Posted: August 25th, 2014 | Author: Malla Poikela | Filed under: Industry Insights, Telecom Trends | Tags: BSS, intelligent mediation, OSS, OSS/BSS | No Comments »
When communications service providers (CSPs) think of mediation systems, it’s natural for them to consider billing and assurance processes. Most mediation platforms have traditionally been focused on the processing of transaction data records (xDRs). However, having too narrow of a focus on transactional data misses the big opportunities that can be made possible with analytics-enhanced data orchestration.
Data orchestration is all about making sense of the new sources of structured and unstructured data flooding networks. From social media networks to app usage, location points to alarms and probes, CSPs enthusiastically need a way to make all of this information more accessible, intelligent and actionable. Thanks to the dawn of the Internet of Things, we’re standing at the brink of a touchpoint explosion. Data is playing a fundamental role in every customer’s life. Yet while Big Data provides a significant opportunity for CSPs to make more intelligent decisions, the “data wrangling” – hand-sorting through mounds of data to collect what’s most relevant – is still consuming precious time and resources. In fact, according to recent research from The New York Times, data scientists spend 50 to 80 percent of their time just “wrangling” the data, to ready it for action.
While the xDR has usually been the only link between the network and customer data, now, the key to alleviating time-consuming data wrangling will be found in data orchestration – empowered by analytics and contextual intelligence. This will revolutionise how CSPs use data for operations, customer relationships and business planning.
A new, intelligent approach to event processing can help to make sense of this information tsunami, and fully leverage that data to make operations and businesses more intelligent, and enable real-time decision making. By combining more intelligent analysis and predictive analytics with complex event processing (CEP), it’s possible to bridge informational silos between back-office systems and glean actionable foresights that go far beyond simply processing transactions.
Imagine, for example, if your analytics-enriched mediation system could foretell when there’s going to be a service peak or potential revenue loss before it happens. Or what if OSS/BSS could communicate and correlate network and customer data, then send automated messages to customers based on current network events? Maybe it’s to notify customers of potential bandwidth issues in the next hour or to tell them about a new product.
Through data integration and orchestration enhanced with embedded analysis, that’s finally possible.
Measuring the Customer Experience
OSS/BSS systems are highly effective at processing the data related to billing and assurance, with the analysis based on xDRs. Full-blown data integration, ingestion and orchestration brings all the information from other sources into the mix, so CSPs have a full view of network and customer activity across an array of sources.
With that data collected and aggregated, machine learning-enabled mediation can have a big impact. Intelligent mediation can explore data and forecast service usage, which better informs service forecasting, operational efficiency and impact on revenue. Through a streamlined and intuitive presentation layer that allows for data visualisation through dashboards, CSPs can detect signs of service anomalies and patterns in customer behaviours that allow for proactive decision-making. By consolidating the data and learning from it through sophisticated artificial intelligence, this new kind of mediation can create displays and dashboards that help operators view opportunities and risks that were previously invisible.
Protecting Revenue with Operational Intelligence
Customer experience isn’t the only thing that can be vastly improved through intelligent mediation. Revenue loss often occurs when xDRs are lost, corrupted or otherwise arrive incomplete or malfunction in network becomes evident as a sudden drop of usage events is reported for a service. These errors can get lost in the processing shuffle, and by the time they’re detected, revenue has already suffered. Intelligent mediation can help prevent these issues.
By observing the deviations between the forecast and observed values of transaction records, the mediation system, leveraging predictive analytics, can notify operators that there’s an anomaly. Machine learning ensures that this process continually grows more intelligent and capable of more rigorous analysis in the future.
Analytics-enriched mediation empowers CSPs like never before by allowing businesses to make the most of the data that’s already being transmitted across networks and allows for real-time decision capabilities thanks to analytics and automation. With an embedded analytics-engine in place that can contextually read data and automatically send notifications to both customers and the operations team, CSPs can sidestep the data wrangling and make mediation systems – and business processes – more intelligent than ever before.
