Report: Some operators better off dropping voice services in LTE world

Consultancy Northstream is making the argument that some mobile operators could very well become data-only network providers once GSM networks come to the end of their lives.

In a white paper title "LTE--The Bigger Picture," Northstream said that once GSM hits the end, operators are faced with investments in solutions that will enable voice over LTE. They may decide that wireless data will simply be their core business.

"It appears clear that the telecoms industry has agreed on using IMS and MMTel (Multimedia Telephony) as a standard for voice over LTE," the firm said. "Sooner or later, operators must decide whether to invest in voice, or whether to slowly exit the voice segment as GSM networks approach their end of life. Some operators may conclude that LTE voice revenues do not justify the the related costs and uncertainties."

Northstream said operators will weigh the cost of service platforms, RCS solutions, device software, handset subsidies and customer service. Moreover, Northstream believes online service providers such as Skype, Google and Facebook are jumping into the voice market with plans to offer richer services such as contact management, presence and video calling. 

"This raises the bar for operators to deliver a service that today's mobile voice is just a small part of," Northstream said.

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