During Verizon Wireless' conference call yesterday announcing the Advanced IMS (A-IMS) initiative with five vendors, several reporters asked whether competitors might become a part of the initiative. It's clear Cingular Wireless won't. A spokesman for the operator told FierceWireless that either operators or standards bodies are in fact addressing many of the shortcomings Verizon and its group of vendors claim A-IMS is working to solve. Cingular, which will likely roll out some IMS services this year, is debunking the notion that security should be addressed in the IMS standard. Rather, it says, operators need the flexibility to address specific security issues and not have security embedded in a standard. Further, Cingular says it and the 3GPP standards body, which works on standards for UMTS and beyond, are in fact addressing the ability to support non-SIP applications, even though it's not a specific work plan. In terms of policy management: "A great deal has changed in 3GPP since 3GPP2 (CDMA standards body) adopted IMS Release 5 as their baseline," said Cingular spokesman Ritch Blasi. "Policy is clearly addressed in upcoming releases of the standard, as are things such as charging and QoS."
That said, Cingular says it intends to have conversations with both Verizon and other vendors involved to better understand their positions on the matter. Verizon Wireless CTO Dick Lynch said yesterday that "there's nothing in A-IMS in any way that inhibits interaction with the capabilities of the IMS infrastructure that some other carrier may have chosen to deploy."
Stay tuned for more reactions to the A-IMS initiative. To learn more about various carriers' IMS initiatives, be sure to attend our IMS Event in Washington, D.C. We're covering both the technical and business issues and will have a number of knowledgeable speakers from Sprint, Verizon, and other companies. Use the promotional code "LUNA" to receive $200 off your registration.