Want to learn more about intelligent mediation? Download “What You don’t Know Will Cost You: Using Contextual Intelligence in OSS / BSS Operations to Protect & Increase Revenue,” a whitepaper sponsored by Comptel and authored by ICTIntuition.
Posted: August 12th, 2014 | Author: Max Nyman | Filed under: Industry Insights | Tags: analytics, big data, contextual intelligence | No Comments »
When we traditionally think of data, we think of reams of numbers and not much else. It’s a pretty cold definition, a combination of ones and zeroes that help us stay organised. Companies are starting to leverage their data for all sorts of new business applications.
In the telecommunications sector, that’s often contributed to delivering a better customer experience and supporting more informed, strategic decision-making.
The problem with data is that you need to pore through back-office systems to find what you need.
Data can help optimise processes and build revolutionary new services, but it’s long been up to the humans on the back-end to sort and process the information in a way that makes sense for the business. That’s changing. As machine learning becomes more sophisticated, that technology can be applied to data, creating a system that can learn what the company needs and deliver that information in real-time.
Oddly enough, one of the best illustrations of these capabilities was in a Scarlett Johansson movie. Raj Amin, co-founder of Mana Health, recently wrote that the movie “Her” showed a glimpse of how data can adopt a more human-like context.
Making Data Come to Life
In “Her”, Johansson plays an artificially intelligent operating system. The scene that Amin highlights is when she helps the protagonist, Theodore (played by Joaquin Phoenix), sort through his emails. As he’s directing the process, Theodore adds that he thought some of them might be funny and – lo and behold – Johansson laughs and saves the emails that she thinks are amusing.
Amin points this out as a great example of how data can become more human and, therefore, a lot more meaningful to the people who are using it. By analysing emails and then adjusting the query based on what Theodore really wants, Johansson is connecting with Theodore not just through process, but through real-time, human-like learning.
At Comptel, we’re working hard to help ensure that automation, predictive analytics and Big Data have similar powers by applying machine learning to all the information being processed. Just like the operating system voiced by Johansson, our machine learning can make use of the data that companies already have and make automatic, contextualized recommendations. That’s the foundation for our business application, Critical Alarm Protection (CAP), for example.
CAP helps communications service providers predict and prioritise network issues and site failures before they occur. Just like in “Her,” CAP can provide rankings and recommendations for different actions. If there’s potential for an outage at a specific site, CAP automatically sends a notification to the operations team, with suggestions on how to fix the problem.
When data is combined with machine learning and automation, it really is possible to make numbers feel more human. Rather than digging through data for the answers, new applications like CAP can sort through the information and suggest the right solution for you. It might not quite be like having a fully sentient operating system, but it’s a step in the right direction.
If you want to learn more about what CAP’s predictive, contextual powers can do for your business, check out our informational page, or register for our webinar on 15 August.
Posted: July 30th, 2014 | Author: Steve Hateley | Filed under: Industry Insights | Tags: internet of things, NFV, SDN | 1 Comment »
Telecommunications is at a crossroad. The demand for data is reaching unprecedented levels and there’s no sign that it’s going to be slowing down. In fact, in the very near future, our refrigerators may be using just as much data as our phones.
Olaf Swantee, the CEO at EE, recently wrote that this era of connected living will soon usher in smart homes, wearable tech and a multitude of other connected gadgets, leading to an explosion in connected touch points that need to be managed by communications service providers (CSPs). At Comptel, we couldn’t agree more. The question, then, is: how will telcos adapt to this new reality?
What will the world look like when our cars are talking to our coffee machines and synchronizing with our cloud-stored media or our refrigerators are updating our shopping list apps in real-time? What will the world look like when, as Google CEO Eric Schmidt predicts, the entire world is online?
The rapid proliferation of touch points and the amount of new and varied applications they bring will drive the need for increased agility and cost-effective growth in infrastructure, operations and management processes. The true era of connected living is dovetailing with another technological revolution: software-defined networking (SDN) and network function virtualization (NFV).
The Adaptability Game
The introduction of SDN technology will offer CSPs ways to operate an expanse of digital services at break-neck speed. The flexibility to build and host applications in the cloud will add to the ability to react quickly and roll out supporting features for new services.
