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The By-Carriers-For-Carriers Consortium That's Here to Solve the Industry's Biggest Challenges

Voice

By Jayne MillerMay 24, 2019

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As a TeleGeography reader, it’s likely that you’ve seen the name i3forum before.

This unique consortium is bringing together carriers to take on industry-wide challenges. IoT? PBX Security? NFV? They’ve thought about how all of these topics are impacting the modern carrier.

A Senior Vice President at Tata Communications and i3forum Vice Chair Christian Michaud kindly took the time to give us an inside look at the way i3forum does business and what new challenges are on the horizon.

JM: To start, tell us a little about i3forum and your experience with the consortium.

CM: Yes, i3forum brings the international carrier ecosystem together to enable and accelerate transformation. We’re a not-for-profit, membership-funded forum with 23 members. Tata Communications and I have been involved since it launched in 2008.

As a by-carriers-for-carriers group, we’ve tackled TDM to IP adoption, delivering a series of recommendations and best practices to help the industry transition.

As a by-carriers-for-carriers group, we’ve tackled TDM to IP adoption, delivering a series of recommendations and best practices to help the industry transition. And we’ve expanded our scope to cover a whole range of carrier challenges and industry transformation in general.

We’ve proven the value of the forum through these deliverables. We’re seeing similar successes as we take on other challenges. We have a critical mass of carriers involved and we’re all dedicated to making our industry more successful.

JM: What benefits does i3forum provide its members?

CM: Members are fueled by a shared purpose and mission to shape the future of our industry.

We’re not a standardization body. Instead, we work closely with other industry organizations. We focus on actionable, pragmatic recommendations for international carriers.

I’d say that you should join i3forum if you want to collaborate more with the carrier community, influence the industry, share information, and learn from your peers. It’s a great place to test new ideas within the larger carrier community and foster adoption of new technologies and practices that support innovative strategies.

And if we remain focused, we know that we can build the agile, adaptable, and profitable carrier businesses of the future.

While we compete fearlessly among carriers, we believe in this collaboration. And if we remain focused, we know that we can build the agile, adaptable, and profitable carrier businesses of the future.

This organization values the diversity of its membership. It strives to take an unbiased, holistic approach, factoring in the multiple technical, operational, business angles from the perspective of different types of stakeholders.

JM: What are the major challenges i3forum hopes to tackle in the coming year? Two years? Five years?

CM: Members of the i3forum participate in work groups that report directly to our board. These work groups are created based on membership input, industry insight, and the priorities of our board.

Current work groups include technology, the fight against voice fraud, a numbering plan initiative, leveraging blockchain technology, and an exciting new market database project that we'll being sharing more details about very soon.

Our members select the topics to address. We provide a platform for members to explore, share, and debate the challenges facing carrier business.

We manage projects to deliver actionable results for the industry, promote recommendations, and liaise with other industry bodies like the GSMA where we're the “voice of the international carriers industry.”

As carrier business changes, I expect the topics we address will change as well. We’re driven by our members’ specific challenges and where we can add the most value in the carrier ecosystem.

As carrier business changes, I expect the topics we address will change as well. We’re driven by our members’ specific challenges and where we can add the most value in the carrier ecosystem.

JM: You've referenced some data-centric announcements coming from i3forum in the coming weeks. Anything you can tease for our readers?

CM: Yes, we’re going to be announcing an exciting new market database for international voice services. Just like all of our work, it’s going to be shaped by carriers, for carriers. And your readers will be happy to know that TeleGeography will be playing a big role in this project.

Stay tuned for more information. Better yet, ITW attendees can join us on June 26 for a proper unveiling of this new tool and partnership.

i3forum

cmichaud

Christian Michaud is a Senior Vice President at Tata Communications and Vice Chair at the i3forum.