2017 was a bad year to be selling VoLTE – 2018 will be better

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2017 was not a good year for the VoLTE vendor business, according to Dell’Oro Group. The good news: the market is expected to experience double-digit growth in 2018.

2017 was a tough year for VoLTE due to overcapacity in the network and delayed spending by service providers that were evaluating NFV strategies for the coming years, said David Bolan, senior analyst at Dell’Oro Group.

“In 2018, leading service providers around the world have started to implement their digital transformation and we believe this will increase VoLTE demand by a double-digit percentage rate,” Bolan said.

Another factor contributing to growth this year is “the continuing demand in markets like India among other countries where VoLTE is becoming a standard service – as opposed to a premium service – that is activated in new handset sales going forward,” he added.

Nokia topped the market in 2017 with Ericsson and Huawei following in second and third.

According to Dell’Oro’s 4Q17 Carrier IP Telephony Report, VoLTE digital transformation is accelerating with NFV with cloud-native virtual network functions for session border controllers (SBC), voice application servers (VAS), and the IMS core – the primary infrastructure elements for VoLTE networks.

Driving the demand for VAS is the growth in real-time communication messaging and the coming wide-scale adoption of the RCS standard. RCS is poised to replace SMS with broad carrier support in countries across the world, Dell’Oro says. VAS could accelerate faster than the forecast if the Apple iPhone adds RCS support.

Meanwhile, growth in SBCs is being driven by the increasing needs for security. Older SBCs are being upgraded with the latest security threat mitigation provided in today’s SBCs.

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