This kind of adaptability will be crucial in a connected economy. With so many more touch points in the mix, operating across a wide spectrum of use cases, CSPs will need to be able to smoothly manage policies and bandwidth alike. A single user’s data plan could soon encompass not one or two devices, but twenty, thirty or fifty. How would a data plan for a refrigerator look? And what if one refrigerator has a video display to show users when they need certain groceries? Or, in terms of wearable technology, how can CSPs work with healthcare providers when it comes to medical devices that are connected to the cloud?
With the legacy and multiple OSS/BSS systems that many CSPs still have in place, it may seem like an overwhelming problem to manage. But with SDN and NFV, operators can more easily and economically manage the end-to-end deployment and orchestration of these complex services across all these devices, deployed across virtual networks.
The Internet of Things (IoT) will necessitate – and possibly expedite – the virtualisation revolution that’s already underway in telecommunications. The control plane is evolving, and at the tail-end of this transformation, we’ll see an artificially intelligent, agile orchestration layer that can understand the role of each and every device in the broader context of user behaviour and network patterns.
The excitement around SDN and NFV that we’ve already seen at TM Forum Live! is only going to grow as more connected devices come online. In this case, at least, we may actually see two trends where the hype is matched by the reality.
SDN and NFV aren’t the only things that help businesses become more agile. Learn how to use predictive analytics to predict network stressors before they result in a site failure by downloading our whitepaper, “How Predictions of Critical Alarms Helps CSPs Reduce OPEX, Prevent Revenue Loss and Improve Customer Experience.”
Posted: July 29th, 2014 | Author: Juhani Hintikka | Filed under: News | Tags: News, PR, press release | No Comments »
Comptel announced today our interim report for the second quarter. In the first half of the year 2014 we have won 5 new customers. For us this is a significant figure, especially comparing to year 2013 when the number of new deals was 4 in total.
We have also signed several significant new deals with existing customers. While market conditions continue to be challenging, especially in Europe, in this quarter we made some progress in Europe. In the first half, Latin America has been very challenging and net sales have decreased from last year.
Our investments into new business areas, according to our strategy, are showing positive results in this quarter with the new business growth. Comptel’s research and development (R&D) expenditure was mainly targeted at the service fulfillment automation of telecom operators and the management and real-time analysis of rapidly increasing data traffic. Comptel seeks global market leadership in these areas where key business challenges for operators and service providers will be solved. In addition, the company is developing an integrated software platform which will enable a cost-efficient and solution-based R&D.
In 2014, the company focuses on developing its offering within the Comptel Fulfillment, Comptel Policy & Charging Control and advanced analytics product areas. Three major software releases were launched in these respective product areas during the first half of the year.
Posted: July 16th, 2014 | Author: Steve Hateley | Filed under: Industry Insights, News | Tags: bandwidth, football, networks, streaming | No Comments »
Football is inarguably the most popular sport in the world. That’s why the viewership numbers for the recent games in Brazil kept breaking records. The Brazil vs. Chile match, for example, drew 11.5 million viewers just in the UK. According to The Mirror, that’s more than half of the total share of people watching TV at that time. The Germany v. Brazil match attracted 10.77 million viewers. The final match between Germany and Argentina drew well over 26 million viewers in the US.
Given those extremes, it shouldn’t be a surprise that social media channels become frenzied with activity, either. Individual football matches are attracting millions of tweets – the US-Portugal match saw 10 million people engaging in 20 million interactions on Facebook. On Twitter, fans tweeted about eight million times. The opening match, between Brazil and Croatia, garnered 12 million tweets.
But that’s not only what communications service providers (CSPs) are feeling. The Wall Street Journal reports that about 3.5 million viewers tuned into the Germany – US and Portugal – Ghana matches … by using the Internet. A third of those users were in North America, and a quarter watched from mobile devices.
