Carriers are at an impasse these days: what technology to adopt for their next communication platform?
They are about to roll out LTE services, which are all-IP mobile broadband. And at the same time, they are being pressured by OTT players who are now offering services instead of the carriers.
Carriers can select to go with Joyn, or with an OTT solution: Telefonica, T-Mobile and Telio have such offerings already.
Migrating to LTE means switching from the good old circuit switched technology they are using today for voice calls to something else – VoIP based. The carrier solution coming from GSMA is called RCS and is now branded as Joyn.
But there is another alternative, and that is to play the OTT game: to build a VoIP solution that ignores anyone else but the carrier’s own network, and to build the touch points to other networks in the form of gateways – similar to how Skype provides SkypeIn and SkypeOut services on the technology side.
Which should it be?
If you look at the official Joyn website and check which operators are adopting it, you will find Telefonica and Vodafone, with Orange coming soon. Telefonica, though, have its own vested interest in Jajah, with their recently launched TU Me OTT service. Hmm.
Carriers aren’t committing at the moment to either option. Those that can try to test both, and in both cases with low profile.
Aapo Markkanen provides his insights on both technologies on ABI research.
The problem that I see is that when Joyn/RCS finally becomes available – even on a wide range of handsets, thanks to operators’ bullying efforts – its upgrade cycles will be far too long. It has taken a long time to develop, and I don’t have any reason why the forces behind it would be more agile when it comes to taking it further.
On the TU Me OTT play:
That’s the likeliest reason why Telefonica has decided to hedge its bets with TU Me […]
It will be able to move faster, release and experiment on products in beta, and kill off unviable projects early on. That’s something what most telecoms operators, let alone a consortium of them, simply won’t be able to do.
So you see, carriers can either choose ubiquity with Joyn or go for a Telco OTT play of their own.
Where and how WebRTC fits in here if at all? That’s for another post.