Around the World

Posted: June 28th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Around the World | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Around the World
Connected Planet…
The Singular Solution to Bill Shock: Think Like the Customer Thinks
Alex Leslie discusses bill shock and the various approaches operators are exploring to avoid it. In light of increasing mobile network use while abroad, some companies are looking into charging for content per email, game or app instead of buying bandwidth in a bundle, but due to the variety of actions and complexity of pricing each one, this isn’t ideal. Another option involves implementing a flat-rate data plan; this may be attractive to operators but compromises network quality by the few users who consume too much bandwidth. And although it might seem like a perfect solution, capping network usage often leaves customers wary about watching what they eat. As Alex states, whatever the bill shock solution may be, operators should make it a priority to put themselves in their customers’ shoes. Bill shock can have a heavy impact on the customer experience, and it more than often leaves a bad taste in subscribers’ mouths. As we discussed at the Comptel User Group, operators really need a real-time, interactive and personalised OSS platform that can deliver superior insight into customers’ wants and needs, proactively manage their frustrations and prevent churn—all to improve their experience.

Telecoms.com…
U.S. State Bill to Push for Clearer 4G Definition
New legislation, the “Next Generation Wireless Disclosure Act”, was recently introduced in the U.S. senate—if passed, the bill will enforce operators to more clearly state the capabilities and coverage of their networks. Supporters of the bill say they hope to clear up confusion caused by the blanket marketing of all types of next-generation networks as 4G, regardless of the technologies on which they are based and the speeds they actually deliver. The proposed legislation also states that providers and other sellers of advanced wireless mobile broadband services will need to make “accurate and reasonable disclosures of the terms and conditions of such service in order to give consumers the necessary information to make informed decisions about such service.” Setting clear expectations from the beginning—and being upfront with customers about their coverage, minimum speeds, data caps and potential performance issues—will only help enhance the customer experience.

SearchTelecom.com…
New Service Needs Drive Changes to Telecom Data Center Architecture
Tom Nolle believes that because competition with over-the-top (OTT) providers will keep service prices low and revenue margins thin, operators need to evolve their telecom data center architectures in three phases. By undertaking the following distinct steps, operators can ensure that growth in their priority areas (content delivery, mobile services and cloud services) will not be hindered.

1. Deploy blade-server farms using generic servers that run Linux. This phase will support cloud computing and early content needs, and over time, operators will integrate OSS/BSS elements from their existing architectures to improve operational efficiency.
2. Migrate to fabric-based interconnection of storage and servers. The combination of OSS/BSS and feature reuse is likely to be the largest driver of change for telecom data center networking.
3. Connect data centers into modular clouds. It is not yet clear how far or fast this last phase will advance.

Do you think the telecom data center architecture evolution is feasible? Are there any other strategies operators should consider to keep up with the OTT model?


Closing out the 2011 Comptel User Group

Posted: June 20th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Another Comptel User Group has come to an end. Last week, nearly 200 communications service providers (CSPs), partners, industry analysts and Comptelians from around the world travelled to Helsinki to discuss OSS/BSS and the importance of marrying technology with business strategy – and to celebrate Comptel’s 25th Anniversary.

Three major areas stood out, especially during Wednesday’s CSP presentations. First, and unsurprisingly, was managing the data and device explosion with OSS/BSS. Country host DNA Finland spoke about its application of policy control to help cope with subscribers’ demand for mobile broadband. The operator emphasised the importance of differentiation and network resource prioritisation / utilisation in order to keep its customers satisfied and come out on top in a fiercely competitive market.

Harmonizing OSS/BSS was also largely talked about during the conference. Two of our oldest customers, one from Latin America and one from Europe, reviewed their initiatives to increase efficiencies—whether in terms of cost, service delivery, etc. The first discussed its focus on migrating pre-paid customers to post-paid, while the second explained how it has been modernising its inventory system by consolidating and automating interfaces and outsourcing application maintenance.

Lastly, several CSPs shared how they were leveraging OSS/BSS to cater to specific market needs and thus grow their revenues. A Brasilian cable MSO touched upon how it is looking to mediation to help increase productivity and optimise customers’ home visit experiences (e.g. for installation and service support). In another case, a Kuwaiti operator talked about how it is enabling real-time, online provisioning and activation with Comptel Dynamic SIM Management—all to fulfill the region’s desire for vanity numbers.

