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Mavenir CEO says 2015 will see VoLTE, RCS take off in US

VoLTE

Talking at the Mobile World Congress 2015, Pardeep Kohli, CEO of Mavenir, which is to be acquired by Mitel, said he believes both VoLTE and rich communications services (RCS) will take off in the US by the end of the year, claiming operators are keen to move on these quickly.

“T-Mobile [US] has announced that they are using our platform for VoLTE, similarly AT&T uses our messaging component for voice-over-LTE,” Kohli said. He also pointed out that once VoLTE is deployed, messaging also moves to LTE. “When you connect to LTE, it’s not only voice that goes on, it’s also messaging. SMS doesn’t use the old technology anymore once voice goes over IP. So all the issues in LTE roaming relate to both voice and messaging. But I think the issues are very simple.”

According to Kohli, other US operators are also working on interoperability and poised to launch VoLTE and RCS. “Once you do LTE and voice-over-LTE that means that now you have to start peering at the IP layer. AT&T and Verizon are doing interoperability and we know other operators are also doing this, although they may not have announced it yet. With the change to LTE, they are looking at how they can cooperate. We definitely see it [VoLTE and RCS] happening this year at least in the US. The technology exists, and they’re going through the operational aspects to make sure they do the necessary validation and testing.”

Kohli said operators are motivated to work out interoperability sooner rather than later as it doesn’t make sense offering VoLTE if they are having to convert calls between different operator customers from IP to TDM and then back to IP again. “Let’s say I’m using VoLTE from AT&T and there’s another customer using VoLTE from T-Mobile. The call will need to be put through TDM fast to connect and then convert it back to IP. This doesn’t make any sense so they [the operators] will end up doing this [peering] very fast.”

Although Kohli sees this happening in the US first, he said there is no reason why international deployment wouldn’t follow suit swiftly. “It’s in the interest of everybody to connect with each other, otherwise it doesn’t scale right.”

In terms of RCS, Kohli said the technology is, and operators are, ready to go with it, but devices need to catch up. However, most Android handsets are compatible with the technology including the recently announced Samsung S6. One that isn’t RCS-ready though, is Apple’s iPhone.

RCS is a technology that will exist in devices native and allow users to share files, chat and make video calls. Kohli said from the operators’ point of view it is crucial it works on all devices.

Commenting on the recent news enterprise communications solutions provider Mitel is to acquire Mavenir, Kohli said the company will be in a better position to serve operator customers by taking advantage of Mitel’s enterprise capabilities. He said the company aims to bring enterprise telephony functions to consumer customers. “We’ll be able to synergise on a number of things,” he said. “There’s no reason why you couldn’t take all these functions you can do in the enterprise and offer them to tens of millions of users in native IP format. Making these available to millions of consumers via carriers is what we want to do.”

Telecoms.com’s coverage of Mobile World Congress 2015 is sponsored by NEC.

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