In a way, football games are becoming a great stress test for operators. The matches in Brazil are an interesting case study in how multichannel video streaming and constant social media activity can quickly create a capacity crunch, and might help show CSPs exactly how much their networks can handle and offer insight as to how they can optimise quality of service (QoS) and the quality of experience for end users.
The Football Stress Test
The past six weeks have shown us a glimpse of the future. CSPs know that the data needs of users are increasing dramatically, but not everyone is necessarily watching the same thing from the same device. Research from video advertising company Yume shows that many viewers are planning to watch matches from computers (33 percent), tablets (22 percent) and smartphones (11 percent).
We’ve discussed the growing need to cater to end users’ unique demands, as well as creatively monetise mobile data plans in new and more flexible ways—and the matches in Brazil are one of the strongest cases yet.
What if CSPs had policy and charging tools that allowed them to create and deploy a service plan that allows for unlimited streaming of a football match, based on a user’s country or team of choice and the time of the game? That might be better than letting users reach their data cap or just force them to watch on their TV. Many may be willing to pay a bit more to view the game on a mobile device – they just don’t want to purchase a whole month’s worth of data for it.
The more insight CSPs have into mobile device usage, the more personalised mobile data plans can become. The right solutions allow operators to monitor usage in real time, and when too much traffic is straining the network, they can adjust the access and QoS for specific services and specific users to balance capacity (according to one survey, 67 percent of IT admins are experiencing IT problems and network management issues that can be directly related to employees streaming the matches from their computers).
While it may be too late to deploy these kinds of strategies for the football matches this year, perhaps, during the next big football event, CSPs will be able to offer both consumers and enterprise customers alike a real-time, dynamic plan that meets their needs.
Want to learn how to proactively predict network stressors before they result in a site failure? Download our recent whitepaper, “How Predictions of Critical Alarms Helps CSPs Reduce OPEX, Prevent Revenue Loss and Improve Customer Experience.”
Posted: June 30th, 2014 | Author: Malla Poikela | Filed under: Events, Industry Insights | Tags: NFV, SDN, TM Forum Live! | 1 Comment »
At the beginning of June, Comptel attended TM Forum Live! in Nice, France. The emphasis in the keynote sessions was building a better customer experience, but there was an alternate, overarching topic on the show floor: software-defined networking (SDN) and network function virtualisation (NFV).
In fact, most of the conference attendees believed that infrastructure virtualisation is eventually inevitable for all telcos and the adoption of SDN / NFV was an effective way for communications service providers (CSPs) to modernise their systems, although purely virtualised environments are still years away. SDN and NFV will become integral to controlling and simplifying networks, as well as creating agile, quick-to-market services. With these technologies, operators can more easily and more economically manage the end-to-end orchestration of complex services deployed across virtualised, multi-vendor networks.
However, as new SDN / NFV deployments are introduced, they will be required to work alongside legacy networks for several years to come, requiring OSS/BSS layers to support hybrid architectures of a traditional non-virtualised and the newer virtualised approach to networking.
This potentially means that in the earlier stages of adoption, there may be an increased level of complexity, rather than a reduction. That means operators need to take a long look at their current systems and decide on a transformative or supplemental approach to modernisation, creating a future-proof environment or adding a new OSS stack for the new technology.
Comptel, focusing on the future-proof concept, recently partnered with Nakina Systems to capitalise on these possibilities. TM Forum Live! served to show that many industry leaders are already thinking about the opportunities, too. Here are three trends we noticed in Nice concerning SDN and NFV:
1. NFV is on Everyone’s Minds.
During the event, Aileen Smith, vice president of organisational transformation at TM Forum, spoke with RCR Wireless News about SDN / NFV in detail. She explained that NFV in particular was “the hottest topic at the show.” She added that when TM Forum ran a pre-conference workshop about NFV, more than 200 people attended.
At the conference, Smith said she saw a lot of attendees preparing and discussing NFV deployment. Operators and vendors collaborated in focused, agile groups, brainstorming strategies for virtualisation.
