I listened in on a call yesterday that discussed the ongoing issue of voice and SMS on LTE networks. I've written before about 3GPP and certain vendors trying to use LTE as a lever to strong-arm operators into adopting IMS.
A year ago, it seemed like IMS had finally been put out to pasture by the mobile industry. Some innovation was occurring with partnerships like 3/Skype and E-Mobile/Jajah and Mobilelom/fring. But I underestimated the perpetual and desperate attempts by vendors, the 3GPP and the GSMA (through the ill-thought-out RCS initiative) to position it as the "default" choice for services on LTE networks. Although some vendor representatives grudgingly admit that LTE doesn't *mandate* IMS, it's still being heavily skewed towards it.
I've long held that IMS voice is precisely the wrong choice for mobile networks, for assorted reasons relating to handsets, web integration, emphasis on "multimedia", dependency on SIM cards and the overall cost/complexity involved. I'd now go further and say that the whole notion that "sessions" are a good way to describe human-to-human communication is fundamentally wrong - look at social networks as an example of this.
But despite the efforts of certain vendors to embrace the inevitability of integration with Internet applications, others still seen unable to grasp the realities. They can't bring themselves to mention words like "Skype" or "Facebook", "iPhone" or (whisper it) "Google Voice and Google Wave". They can't even bring themselves to use words like "handset" or "smartphone", still referring to "terminals" as if they were dumb green-screen boxes from the 1980s.
I'm simply staggered that some people still brazenly claim that IMS is "inevitable" in mobile, using phrases like "platform of choice". It just defies reality, especially from an end-user perspective.
Initially, I was going to make an ostrich analogy. But then another bird seemed more appropriate....
(With apologies to John Cleese and Michael Palin)
Scene: The Mobile Infrastructure shop. An operator enters a vendor's shop.
Operator: 'Ello, I wish to register a complaint.
(The vendor does not respond.)
O: 'Ello, Miss?
Vendor: What do you mean "miss"?
O: I'm sorry, I have a cold. I wish to make a complaint!
V: We're closin' for lunch.
O: Never mind that, my lad. I wish to complain about this IMS platform I purchased not half an hour ago from this very boutique.
V: Oh yes, the, uh, the 3GPP standard...What's,uh...What's wrong with it?
O: I'll tell you what's wrong with it, my lad. 'E's dead, that's what's wrong with it!
V: No, no, 'e's uh,...he's resting.
O: Look, matey, I know a dead application platform when I see one, and I'm looking at one right now.
V: No no he's not dead, he's, he's restin'! Remarkable platform, the 3GPP standard, idn'it, ay? Beautiful combinational multimedia services!
O: The multimedia don't enter into it. It's stone dead.
V: Nononono, no, no! 'E's resting!
O: All right then, if he's restin', I'll wake him up!
(shouting at the cage)
'Ello, Mister IMS! I've got a lovely fresh LTE network for you if you show...(owner hits the cage)
V: There, he moved!
O: No, he didn't, that was you hitting the cage!
V: I never!!
O: Yes, you did!
V: I never, never did anything...
O: (yelling and hitting the cage repeatedly) 'ELLO IMS!!!!!
IMS!!!! Come on, wake up! IMS!!!
(Takes application platform of the cage and thumps its VoIP and messaging servers on the counter. Throws it up in the air and watches it plummet to the floor.)
O: Now that's what I call a dead platform
V: No, no.....No, 'e's stunned!
V: Yeah! You stunned him, just as he was wakin' up! IMS platforms stun easily, major.
O: Um...now look...now look, mate, I've 'ad just about enough of this. That platform is definitely deceased, and when I purchased it not 'alf an hour ago, you assured me that its total lack of movement was due to it bein' tired and shagged out following a prolonged wait for a suitable LTE network.
V: Well, he's...he's, ah...probably pining for the Rich Communications Suite
O: PININ' for the RCS?!?!?!? What kind of talk is that?, look, why did he completely ignore the Internet the moment I got 'im home?
V: The IMS prefers ignorin' the Internet! Remarkable platform, id'nit, squire? Lovely multimedia combinational services!
O: Look, I took the liberty of examining that platform I got it home, and I discovered the only reason that it had been sitting on its LTE network in the first place was that it had been NAILED there by the standards committee.
V: Well, o'course it was nailed there! If I hadn't nailed that platform down, it would have nuzzled up to those OTTs, opened its APIs, and VOOM! Feeweeweewee!
O: "VOOM"?!? Mate, this platform wouldn't "voom" if you put four million sessions through it! 'E's bleedin' demised!
V: No no! 'E's pining!
O: 'E's not pinin'! 'E's passed on! This platform is no more! He has ceased to be! 'E's expired and gone to meet 'is maker! This is a late platform!
'E's a stiff! Bereft of life, 'e rests in peace! If you hadn't nailed 'im to the LTE network 'e'd be pushing up the daisies!
'Is metabolic processes are now 'istory! 'E's off the handset!
'E's kicked the bucket, 'e's shuffled off 'is mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin' choir invisibile!!
THIS IS AN EX-PLATFORM!!
V: Well, I'd better replace it then
O: If you want to get anything done in this industry, you've got to complain until you're blue in the mouth
V: Er, sorry guv, but we're right out of platforms
O: I see, I see, I get the picture
V: I've got a DPI and differential QoS box
O: Does it work?
V: Not really, no
O: It's scarcely a replacement then, is it?
V: I tell you what.. if you go to my brother's infrastructure shop in the cloud, he'll replace your platform for you.