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Summary

Over the past year, IPX traffic has grown dramatically. IPX providers are reporting two-, three-, and fourfold levels of traffic growth on the back of LTE data roaming and signaling. However, at this point, all this traffic is service-unaware. As such, it is creating a business that will be defined by a race to the bottom, with reach and price the only differentiators. IPX providers need to find ways to use the full capabilities of IPX to increase revenues, but to do that they need to market their capabilities much better, starting with the other divisions in their own groups.

Marketing class-of-service sales starts internally

The main benefits of IPX can be summarized as a secure, private network, with the ability to differentiate QoS according to service, which is supported by a commercial structure for the complex settlement of payments among multiple entities. Yet, there is not a single example of an IPX provider selling these capabilities effectively.

The problems with adoption of IPX functionality can be easily explained away by saying that customers are just not asking for these capabilities. However, that is a poor excuse.

The features of IPX can support a wide array of use cases, from the on-demand, one-off connection of a roaming user to a videoconference, to the support of a remote piece of mission-critical medical equipment that needs a guaranteed low-latency connection across national borders. These are the kinds of challenges that enterprise divisions are trying to solve now. That IPX is not being seen as part of the solution comes down to communication.

Most IPX providers have a strong customer base among mobile operators and excellent relationships with their customers’ roaming and interconnection teams. However, that is where the relationships end. In order to drive the adoption of IPX’s service-aware capabilities and market class-of-service differentiation, IPX providers need to have conversations with product development, strategy, and marketing teams within enterprise divisions.

Enterprise divisions represent a new customer segment for IPX providers but a necessary one. As so many IPX providers are part of larger service provider groups and often fall under the umbrella of enterprise, it makes sense for IPX providers to start within their own groups. From these discussions, IPX sales and marketing teams can develop the language and storylines to communicate more effectively with external enterprise divisions.

The need for IPX providers to communicate with teams beyond operations is something we also highlighted as important in the development of VoLTE and ViLTE roaming (see VoLTE Roaming Confusion and the IPX Provider Opportunity for more). The time has come for IPX providers to upgrade their marketing functions, identify where class of service can be beneficial, and sell the outcome, not the technology.

Appendix

Further reading

VoLTE Roaming Confusion and the IPX Provider Opportunity, TE0012-000575 (July 2016)

IPX Providers Key to New Service Revenue Growth for MNOs, TE0012-000558 (November 2015)

“LTE entices mobile operators to consider becoming IPX providers,” TE0012-000534 (March 2015)

The Future of International Interconnection, TE0012-000528 (December 2014)

ITW 2014 Highlights New Trends in International Interconnection, TE0012-000509 (June 2014)

Putting IPX in Its Place, TE012-000448 (March 2013)

Author

Catherine Haslam, Senior Analyst, Telecoms Wholesale

catherine.haslam@ovum.com

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