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XConnect and GSMA Open Way to VoIP-Cellular Interconnection

VoIP and cellular services alike can do a lot of things that conventional landline services can't. For example, they can transmit both voice and various other kinds of data between phones or other end devices. That capability makes possible all kinds interesting combined services, often starting with or based on the ability to detect users' presence – that is, their availability to receive calls or respond to messages.

Once those services encounter the traditional phone network, or PSTN (public switched telephone network), though, they hit a roadblock. The PSTN can transmit only voice calls and limited kinds of call-related data. That means presence and other information, not to mention the various kinds of video or other data streams themselves, can't get through. A new deal between XConnect and the GSM Association, or GSMA, attempts to circumvent that roadblock.

The deal will ensure interoperability between XConnect's ENUM Registry Services and GSMA's PathFinder number translation service. In practical terms, that will let VoIP providers get the phone numbers of GSM subscribers they want to route calls and other services to, and will let GSM cellular operators similarly get the phone numbers of VoIP subscribers. That in turn will allow VoIP and GSM providers to connect their networks directly, rather than having to send their traffic to each other via PSTN gateways.

The arrangement opens the door for the proliferation of a variety of so-called rich and convergent services. Among other things, direct connection will allow the routing of packet voice, instant messaging, multimedia services, e-mail and video between the two types of networks. And it will vastly increase the number of IP devices or end points each connected provider can reach.


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