2. NFV and SDN are Putting Hardware in the Background.
In one presentation, a speaker noted that NFV technology allows CSPs to steer traffic through both physical and virtual network services. Rather than orchestrating and managing network functions across hardware appliances, many orchestrations will take place on virtual infrastructure. Another presentation highlighted how Time Warner Cable is rolling out NFV in a way that supersedes physical machines in favour of a virtual environment.
With NFV and SDN deployments, CSPs will put more emphasis on virtual software environments and less emphasis on physical appliances. Separating the data plane from the control plane presents an unprecedented opportunity to transfer a coherent control of the intelligent decisions taken in the network from distributed expensive specialised hardware to commodity hardware allowing CSPs to decrease time-to-market and significantly cut operational costs. Consequently, the virtualisation layer deployed across network, storage and computing hardware will usher in a new era of business agility, applications and responsiveness.
3. NFV and SDN Can’t Happen in a Vacuum.
At TM Forum Live!, Comptel decided to demonstrate exactly how NFV and an SDN environment can be orchestrated. Through the Comptel fulfillment platform, we can create a catalog-driven and modernised order orchestration environment across SDN/NFV networks as well as legacy networks.
The demonstration was driven from an integrated Salesforce front-office user interface, namely the Service Order Validator application – that makes relational management of customers, their services and the network – easier than ever before. The application combines Salesforce CRM functionality with back-office orchestration from Comptel Fulfillment, incorporating service catalog, order management, logical inventory, provisioning and activation to deploy a true end-to-end service complete with virtualised firewalls and load balancing functions as examples of simple VNF (virtualised network function) instantiations.
Virtual environments offer exciting possibilities, but consideration has to be made for solutions that bridge the gap between legacy and SDN/NFV, allowing CSPs to take full advantage of those possibilities. This is all the more important, as legacy equipment becomes incrementally replaced with commoditised and virtualised infrastructure. Much traditional network hardware will stay in place during the transition, leading to interim hybrid infrastructure that is both virtual and physical – with complex relationships.
OSS/BSS technology will play an exciting role in this evolution – the successful platforms will have to be able to orchestrate network virtualisation and control across multiple layers. Despite the euphoria around it, CSPs cannot focus exclusively on SDN and NFV – as front-end aspects of the business change, companies have to think about how services are created, delivered and consumed at every point in the service lifecycle.
Watch Comptel’s Steve Hateley discuss this trend in more detail:
Posted: June 24th, 2014 | Author: Ulla Koivukoski | Filed under: Industry Insights | Tags: critical alarm prediction, customer experience, service management | No Comments »
The influx of smartphones, tablets and other connected devices has changed the fabric of mobile customer expectations: in short, they’re higher than ever before. People today expect to work online, consume content or access cloud services, wherever they are and whenever they want. These new technologies add to the complexity of already diverse networks, which requires an increase in maintenance work and a balancing act of how to allocate scarce resources and competencies across the board.
According to a 2013 survey conducted by Comptel and Vanson Bourne, Quality of Service (QoS) is one of the primary drivers of customer acquisition and retention. It is a basic competitive requirement for communications service providers (CSPs) today, thus traditional network planning and optimisation or maintenance tasks are no longer sufficient. QoS management needs to be a much more proactive process today, to help keep customers happy in the long run.
That being said, the business case for proactive service management has multiple factors. Many telcos have scaled back on preventive plans to save money and resources. But while the savings are immediate in the short-term, corrective site visits and longer downtime can, ultimately, be more expensive and cause costly customer compensation and retention activities.
So, how can CSPs predict network faults and correct them preventively, without overspending? Comptel recently published a whitepaper that outlines the benefits of a predictive site maintenance approach to critical alarms, where tasks are prioritised based on anticipated network failures.
Critical alarm prediction allows CSPs to see further into the future. It’s a new kind of service management that predicts alarms and service disruptions on a network element level with advanced real-time analytics.
Here’s a quick preview of the whitepaper on the value of Critical Alarm Prediction to CSPs:
Reduce operating costs
A major cost in site maintenance comes down to workforce expenditures. When there are no emergencies and maintenance work is conducted during normal working hours, CSPs can achieve the most efficient use of their workforce. By simply predicting faults before they occur, and using the workforce accordingly, CSPs can save on operational expenditures.
