Around the World

Posted: July 29th, 2011 | Author: OSS Team | Filed under: Around the World | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

Customer Acquisition
Consumer demand is forcing operators to look for new and creative ways to expand their businesses and generate profit. Some operators are increasing their network capacity to capitalize on the growing popularity of smart devices, such as the iPhone and iPad, and uptake of data services, while others are rethinking how to create loyalty and reduce churn through close customer focus.

As journalist Nithyasree Trivikram writes, in the Middle East, “where there are low-end subscribers and high penetration levels, there is more of a focus on strong distribution and active promotions” that target different customer segments. In comparison, with higher-end, mobile broadband services, operators will brand dongles and bundle them with value added services; for example, Vodafone Qatar offered free Facebook access to acquire customers and are also enhancing customer service by speaking over five languages in their call centres.

Moving forward, Nithyasree predicts that telcos will veer away from the primary role of network operators, and instead increase their focus on developing partnerships, digitizing the economy, and improving customer experience.

Total Telecom…
India May Auction More Wireless Broadband Spectrum
India’s Department of Telecommunications stated that it may auction more bandwidth for wireless broadband services. The main goal may be to boost the government’s finances; last year, the auctioning of two slots of wireless broadband brought in $8.23 billion. But, the operator benefits include the ability to provide high-speed Internet access as well as Internet telephony and television services. Auction winners can eventually use the bandwidth for voice and high-speed data services, as well. This is perhaps even more important as the future of more 2G and 3G bandwidth remains uncertain.

It will be interesting to see how this plan unfolds throughout the coming months. In a previous Around the World blog post, we highlighted India’s telecom landscape and the country’s insatiable demand for mobile communications services. This article is proof that legislation will play a big role in India’s future growth.

Telco Cloud Providers Must Partner with IT Services Players: Ovum
According to a new report from analyst firm Ovum, telcos face operational challenges when it comes to offering cloud services. Ovum analyst and report author Mark Giles believes that operators have focused on getting cloud services to market quickly rather than on the complex and timely process of adapting their existing OSS/BSS to fit a cloud delivery model. But, the analyst notes, telcos can truly make their mark in the cloud by bringing internal network and IT teams together and collaborating with IT providers.

However, not everyone agrees with Ovum’s views. Alex Leslie of Connected Planet thinks that the analyst firm “missed the mark” and over-generalised in its report. He argues that telcos have invested in OSS/BSS technologies like real-time charging and policy control in order to support cloud’s on-demand service delivery model. Which opinion do you agree with?

Around the World

Posted: December 10th, 2010 | Author: OSS Team | Filed under: Around the World | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »…
Realising the Value of Policy Control
Like Bob Machin, Informa Telecoms & Media analyst Peter Dykes recognised an interesting trend at this year’s Broadband Traffic Management conference – the growing realization that policy control can do more than just address operators’ pain points of capacity and usage issues.  While managing bandwidth is certainly a challenge for most operators, others are exploring policy control solutions for business growth opportunities.  Small operators in highly competitive emerging markets perceive policy control as differentiating technology because they are able to implement more effective loyalty campaigns and discounts in markets that are susceptible to high rates of churn.  Research from a number of sources including Informa has shown that while the ‘capacity crunch’ is an issue, where, when and how it occurs varies from network to network.  Peter states that “the likelihood is, however, that once this issue has been addressed, those operators using policy control in a more customer-facing manner will serve as examples of what else is possible with a little imagination.”

