IP-based services are central to the future growth of mobile, particularly the evolution of 3G networks and services which will offer users a wide range of new applications and services, including:
- innovative messaging solutions
- rich content delivery of simultaneous voice and images
- multimedia solutions
- other data services that connect mobile and internet.
Improved quality and efficiencies
IP-based networks also provide improved quality of service capabilities, enabling high-bandwidth applications to be delivered across mobile networks.
The trend towards an all-IP environment is an important enabler to make convergence a reality at network, service, application and device levels.
These developments also provide an opportunity for improvements in economic efficiency and customer welfare, with supply more closely matched to customer demand.
To realise these benefits, regulatory principles need to be established to support rather than constrain innovation and investment.
The GSMA is undertaking an extensive technical programme relating to IP Interworking and the development of an IP exchange (IPX) concept to ensure successful interoperability.
The GSMA has also initiated a regulatory working group to undertake research and promote a regulatory environment that stimulates growth, innovation, investment and consumer benefits. Its ultimate goal is to support the successful implementation of new mobile IP-based services as GSM networks evolve towards 3G and beyond.
GSMA study on IP interworking
A GSMA commissioned economic consultancy firm CRA International and law firm Gilbert+Tobin to conduct an economic study on IP networking. The study concluded that there is no “one-size-fits-all” IP interconnect charging model that delivers superior efficiency in all situations.
The study also made recommendations for regulators and governments:
- Proceed cautiously in mandating IP interconnection charging models for the unfolding NGN IP environment.
- Don’t mandate a single charging model: Even if a particular charging model develops considerable commercial currency, it does not follow that this model would be an appropriate “one-size-fits-all” model to mandate.
- Don’t assume that currently perceived bottlenecks would be replicated in an NGN environment.
- Use existing regulatory frameworks that, based on objective tests of market power, are likely to be adequate to resolve problems should they arise.
- Where regulators identify market failure, or are requested to resolve disputes, intervention should be based on sound consumer welfare analysis and applied only as broadly as necessary to solve the problem.