Prevent revenue loss
CSPs know the angst associated with an unexpected site failure. Not only is the current traffic on the site affected, but any future traffic to the site is impacted until it’s back online. However, when potential faults are predicted, site maintenance can be scheduled and prioritised, and traffic can be even re-routed proactively, if necessary, reducing downtime and potential revenue loss.
Improve customer experience
The cost of churn, including churn prevention, is the single largest cost item for mobile operators. Coupled with data-savvy customers who are less likely to sit through local network outages, CSPs should prioritise QoS and the quality of experience (QoE). Introducing Critical Alarm Prediction enables CSPs to predict faults and schedule maintenance, which helps reduce site downtime and positively impacts the customer experience.
Build a culture of proactive service
Critical Alarm Prediction has the potential to introduce completely new ways of approaching proactive service management. It’s a business application that can help CSPs act before failures occur and, ultimately, move toward more intelligent analysis and operational processes.
Want to learn more about how a predictive approach can benefit CSPs? Download Comptel’s whitepaper, “How Prediction of Critical Alarms Helps CSPs Reduce OPEX, Prevent Revenue Loss and Improve Customer Experience.”
Posted: June 16th, 2014 | Author: Malla Poikela | Filed under: Events | Tags: customer experience, Events, TM Forum Live! | No Comments »
Aside from the excitement around network functions virtualization (NFV) and software-defined networking (SDN), TM Forum Live! 2014 had another undeniable theme: the customer experience. Among the keynote speeches and conferences, the idea that customers were in control of the industry’s destiny was everywhere.
Perhaps the person that summed up the situation most eloquently was Michael Matthews, chairman of Archer Mobile, who told communications service providers (CSPs), “Your greatest competitor is your customer’s future expectation.”
The telecommunications industry doesn’t just have to adjust to the data needs and bandwidth requirements of consumers today. In fact, in addition to the clear need for intelligent data monetisation strategies, CSPs have to anticipate what customers will expect tomorrow – and that will mean overhauling their back-office systems, breaking down organisational silos and taking a serious look at advanced and predictive analytics. It could also mean rethinking how mobile data is monetised.
Flipping the Model Upside-Down
Another story that was told during the conference was of a customer experience gone wrong. When a customer had a problem with the cable bill and wasn’t able to pay it, he tried to get in touch with his Internet service provider (ISP). But without the number of the ISP, that wasn’t possible.
That model is operator-centric, not customer-centric– today, CSPs will need to reconsider how to build business around an improved and engaging customer experience. Another cautionary tale told at TM Forum Live! was how, after discovering that customers generally churned after two years, a CSP stopped investing in services for customers after one year.
As mobile growth slows in maturing markets, this short-sighted formula is only going to hurt CSPs. To build loyalty, CSPs have to continue to build business by creating and continually supporting memorable customer experiences.
As Matthews explained, new business is going to come from anticipating customer needs. That will be dependent on understanding what customers want and when they want it. One speaker described how people now “live in a feed.” They’re constantly streaming data from their phones. To fit in, CSPs have to build services that drop into the feed and match their needs.
LTE is already rolling out to various markets and VoLTE/IMS is starting to emerge in some marketplaces as well. With 5G and the Internet of Things (IoT) barreling down on us, those needs are only going to get more complex.
The Crystal Ball
Learning what kinds of service offerings will engage customers will require contextual intelligence at different—and every—customer touch point. CSPs must be able to parse through their data, and CIOs, CTOs and CMOs must work together to make the most of that knowledge. With the right technology, CSPs will finally be able to learn how customers are interacting with networks, service and their peers, and better target and engage them.
The right tools and the right team can make a world of difference, and for CSPs, that may mean the start of a new era that puts excellent customer experience and loyalty at the forefront, leading to more sustainable and innovative revenue streams.
Want to learn more about building a better customer experience? Download “10 more methods to monetise mobile data,” written by consulting firm tefficient, an international efficiency specialist for telecom operators and suppliers & sponsored by Comptel.