There were certainly some interesting stories and takeaways this year! Attendees, should you have any additional feedback on the 2011 Comptel User Group content, we welcome your thoughts. Or if you would like to learn more about any of the above areas and how Comptel can help, please contact comptel.marketing@comptel.com.


Happy Birthday Comptel!

Posted: June 16th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Behind the Scenes | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on Happy Birthday Comptel!

Today marks Comptel’s official 25th birthday. This is quite an accomplishment in the OSS and broader telecoms market! As our head of corporate development, Simo Sääskilahti, said in a recent press release, it really is testament to Comptel’s close collaboration with customers and focus on developing long-term partnerships.

Yesterday, during his Comptel User Group welcome speech, CEO Juhani Hintikka highlighted some of the key milestones in our quarter-century history. Did you know that…?

  • Comptel’s mediation solution supported the first GSM call in 1991.
  • Today, we serve more than 280 communications service providers across 85 countries and reach more than one billion subscribers worldwide.
  • The Comptel Dynamic OSS is behind 20 of the 30 largest mobile operators and processes approximately 20% of the world’s mobile CDRs.
  • Comptel has delivered approximately 1300 projects since its start.
  • About sixty percent of the company is located outside of our Helsinki, Finland headquarters. In fact, the office in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia is rapidly becoming one of our largest.
  • Comptel User Group gold sponsor and partner IBM is also celebrating an important birthday today.

We’re proud to have helped so many operators empower their communications services, better serve their subscribers and drive their businesses forward. The customer case study presentations yesterday were great proof points of our collaborative efforts and successful deployments–the feedback and enthusiasm we’ve since had has been excellent. For those customers and partners in attendance at the Comptel User Group, we hoped you’ve enjoyed your time in Helsinki and celebrating our birthday with us.


Customer Experience Takes Centre Stage at the Comptel User Group

Posted: June 15th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

We began the 2011 Comptel User Group yesterday with our second annual OSS/BSS industry analyst day. As I previously mentioned, customer experience was a major theme within each of the presentations.

Our CEO, Juhani Hintikka, first explored the concept of data as the new oil—operators haven’t tapped the potential of subscribers’ information, he explained. In order to create customer loyalty and, at the same time, derive new sources of revenue, they need to exploit every event or transaction in a customer’s lifecycle (without compromising privacy) in order to gain critical insight and take proper action in real time.

Greg Scullard from Comptel’s CTO Office took this thinking a step further. Operators have largely focused on processing orders without developing real relationships with customers. But, as he noted, time is of the essence, and it’s the details that are paramount to winning customers’ hearts, minds and wallets. Operators should instead make analysing subscribers’ behaviours a priority; by doing so, they can find a way to interact with customers much earlier than points of sale, proactively ease their frustrations and prevent churn.

Whether speaking about next-generation fulfillment, the evolution of mediation and charging, or the potential of these two core Comptel areas when combined (e.g. dynamic SIM management), the leadership team proved that operators really need to think about OSS as an integral component to improving the customer experience and enabling their businesses.

Comptel User Group - Radisson Blu Espoo

Overall, the day’s conversations on customer experience were informative and lively, and industry analyst feedback on our corporate strategy and technology vision was positive. We look forward to building on the discussions today with our customer and partner presentations, and tomorrow with several interactive roundtable sessions.


Welcome to the 14th Annual Comptel User Group

Posted: June 13th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

It seems like we were just in Windsor … but the 14th annual Comptel User Group is now upon us!

This year, our contact forum for customers, partners and industry analysts is being held in Espoo (near our global headquarters in Helsinki), Finland. Participants can look forward to networking with Comptel’s executive management, our catalog-driven fulfillmentdynamic SIM management, mediationcharging and policy control experts, and each other like in years past.

Comptel Headquarters

Focusing on the theme of customer experience, the event will feature a corporate strategy overview from CEO Juhani Hintikka, followed by a live Comptel Dynamic OSS demonstration led by CTO Gareth Senior. Communications service provider customers, including DNA Finland, Telenor Norway, Net Brazil and Claro Peru, will present, and a keynote from partner IBM will cover smarter communications through data analytics.

And once again, we will moderate an interactive session with panelists from partners Cisco and Alcatel-Lucent. The Q&A will explore the changing face of the customer experience, the critical role of OSS, and how network and other data can be translated into new revenue opportunities for operators.

