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IMS is the underlying standard for IP voice supported by vendors and operators worldwide. It is the foundation for IP-based services including fixed-line consumer voice, VoLTEVoWiFi, and Rich Communication Services (RCS), as well as 5G voice and messaging. The growth of IMS has increased with the launch of VoLTE across all regions in the past five years and as operators worldwide continue the move to IP and large network modernization projects.

The majority of operational IMS networks today run over purpose-built hardware, which is representative of the legacy of over 10 years of implementations. However, operators must shift to software-based networks using virtualization and cloud-native designs to become nimble and competitive with new service creation. The risk in the future for those that don’t modernize their networks is the inability to compete with other operators and technology giants that are fighting for subscribers and service revenue.

Slightly more than 50% of operators with IMS networks today are running some network components over software in a virtualized environment with the expectation that the proportion will grow over the next two years as they continue to migrate to virtualized and cloud-native networks.  Operators are able to utilize all the necessary IMS network elements available as virtualized software.  There is nothing from the technology enablement side that should be holding operators back from migrating to virtualized and cloud-native IMS.  

While IMS has become the global standard for voice communications across wireline and mobile operators worldwide, there is still much expansion to be done with operators, including tier two and three operators, that are lagging with deployments.  If vendors have not started to implement plans to migrate products to software and then to virtualized servers, they will miss the next phase of IMS deployments, and today the path to IMS VoLTE is with virtualized or cloud-native networks.

Download the white paper, “Cloud-Native IMS: Critical for Mobile Operators,” for more information on why the migration to virtualized and cloud-native networks is vital to the future success of mobile operators.

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