Posted: June 2nd, 2014 | Author: Malla Poikela | Filed under: Industry Insights | Tags: mobile data, policy control and charging, predictive analytics | 1 Comment »
There’s a lot happening in developed telecommunications markets when it comes to monetisation – communications service providers (CSPs) are no longer charging customers per minute, they’re charging per megabyte. Talk and text are usually unlimited, while data has become limited.
The business of charging customers for data can be complex. Many major mobile operators offer capped data packages, but in certain cases, this may impact customer experience. Consumers understand that their phones use data, but it’s not always clear how that data is consumed. Does Facebook use more data than WhatsApp? How many songs on Pandora can be played before the cap gets hit? How many YouTube videos can be watched?
The data usage of different apps and services can be confusing. When customers hit a data cap without expecting it, their experience may suffer if there isn’t an easy, flexible and affordable way to top up for the rest of the month. Otherwise, customers will use WiFi instead of mobile when they’ve reached their monthly data allowance.
Future revenue growth will depend on flexible, personalised service packages, and how fast CSPs are able to launch them to the market. Through a combination of tried-and-tested monetisation methods – and new ones – CSPs will be able to build a better customer experience while introducing new sources of revenue.
Comptel recently worked with tefficient to create a whitepaper that highlights 10 more methods mobile operators should consider implementing to monetise data. Here’s a preview of three methods that are covered in the whitepaper:
1. Ad-funded mobile
Last year, an ad-funded MVNO called Wifog launched in Sweden with a unique proposition: users could consume as much data as they wanted, but they had to be open to advertising and data collection. For every 100Mb of data used, a Wifog subscriber watches a 45-second video ad. Wifog gained 120,000 users in five months.
Established CSPs may not want to replicate this exact model, but it’s possible for them to host these kinds of ad-funded mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs). In that regard, this could be a way to generate revenue from advertisers while hosting customers that traditionally use Wi-Fi or Over-the-Top (OTT) services.
Analytics could come into play here, too – CSPs could monitor user habits and customise the customer experience, targeting them with the most relevant ads.
2. App time-based charging
With the right approach to policy and charging, CSPs could potentially create a service plan that monetises how often customers use an app, with pricing plans based on hourly, daily, weekly or monthly rates.
In mature markets, this data plan could solve the “end-of-the-month” problem, when customers have run out of their data allowance and don’t want to pay for another whole-month package if they only have a few days left. Consequently, there are a lot of customers who would like to pay for a bundle at a lower price point.
If CSPs can leverage analytics to see which kinds of apps these customers use, a more affordable, Facebook-only package could be more effective for the last few days of the month. The harmony of policy, charging and analytics play an essential role here – the agility and flexibility offered by the right solution can help monitor app usage to guarantee that customised, time-based packages are delivered when a data cap is hit.
Indian operator Uninor shifted from a Mbyte-based offering to time-based app pricing – for example, users can now pay one rupee for a day of unlimited access to WhatsApp or Facebook.
3. Apps for flat fees
CSPs can also offer a set of apps for a flat fee. Japan’s second largest mobile operator, KDDI, offers this model with a “Smart Pass” package, which allows members to get unlimited access to a set of apps for a flat fee. In addition, members are given a few other benefits, such as discounts and photo storage services. “Smart Pass” launched in 2012, and in March 2014, 10 million customers were on the plan.
The really exciting part about offering apps for a flat fee is the potential for predictive analytics. By monitoring how customers use apps and what apps are used, CSPs will be able to personalise offers and predict which apps are going to be used across their networks, creating custom packages for different audience segments.
Possibilities, Analytics, Case Studies
In this blog entry, we only covered three ways CSPs can monetise mobile data, but our white paper has ten. In the future, a diversity of offerings – and the policy management product that allows for responsive and flexible delivery and pricing – will be key.
All subscribers have different habits when it comes to using their mobile phones. With the help of policy charging and predictive analytics, CSPs can create personalised service packages that are delivered at exactly the right time.
