Ensuring Everybody Is Ready for Number Portability Implementation

Posted: June 7th, 2011 | Author: Special Contributor | Filed under: Industry Insights | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

By Samantha Tanner, Telecoms IQ at IQPC

The most important aspect when implementing number portability is making sure that awareness of the service transcends regulators, operators and customers to ensure a smooth implementation and allow greater choice in taking up the service.

Number portability’s overall aim is to allow mobile phone subscribers the choice of changing service providers whilst keeping their existing numbers. Therefore, it allows greater freedom for customers, while pushing operators into offering an improved service and creating greater competition. So, in order to make Number Portability successful from all sides, how do you go about promoting it?

Malta is a successful case study in how to promote Number Portability before implementation in order to create awareness of the service. Although full number portability was not implemented in the country until 2006, the idea was set in motion in 2005 when the Malta Communications Authority published its Number Portability proposal. A full campaign was strategically planned in order to make the Maltese people aware of the new service that would be made available to them.

Philip Micallef, chief executive of the Malta Communications Authority (MCA), explained this decision: “This period was very important as it was set in order to give the industry time to set the various processes involved. In the meantime, when this decision was published, it was featured prominently in the media, including the main television stations during prime time news. A number of interviews undertaken by MCA staff on the subject also took place during this period and were well covered by a number of newspapers, radio programmes and television programmes.”

Additionally, the regulator promoted the service with SMS short codes and sent out information booklets to provide the information that mobile phone users would need in order to make a decision on whether to take advantage of the service or not.

The process of promoting the scheme in Malta has carried on beyond the inception of Number Portability. As Philip Micallef explains, “Public awareness is also being extenuated by the operators who are now marketing number portability in their own campaigns trying to attract people to subscribe with them, and at the same time, keeping their telephone numbers. The result of the public awareness on number portability is evident by the high number of porting statistics.”

This is in stark contrast to the situation currently being played out with Number Portability implementation in Kenya. Although the service was announced and implemented by the country’s regulator, there has been opposition to the service with the country’s two biggest operators who have been locked in a bitter dispute over claims of sabotage. The regulator Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) has had to step in with this dispute threatening to affect the nation’s perception of the whole service.

Other, more successful, Number Portability implementations, such as that experienced in India, show that educating the nation’s mobile phone users and making sure the operators know that their customer service has to improve helps make the service a success. Since Number Portability was introduced in January, more than 10 million mobile phone users have opted to use the service. This, in part, has been down to superior branding implemented by smaller operators. Additionally, in the two and a half years since Number Portability has been available in Brazil, over 9 million people have utilised the service with over 1.2 million porting their number in the first half of 2011.

Similarly, once Nigeria implements Number Portability and other countries in Eastern Europe follow suit, such as Romania, it’s important that the regulator and operators work closely together in setting out some clear guidelines to adhere to – like in India and in Malta. They’ll really want to avoid any such situation that has been seen in Kenya.

In summary, one of the greatest benefits of number portability is that it forces operators to review their OSS capabilities in order to avoid churn. The service makes them look at their customer service strategy, network capabilities and billing systems in order to improve upon their service.

This post was created from content for the Number Portability 2011 event being held in London from 20th-22nd June.

Around the World

Posted: April 27th, 2011 | Author: OSS Team | Filed under: Around the World | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment »

TelecomAsia …
Take Responsibility End-to-End

In this article, reporter Joseph Waring focuses on customer experience as an especially important element contributing to both the success and growth of the telecom industry. He illustrates this by detailing the results of aTelecom Asia-Stratecast survey of operators across Asia Pacific, which found that customer experience management and customer care/self-care were the customer-oriented functions receiving the most attention, with 55-56 percent of those polled pointing to these as top priorities. Following on the heels of customer experience management and customer care/self-care were business analytics and business intelligence, with 44 percent of respondents indicating these areas as receiving the most attention. According to Stratecast’s Karl Whitelock, this prioritisation makes sense. He states that: “They are related, and a focus on one creates a need to update the other. Customer self-care and knowing the customer’s overall service experience is vital in today’s always-on environment.”

This reminded us of a recent post from Olivier Suard in which he discusses customer satisfaction as something that’s not as black and white as mobile broadband speed and capacity. He explains that customer satisfaction is often thought of in terms of smartphone users, but there are still large amounts of mobile phone users who do not own a smartphone. For these people, it’s more likely that what keeps them satisfied are things like accurate billing and how well they can make phone calls or send/receive text messages. For this reason, it’s not surprising that customer care, business analytics and business intelligence ranked high in the Telecom Asia-Stratecast survey – it’s important to think about all different types of customers and the ways they use their devices in order to ensure the best possible experience.

