludes that:
My bet is that companies such as these that understand that the mobile experience is not about extending the desktop Internet experience, it is about accessing information the fastest and best way possible, will put the final nail in the coffin of the browser-on-a-phone concept, and it is about time!