Oracle Digs Heels Into Telecom Space

Oracle targets support for telecommunications carriers, unveiling plans for a service delivery platform (SDP).

April 19, 2006

3 Min Read
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Oracle Corp. made a move to target support for telecommunications carriers Tuesday, unveiling plans for a service delivery platform (SDP).

The plan means designing the SDP to assist carriers, network operators and systems integrators transition to service-oriented architecture (SOA) as pressure mounts to install an Internet-protocol (IP) network, speed provisioning and more quickly deliver service offerings based on industry standards, Parlay and Session Initiation Protocol (SIP).

About 90 percent of the telecommunications carriers, such as Vodofone and Nextel, already use Oracle applications or infrastructure; Nine U.S. and European mobile operator deploy Oracle database, and 17 of the world's top 20 communications companies use applications, said Charles Phillips, co-president of Oracle during a call with analysts and press.

The pressure presents Oracle with opportunities to deliver products that let telecommunication carriers build new services, Phillips said.

These range from voice over IP (VoIP) and video conferencing to data and mobile. To offer these services, telecommunications carriers will converge traditional voice networks with data IP backbones to offer all services.Preparing for the transition, Oracle has been buying-up small, niche players with roughly three employees to build-out database, middleware and enterprise application.

Some of the acquired technology has gone toward digging deeper into the telecommunications sector, Sonny Singh, Oracle's senior vice president global industries business unit, told TechWeb Monday at the company's campus in Redwood Shores, Calif. "Some of these companies are very small," he said. "A few people offering something very specialized in that space."

Pieces of the SDP are available. SDP, so far, includes Oracle 10g relational database, real application clusters, as well as Oracle TimesTen In-Memory Database acquired in June. HotSIP, acquired in February, enables Internet protocol multimedia subsystems (IMS); and Net4Call, which supports legacy networks, has helped to fill out the platform.

Oracle plans to deliver additional functions later this year. The strategy will provide one programming environment based on J2EE, making it easier for developers to deploy new and integrate exiting services more quickly. SDP also includes messaging capabilities to access content from mobile devices, as well as adapters that connect the platform to network components and telecommunications equipment.

The application layer for telecommunications carriers focuses on order management, fulfillment and billing. They're being built with technologies from Oracle and Siebel, and now Portal Software Inc., after Oracle announced intensions last week to acquire the company for $220 million in cash.Portal offers billing and revenue management software used by communications companies in the wireless, cable, broadband, Internet and wireline telephone sectors.

Oracle will expand offering through Fusion middleware, giving users access to newer mobile, voice services and enterprise applications through traditional networks, and those based on IMS and voice over IP (VoIP).

Still in the works are call-control across IMS and legacy networks, integration with billing systems, support for device management and device repository, as well as services that include mobile content delivery, VoIP and virtual public branch exchange.

Oracle also said SDP will support the Oracle Application Server and products BEA Systems and JBoss.

Carriers can expect other products, too, as Oracle continues to build a service-delivery platform based on industry protocols. "We are working with Accenture to combine their capabilities around distributed auto fulfillment with our applications to create a solution for the market," Singh said.0

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