Pyramid Research…
Kenyans Sprint Toward a Strong Telecom Future

The future of telecom seems promising for Kenya, with analyst Majd Hosn detailing the country’s communications market achievements in 2010 and describing its likelihood for success in 2011 and beyond. 3G, number portability and service quality made major strides with the help of the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK). The CCK dramatically reduced interconnection rates as well as the levy for acquiring a 3G license. Additionally, mobile number portability was put into effect and a set of operational rules were enacted that hold operators responsible for a minimum service quality to customers. In terms of growth, Hosn states that 2010 revenue is expected at $1.42 billion—a 5.4 percent increase from 2009. And with an expected 2010 mobile penetration rate of 56 percent, Kenya is certainly looking like it will be prosperous in the telecom space!

Alan Quayle Weblog…
IMS World Forum: Quick Summary

Recently returned from the IMS World Forum earlier this month, Alan Quayle provides an overview of the event and highlights some key presentations. The Forum was a huge success with more than 250 attendees, a 20 percent increase from last year. Alan states that although IMS seems to be fairly old-hat, it’s actually more important than ever to have this sort of IMS-centric event in order to pool ideas on how best to deploy the technology as it becomes more mainstream.  In fact, a 2009 survey revealed that eight percent of operators had deployed IMS for commercial services. Alan is currently in the middle of updating the survey, but results seem to be on track with his expectations—IMS deployments in 2011 will be at roughly 17 percent.

Alan describes the Forum as a roughly equal mix of operators and vendors and a great platform for discussion.  Promising to review these presentations in more detail, Alan lists the following highlights:

  • Thomas May from Verizon presented VoLTE experimentation results.
  • Wooyong Choi from SKT presented the operator’s experiences with RCS.
  • Both Kevin Klett (Acme Packet) and Micaela Giuhat (Genband) provided strong views on the implementation options for IMS and some hints on simplification.
  • Katarina Sekaljic from Serbia Telekom presented on the challenges for implementing IMS.

We’re particularly looking forward to hearing more about Verizon’s presentation on VoLTE, as Simo Isomäki wrote a piece discussing how LTE is breathing new life into IMS and followed it up with a post on the voice problem. Simo believes that one of the key options for alleviating this pain point is VoLTE, as it is backed by all of the major network and device vendors. However, it requires an IMS back-end core and also forces all services using 2G/3G for voice to be re-implemented in IMS. VoLTE would support the handover of radio to ensure voice call continuity in a single-radio mode, but some work would still need to be done to stadardise the handover process from 3G to LTE.

Working with the Kileva Foundation

Posted: December 30th, 2010 | Author: Cliff Evans | Filed under: Around the World | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments »

During the day, I work as a Global Alliance Director for Comptel Corporation, but as Olivier noted in a previous blog post, I run a charity called the Kileva Foundation in my spare time.

It all started back in 2001 when my wife and I met a man called Kilele whilst we were on holiday in southern Kenya. Kilele and I remained in touch, and over the next two years, the bond between us grew strong. Although I’d never visited his home in the remote Sagalla Mountain, I felt that I was beginning to get to know his extended family and friends through his letters. It was with great delight that I heard early in 2004 that his wife Grace was pregnant, but it was with complete astonishment that, when his son was born, that he named him Cliff after me!

By the end of 2005, I was speaking to Kilele on a regular basis (he had a mobile phone but no electricity or running water at his house) about the life of his family and the entire Sagalla community. It was during one of those conversations that Kilele announced that he was going to get “properly” married, i.e. have a full religious ceremony. He explained the traditions of such a marriage, including that as many as 2,000 people might attend and that he wanted Jane and I to be best lady and best man!

We of course were honoured and travelled to their home village of Kizumanzi in Kenya to attend the wedding on 14 February 2006. This was probably the most incredible week of our lives! People came from villages all over the remote Sagalla Mountain (the high region) and from those at the foot of the mountain (the low region). The celebrations went on for three days, and we were treated as honoured (and unusual) guests.

When I returned to England, I was determined to do as much as I could for the Sagallan people, and by September, the Kileva Foundation (the name was derived by combining the first three letters of Kilele’s name with the first three letters of my surname – Evans) was formally registered with the Charity Commission of England & Wales.

Since then, the charity has initiated and run the following projects:

  • Education: Building and running the Kileva Foundation Primary School in the village of Mwakoma. So far, a pre-school, four classrooms, two toilet blocks and a school house have been completed.
  • Health: Building the Kileva Foundation Medical Dispensary and Community Centre in the village of Kirumbi.
  • Farming:
    • Bees: In cooperation with the Save The Elephants organization, the Kileva Foundation has built two test bee hive fences to deter crop-raiding elephants.
    • Plantation: The Kileva Plantation Nursery (managed by the Kileva Scout Group) has grown many thousands of seedlings for re-planting throughout the region.
    • Poultry: The Kileva Poultry Business currently has 600 broilers and 50 layers.
    • Dairy: The Kileva Dairy Farm consists of two cows and one bull. A number of calves have been reared along with many goats.

If you would like to learn more about the work of the charity (and thank you to Comptel for recently making a donation instead of buying and sending printed Christmas cards), please visit www.kilevafoundation.com.