Want to learn all of the ways CSPs can monetise mobile data? Download “10 more methods to monetise mobile data,” written by consulting firm tefficient, an international efficiency specialist for telecom operators and suppliers.
Posted: May 29th, 2014 | Author: Malla Poikela | Filed under: Events, Industry Insights | Tags: policy control, Policy Control and Data Pricing 2014, policy management | 1 Comment »
Data usage is skyrocketing. Consider Cisco’s study at the beginning of this year, which found that global mobile data traffic grew 81 percent in 2013, reaching 1.5 exabytes per month. Mobile video traffic reached 43 percent, and average smartphone usage grew 50 percent in 2013. By 2018, it is even expected that there will be more than 10 billion mobile-connected devices. No surprise there – 1 billion smartphones shipped in 2013, which was more than half of all mobile phones shipped last year.
Not only that, the faster the mobile device, the more data customers use. A study from JDSU discovered that subscribers with the iPhone 5s use 7x as much data as users with the iPhone 3G. Apps contribute to data consumption, too – 2013 saw a 115 percent year-over-year increase in app use and that number continues to rise. As devices and apps get more sophisticated and data-heavy, bandwidth requirements will keep growing explosively.
That’s where more intelligent policy control and charging is starting to shine. In April, Comptel attended the Policy Control and Data Pricing Conference in Berlin– it was obvious there that the industry was in agreement: without a way to quickly price, deliver and optimize innovative data packages, communications service providers (CSPs) will be unable to respond to the diverse needs of today’s customers and tomorrow’s prospects.
A New Ecosystem
There are currently a lot of questions about how to handle different types of data traffic. At the conference, Keith Breed, the research director of the Tariff Consultancy, talked about the stark differences between data pricing packages in different countries and wondered if they could be sustainable.
New investments such as fibre and LTE, along with the impact of OTT providers on traditional sources of revenue, are going to complicate how data is priced. That’s introduced major questions when it comes to traffic management. In the U.S., for example, there’s an ongoing debate about net neutrality. Do CSPs have the right to charge the websites that are using more bandwidth across the network? Or is the Internet a public utility? Breed advocated for a new ecosystem where all data traffic is treated equally.
As business and consumer bandwidth needs change, policy does, too. Adaptability is going to be key for rolling out innovative offers and delivering the appropriate quality of service levels to customers. Peter Dykes, senior analyst at Informa, explained that, in order to adapt quickly, CSPs will need a way to create and launch new data bundles as soon as a customer’s behaviour changes. He suggested that, in the coming years, the closer integration of policy and charging will help make this a reality.
As one speaker noted, online services will play a leading role in this space, too. VoIP, VoLTE, video, gaming and cloud applications will make it critical for CSPs to be able to manage policy dynamically. Changes are coming, and to maintain a competitive advantage, CSPs have to move toward an offer-catalog driven policy and charging control solution that helps deliver, customise and optimise data services.
A Data Debate
At the heart of the debate is how far CSPs should go in managing data usage. Comptel’s Steve Hateley recently talked about how 4K movies will require 45 to 60 gigs of bandwidth, and Fredrik Jungermann of tefficient emphasized that customers should be notified and proactively provided with solutions when hitting their data caps.
The exponential increase in data over the coming years means that having the right offer-catalog driven policy and charging control solutions, particularly one that can be layered with predictive analytics and machine learning capabilities, is going to be more important than ever. Businesses might have a data plan that only streams videos for conferences and uses landlines for voice. Consumers might watch movies or they may only text. Either way, CSPs will need a way to personalise offers in real-time to create new sources of revenue.
All of this was highlighted at the recent Policy Control and Data Pricing Conference. At the end of the day, it was clear that the secret to unlocking new opportunities is to engage individual customers – at the right time and in the right way with the data services they desire.
Want to learn more about the changing landscape of data? Meet up with Comptel at TM Forum Live! in Nice to get a copy of our new whitepaper, “10 more methods to monetise mobile data,” which was written by consulting firm tefficient (www.tefficient.com), an international efficiency specialist for telecom operators and suppliers, and sponsored by Comptel.