As always, we invite both those attending and those unable to make the event to participate in discussions on “The Dynamics of OSS”—and to kick things off, show us how much you know about this year’s Comptel User Group location. Write your answers to these trivia questions in the comment section below.

When was Helsinki founded?

In what year were the Olympic Games held in Helsinki?

In what year was Helsinki a European City of Culture?

What is the number of the tram that is also known as the City Tram?


Around the World

Posted: June 10th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Around the World | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Around the World

Light Reading…
A Brief Guide to India’s Telecom Market
In this article, Ray Le Maistre gives readers an overview of India’s telecom landscape. There is an insatiable demand for mobile communications services! By the end of 2005, about 80 million mobile lines had been activated, and just five years later, mobile connectivity had grown to a whopping 750 million users. This is a clear reflection of the desire for communication services from the Indian population, which is in line with a previous Around the World blog post we highlighted detailing a Frost & Sullivan report on India’s tremendous growth over the next five years.

Additionally, Ray notes that introducing Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) services, which are likely to run over the world’s first large-scale Long Term Evolution Time Division Duplex (LTE TDD) networks, should help deliver some of the tangible growth that the Indian government is looking for. However, the Indian government is concerned that not enough local telecom companies are benefiting from the operators’ combined annual capital outlay of more than $30 billion. As a result, there have been talks of introducing local manufacturing quotas. Ultimately, legislation will play a big role in what’s to come, and as Ray states, because India’s market is changing so quickly, it’s hard to predict what market-altering new legislation or regulation might come along next.

ZDnet…
WiMAX to Survive as ‘Niche’ Tech
WiMAX seems to have lost to LTE as the dominant mobile broadband standard, but it will survive as a “niche” technology, author Liau Yun Qing reports. According to In-Stat analyst Chris Kissel, the former may find a place to survive in under-developed markets such as Latin America or Africa, where technology can still be built in areas with little or no mobile service. There could also be room for WiMAX in small markets focused on wireless DSL and in the smart grid market. Chris notes that ultimately, the problem with implementing WiMAX is that mobile operators had to build it from the ground up since it’s not backwards-compatible to any existing UMTS standard. Despite WiMAX’s decreasing popularity, LTE is thriving in China, India and elsewhere. In fact, according to a Global mobile Suppliers Association report in May, there are 208 operators worldwide investing in LTE—98 more than in June 2010. Do you believe WiMAX will survive as a niche tech with this rapid rise of LTE, and if so, for how long?

Nation Multimedia…
More Plan to Buy Smartphones: Survey
The popularity of smartphones is both undeniable and rapidly growing. According to an online survey conducted by Nielsen, almost 42 percent of online customers in Thailand without smartphones said they will definitely, or are likely, to buy one in 2011. At the end of 2010, Nielsen survey research showed that Southeast Asia’s average smartphone ownership was 25 percent. Will Wang, director of the firm’s telecom practice, states that while Thailand still awaits the arrival of a full-scale commercialized 3G network, citizens are willing to buy a smartphone so they can integrate with social networks and enjoy gaming experiences via Wi-Fi or existing data services. However, it’s important to remain focused on what will keep smartphone users satisfied, especially as smartphone usage increases. As Oliver Suard points out, it’s critical that industry leaders remember to focus on customer satisfaction on all types of mobile users, and remember to also cater to those who do not own an iPhone or are heavy users of mobile broadband value-added services.


Ensuring Everybody Is Ready for Number Portability Implementation

Posted: June 7th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Industry Insights | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Ensuring Everybody Is Ready for Number Portability Implementation

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.


Management World 2011: A Picture’s Worth a Thousand Words

Posted: June 3rd, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on Management World 2011: A Picture’s Worth a Thousand Words

TM Forum kicked things off at its new Management World location, the Convention Centre Dublin.

The Convention Centre at night

Inside, the convention centre was just as impressive as the exterior, with participants from all around the world taking part in the “Innovation Revolution”.

Comptel’s vice president of mediation and charging, Mika Tanttu, presented a TeliaSonera case study – how the operator introduced tiered, value-based pricing, and was able to better balance revenues, resources and customer satisfaction.

Nancee Ruzicka of analyst firm Stratecast discussed drivers of change during the presentation with Mika.


Comptel's booth at Management World


Comptel’s booth was buzzing with discussions of the company’s OSS solutions and telecom trends

We wrapped things up on day two with a party at The Vaults.