Among the 12 European incumbents who are migrating to Next Generation Networks (NGN) (i.e. from Time Division Multiplexing (TDM) to Internet Protocol (IP)), InfoCom’s latest Telecom Strategies and Trends article revealed that most of them tend to use the MSAN approach for Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) adoption, especially for conservative markets with a large number of existing POTS (analogue) customers.
The MSAN solution converts analogue or digital/ISDN telephone signals into IP voice packets but not at the customer premises (i.e. signal conversion is done at the street cabinet or local exchange), and this is primarily adopted because this allows the operators to implement an IP core and switch off their legacy networks without interfering with the customer premises.
This is unlike other VoIP approaches such as Voice over Broadband (VoBB) with gateway (i.e. operators offer a router for customers who are still using old TDM equipment) or without gateway (i.e. customers move on from older TDM equipment (analogue phones, PBX, etc.) for IP deskphones or softphones) – both of which tend to result in higher customer churn risk.
While this is the case, InfoCom believes that operators will eventually offer solely VoBB without gateway even though they initially opted for an MSAN-based migration. Although an MSAN presents some advantages over VoBB (e.g. better voice quality), we believe that this approach is only beneficial to countries with a still relatively high single play PSTN penetration (e.g. Germany, UK) and that it may be a less suited solution for markets that are more mobile and broadband-centric.
This article further expounds the status of IP migration and legacy network switch off dates of different incumbents (e.g. A1, British Telecom, Deutsche Telekom Group, Orange and Swisscom) as well as detailed arguments on MSAN and VoBB approaches.