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Two related needs are of growing importance in current and future networks: the necessity of defining, managing and storing user-related information and the necessity of uniquely identify a user across different communications technologies and service platforms. This functionality can be exploited on the user side to personalize services, to improve the portability of services over heterogeneous terminals and devices and to adapt services to available networking and terminal technologies. On the network side, the same functionality can give to operators more powerful tools to define self-organizing, and autonomic networking systems. Such systems could be designed so as to be able to react autonomously to changing contexts and environments. In this paper, we first discuss some major trends in the evolution of telecommunications networks and particularize such trends to the case of TISPAN, a committee of ETSI specializing in fixed networks and Internet convergence. Then, we propose a comprehensive solution to manage profiles and identities. More specifically, we: (i) design a distributed architecture to manage users profile information that can be used by operators and third party service providers; (ii) introduce XDI, a data interchange mechanism, which can be used to handle profiles and identities in our approach and (iii) introduce the "Universal Communication Identifier" (UCI), under standardization in ETSI, which can be exploited by our identity management procedures. Our proposed solution is based on legacy standards, and it is fully in line with the choices and design guidelines of TISPAN; thus, it is perfectly fit to be integrated in TISPAN.