Bling Your Ring!

Hello, do I have your attention? I thought I might get at least a few more eyeballs out of sheer curiosity based on the blog title, “Bling Your Ring”. A cheap trick, I admit, and in the spirit of honesty it’s not even a title of my own creation. I poached it from a Digicel campaign for ringback tones running in South America and I recently used their ad in a webinar we did called, “Using SS7 / SIGTRAN to Solve Today’s Network Challenges.”

So where am I going with this entry? Well, for starters, just because LTE and Femtocell are the darlings of the analyst and press community doesn’t mean you can sleep on SS7 / SIGTRAN, which is quietly growing into an $8.7B marketplace (larger than the projections for femtocell and LTE combined, by the way). That’s right – and the SS7 / SIGTRAN market is growing! So you might be wondering, “How in the world can a 20-year-old technology domain be growing?” Keep reading and all shall be revealed.

First off, growth is being driven by Value Added Services (VAS) like the ring-blinging ringback tones provided by Digicel and every other major mobile operator worldwide. Ringback tones alone are a multi-billion dollar market, while the gigantic mobile messaging market (e.g., text / multimedia messaging, instant messaging, and e-mail) is topping $100B worldwide.

At the core of VAS is SS7 technology. VAS is extremely enticing for operators as they are relatively low cost to deploy, they piggy-back on existing mobile infrastructure and they have the potential to create a huge uptick in ARPU. Messaging is already massively popular on a global scale and what I have observed is an insatiable appetite for derivative VAS (e.g., text voting, banking, marketing, etc.) in the world’s largest growing mobile markets, namely India and China. Net-net, there is a huge opportunity in VAS and it is all based on SS7.

The second reason why SS7 / SIGTRAN is growing is service continuity. Holy buzzword Batman, I know… but if you can get past the fact that service continuity is a supremely overused term in our industry (emphasis on can) you will realize it’s a huge driver for additional SS7 – and more specifically SIGTRAN – deployments. Hopefully, it is not a huge leap to see why: if I am an operator deploying a new access network, say LTE for example, I want to enable new services for sure, but I certainly can’t cut off my subscribers from their beloved existing services in the process.

Enter SIGTRAN. Defined over a decade ago, SIGTRAN provides a cost-effective way to port existing SS7-based network elements over IP allowing for seamless transition without service deprivation. [Maybe “service deprivation” can be a new buzz-worthy term, but I digress… ]

In the end, don’t get me wrong, I love LTE and Femtocell as much as the next telcocrat [Ed: telco-rat?] and, like most everyone else, spend the majority of my time talking, writing and making pure PowerPoint magic related to these hot technologies. I just think it’s too easy to miss the “What Is?” when engulfed in the “What’s Hot?” – and that, frankly, is SS7 and SIGTRAN enabled applications.

Don’t miss out!

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