TM Forum’s Inside Revenue Management…
The BSS/OSS Beast
For years, industry professionals have grappled with the BSS/OSS divide, and whether or not the two should be differentiated.  But the results of a recent TM Forum’s BSS/OSS survey and a well-attended BSS roundtable at Management World Americas shed some new light on this debate.  People still view the 36 processes or functions that were noted in the survey as being predominantly BSS or OSS (41% and 19% respectively), but that almost one-third were both.  The general consensus is that just as CSPs remove the operational silos in current transformation projects, they should also remove the BSS/OSS silos as well.  The TM Forum is focusing their attention on integrating the BSS OSS space.  Keep an eye out for more on this subject via TM Forum’s website, blogs and communities.  Also, you can read some of the survey comments in Tony Poulos’ article, Support Systems by Any Other Name…

Light Reading…
Boom Time for Policy
Heavy Reading’s Graham Finnie raises an interesting question about the future of policy management –“despite [the] extremely positive picture for the sector, one big question remains: will policy tools now go on to assume the wider role in the network of the future that many inside in the industry are betting on?”.  Exploring this a bit further, the analyst firm conducted a survey and found that traffic management is the number one catalyst today for deploying policy tools (nothing surprising here).  Yet, many vendors are emphasizing the creation of more personalized services with policy control solutions.  Results show that there is certainly strong interest in personalizing services to differentiate from competitors; however, it is not the core catalyst.  Finnie points to five things that need to happen before policy can “really move to the heart of the mobile service package and creation story”:

  • First, operators and vendors need to engage with product development and marketing groups inside the telcos.
  • Second, a related point, policy creation tools need to be as easy to use as possible, so that marketing can build and deploy policies themselves.
  • Third, network operators need assurance that integration with subscriber data stores and charging systems will deliver what’s required at an acceptable cost.
  • Fourth, operators need assurances that greater policy complexity will not cause the policy platform to fall over, or become impossible to manage.
  • And fifth, policy will need to be deployed end-to-end, including in the RAN and at the individual cell level.

What do you think the number one catalyst is?

Are We Already Entering a New Era for Policy Control?

Posted: November 22nd, 2010 | Author: Bob Machin | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , | 8 Comments »

Last week, Comptel attended and sponsored Informa’s Broadband Traffic Management conference at the Grand Connaught Rooms in London.

To judge from the numbers and the buzz, data traffic management is a very hot topic. This was the second outing for the Broadband Traffic Management show, and numbers had more or less doubled since last year, as the eyes of the industry increasingly turn to how the undoubted boom in data services can be turned into significant revenues.

In truth, the scope of presentations was a lot more than strictly traffic management; although a significant number of speakers examined purely engineering issues (with congestion in the Radio Access Network, a particularly hot button), while others (including Comptel’s Ihsen Fekih on Wednesday’s panel discussion) looked at the crossover between network and software solutions. The overall scope was much more about the balance of traffic, investment and revenue, or as Comptel puts it: balancing revenue, customer satisfaction and resources.

It was interesting that almost everyone is still starting from the same point. That familiar slide, which shows the cost of supporting traffic volumes diverging from anticipated revenues, has become more or less iconic (to the extent that you need only to see its shape to get the point), but it came up many times, usually accompanied by a wry smile on the part of the speaker.

But across the two days it was clear that emphasis is now on using the levers of control and charge much more to encourage and allow use than to deny access—not least because traffic patterns seem to be swinging dramatically away from peer-to-peer dominance and towards a more mass-market, consumer-oriented pattern of use dominated by Internet access and content download. The real pressure on networks is from video-based services (primarily YouTube) and streaming media from providers, such as the BBC and Netflix, used by a wide consumer demographic—not just teenagers exchanging illegal games, movies and music. This looks certain to accelerate with the increasing penetration of more powerful smartphones and highly portable tablet devices.

It could be that we’re already moving from Policy Control 1.0 to Policy Control 2.0 in a way which is almost philosophical. Where the first wave was dominated by the need to control (and indeed deter) the use of data services, the second is about taking a much more liberal approach which encourages data use but aims to flatten out peaks and troughs in demand, spreading usage more evenly across networks, geographies and timespans to allow a much better return on capital investment. A number of speakers indicated how solutions to traffic management are by no means all about smarter and cheaper engineering. Good business analytics are key to a better understanding of customer behavior, and can be used alongside levers, such as variable charging, usage control and targeted promotions, to shape usage and maximise return. Taken alongside a number of parallel approaches which are finding real economies in the engineering of data networks, it’s starting to look like gold could be buried in those mountains of data after all.