With the acquisitions of the VoIP 1.0 softswitch vendors, including BroadSoft, GENBAND, and Metaswitch, communication service providers are asking: what is the future of my VoIP softswitch network? Is my current supplier the one that can take me to the web-scale, cloud-centric future?
With all the supplier changes, planning for voice network evolution just got more complicated for communication service providers (CSPs). With any vendor M&A and ownership change, there’s always logical speculation:
- Will prices increase?
- What products will be shelved and canceled?
- How will support change?
- Will I have fewer ecosystem choices?
- What migration pain and cost lies ahead?
- Will my vendor change its go-to-market and become a new competitor?
- Is my vendor committed to enabling service providers?
Couple that set of unknowns with this important question: does the vendor have a cohesive and comprehensive solution to get me from TDM and VoIP 1.0 to the all-IP cloud? Softswitches and Class 5 switches of yesteryear are nearing, if not already past, the end-of-life. The time is now for building road maps that address the obsolescence of today’s networks and provides a future-proof platform for growth.
What’s next? We know it’s cloud-native, virtualized software. But service providers are frustrated with the pace, cost and complexity of today’s NFV VoIP solutions. As CSPs grapple with voice infrastructure evolution and putting together their road maps, the traditional vendor options are shrinking. With this supplier consolidation, will the pace and scope of innovation also suffer?
A new solution category has emerged that addresses today’s market realities and can help service providers facing this evolution conundrum: the cloud communications platform (CCP). CCPs let service providers launch or evolve voice services, quickly and cost-effectively, while maintaining strict control over branding, pricing, and customer service. CCPs provide a clear business case for voice by eliminating complex infrastructure and align investments with revenues with a future-proof, always-evolving solution. A CCP enables CSPs to customize and build on an already scalable, fully virtualized infrastructure, and leverage flexible tools and APIs in place to make phone services a margin-rich growth engine.
Using a cloud-based platform (versus software to build your own cloud), service providers can leverage virtualized software and cloud elasticity, without the significant capital investment and organizational distraction of building the next network. With integrated Web-based management portals and Web services APIs, a CCP simplifies operations and enables rapid integration with back-office systems so service providers can maintain control over billing, provisioning, and customer service.
By cloud sourcing next-generation voice services, service providers can get clear answers to the questions raised by vendor M&A:
- Costs decrease: pay-as-you-grow SaaS financial models eliminate upfront commitments and tightly align costs with revenues, while also lowering OPEX
- Future-proof: you’re investing in a continuously enriched platform
- APIs and programmability means a diverse and open ecosystem
- This is your last vendor/technology migration ever
- True partner: the cloud communications platform is purpose-built for service providers, not a repurposed and white labeled retail solution
In fact, a Heavy Reading survey of CSPs found that adoption of a cloud voice platform, ranks among the top three priorities for voice platform evolution and 77% of CSP respondents will consider a cloud voice platform as a solution within the next three years.
The changing vendor landscape along with the emergence of the new SaaS platform solutions may just accelerate the CSP transition to the cloud. Read more about this new approach to service provider cloud communications in our white paper Service Provider VoIP: Next-Gen is the Cloud.
Note: this blog post was originally published in December 2017 and updated.