This is a guest post by Ian Pattison, International CTO at Mavenir Systems

Top of a Mobile Network Operator’s (MNO) agenda in recent years has been how to develop a long-term strategy to grow through data and rich media services. While their focus is on data and rich media MNOs should not turn their backs on what was once the ‘bread and butter’ of their revenue streams – voice services.  Voice remains a core revenue generator with the market for wireless voice services still standing at more than $600billion1, which represents some 70 per cent of global wireless revenue. The fact is people still want to talk, and operators are using voice as a strategic asset that can be leveraged as part of a richer suite of communication services.

For voice to generate more revenue than it already does, MNOs must exploit the IP technology it has in place. Currently, voice services are undergoing a major transformation and voice traffic will continue to rapidly evolve from circuit switched voice in 2G and 3G networks, towards launching carrier-grade VoLTE. For example, this year we saw the first commercial VoLTE service launch by Metro PCS in the US and we can expect to see many more VoLTE services rolled out across 2013.

The step to VoLTE opens the door to provide additional carrier grade services that can easily interact with voice and will provide new and innovative communications experiences for the subscribers. But the journey towards greater voice revenue streams for MNOs does not end at VoLTE, as really VoLTE is just one step towards an all-IP connected mobile world. No longer is communications segmented and separated by device, location and geography. Users are increasingly looking to take their communications experience to a new level where communications extend across phones and tablets with simultaneous logins, one number support and a common user experience no matter how they are connected. To achieve this, MNOs will need to go to the next level – RCS-e, and eventually Rich Communication Suite version 5 (RCS5).

Following the endorsement by five MNO groups (Deutsche Telecom, Orange, Telecom Italia, Telefonica, and Vodafone), and the recent launch by MetroPCS to become the first 4G LTE mobile service provider to launch RCS, it has now become the de-facto standard of reference. RCS-e provides a basic and simplified set of services, whereas RCS5 is an architecture that will enable true network packet-switched convergence for all messaging and voice services.

An all-IP connected mobile world is the future for MNOs and the deployment of RCS-e and RCS5 will be critical in reaching that goal. With data and rich media services and discussion about VoLTE dominating the conversation, the heavy investment in packet-based data infrastructure is about to pay out for MNOs. In the all-IP connected mobile world, converged voice, video and messaging (RCS5) will be pivotal to the new generation of mobile communications.

  1. Mobile Voice Strategies. How Mobile Operators Can Harness the Transformation towards VoLTE and Converged Multimedia Services,

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