Comptel Acquires Xtract

Posted: January 30th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: News | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Last week, Comptel announced its intention to acquire Xtract, a company headquartered in Espoo near Helsinki (Finland) and specialising in advanced analytics. The purpose of the acquisition is to extend Comptel’s product portfolio and expertise, specifically with a view to deliver on the “event-analysis-action” vision outlined in the company’s strategy, which was communicated to the market in Q4 2011.

Comptel’s strategy is focused on helping communications service providers (CSPs) to act as service aggregators (i.e. blending together services from multiple sources), and to use data about customers and operations to drive real-time business decisions and deliver services. This strategy builds on Comptel’s current expertise, i.e. processing a large amount of usage data (“event”) and making things happen in the network or elsewhere (“action”), e.g. fulfilling a service order or implementing a policy.

Comptel believes that by analysing the data they process in real time, CSPs can turn that data into actionable information, which can be acted upon automatically. This will allow CSPs to improve their interaction with their customers, offering better services to them and to their partners (e.g. third-party providers), resulting in increased revenues and reduced churn. In many ways, this can be seen as a next step in customer experience management.

Clearly, the missing piece in this vision was the “analysis” part, i.e. advanced analytics software. Comptel considered a number of possible acquisition targets in the analytics space. Comptel chose Xtract for a number of reasons, including the real-time subscriber behaviour analytics capability; the expertise and thought leadership in advanced analytics, particularly in telecoms; and the customer base, including major telecom references. In fact, Comptel had already partnered with Xtract in 2011, most notably creating a demo that was presented to delegates at the Comptel User Group (CUG) in June. That demo was extremely well received by operators attending the event.

This acquisition is clearly an exciting development for Comptel and Xtract, and customers and partners. Comptel will be sharing more details about its vision and plans at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona from 27 February – 1 March. So why not arrange to meet there to find out more (email comptel.marketing@comptel.com)?


Comptel Prepares for Cisco Live! in London

Posted: January 27th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on Comptel Prepares for Cisco Live! in London

Next week, the Comptel team is again heading to Cisco Live! in London, and we expect cloud to be a popular point of discussion at the show. Cloud services offer great revenue potential for communications service providers (CSPs), but harnessing that potential requires a comprehensive platform dedicated to a very different kind of business.

Our staff will be on hand to demonstrate how the Comptel Virtualization Charging Solution (VCS) for Cloud is tailored toward this new business model. It re-uses many of Comptel’s existing mediation and charging components that are already deployed with various CSPs worldwide, and enables them to create advanced and flexible charging models in a cloud context (e.g. Software-as-a-Service, Infrastructure-as-a-Service and Storage-as-a-Service).

The VCS acts as the mediation layer between a CSP’s cloud environment and billing system by collecting usage statistics of virtual machines managed via e.g. Vcenter, Xen or Hper-V, and then processing network bandwidth data from e.g. Nexus routers and rating the data according to active subscriptions, and finally delivering rated items for billing-based specified time intervals. We like to call this “concept to cash”.

If you’d like to talk with us about cloud services’ impact on BSS/OSS, how CSPs can best manage their network assets for managing cloud services and our VCS solution, come to the Comptel booth (#E3)—you’ll find us just next to the Cisco Industrial Network Solutions demo area. (Some of the demo areas have less technical names such as Bloodhound—unrelated to K-9s, Bloodhound SSC is the ultimate land speed record car!)

One other fun fact: After Cisco Live! in London is complete, the conference venue, ExCeL London, will play a big role in the 2012 Summer Olympics and Paralympics, serving as the host to seven and six events (or 80 and 74 medals) respectively. As my peer Andrew Gavin wrote during the FIFA World Cup in 2010, the network infrastructure must have greater capacity than those of previous sporting events based on the anticipated increase in traffic demand. This will be key to ensuring a high customer experience for the global audience the Olympics will bring to London. Cisco will be supplying the routing, switching, firewalls and IP telephony to approximately 100 venues across the U.K. to support the summer games, and they will be showcasing that during Cisco Live.

We hope to see you at the event!


Looking Forward to TELSA in Saudi Arabia

Posted: January 25th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Comptel sees a lot of potential in the Middle East and Africa (MEA), and is investing to create more opportunities for being a key stakeholder in the region for its customers and partners. One country that presents immense possibilities is Saudi Arabia, which was recently ranked as the most valuable and second largest Middle Eastern mobile market with 42.9 million subscriptions.

As such, Comptel is a silver sponsor of and looks forward to meeting industry players at the Saudi Telecoms and ICT Summit (TELSA), which is going to be held from 29 to 31 January 2012 at the Four Seasons in Riyadh. The conference and exhibition will cover themes such as infrastructure development, growth strategies and investment opportunities in the Saudi telecoms industry.

Ahmed Hamza, a cluster head in the MEA region for Comptel, is going to participate in a panel discussion on harnessing the full potential of broadband to drive increased revenue, which is going to be held on 29 January at 16:30. The panel will talk about increasing ARPU through an effective broadband strategy, attracting customers through digitisation and content development, and capitalising on mobile broadband to increase revenue by focusing on sectors such as vocational education, health and agriculture. It will also discuss developing non-voice service offerings through segmented focus and niche marketing, introducing value-added services to meet customers’ needs using data mining and other business intelligence tools, assessing pricing structure and determining an optimal tariff rate. Last but not least, Ahmed will explore how operators can leverage broadband services to increase their market share.

The next day of the summit at 11:30, Kim Molin, a director of solution management at Comptel, will present a session on intelligent bandwidth management for an optimised customer experience. The presentation will cover differentiating data services with a personalised quality of experience, introducing bandwidth management tools for proactively improving customer satisfaction and increasing ARPU through intelligently up-selling new data services.

From Saudi Airlines presenting its strategic ICT transformation initiatives to gain competitive advantage in the aviation industry to Zain Saudi Arabia giving a cost-benefit analysis and critical insights into why it chose the TD-LTE variant, this summit and exhibition should be quite an exciting event with local, regional and international telecom operators, regulators, service providers, wholesale carriers, government agencies, vendors and corporations together under one roof. It’s also interesting to note that the conference organizers have provided workshops on how telecoms can provide solutions to the public and oil and gas sectors.

We welcome you to visit and interact with Comptel experts at our TELSA exhibition stand (G 25).


VanillaPlus Policy Control Features – A Sneak Peek

Posted: January 20th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Industry Insights | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Policy control is near and dear to us here at Comptel, and we’re very excited for the upcoming February / March issue of VanillaPlus that will have a special focus on this area. In fact, Comptel has contributed some thoughts for inclusion in that issue, and we’d like to provide you with a sneak peek.

In one feature, Comptel CEO Juhani Hintikka weighs in on policy management as a means of bandwidth conservation and as a way to create upsell opportunities. Juhani explains how this is becoming a reality as policy concepts evolve and mature, and discusses additional opportunities available to communications service providers (CSPs) if they can take advantage of this function. This becomes especially relevant with the rollout of LTE, where almost every user transaction must travel through the policy control engine. As such, the Policy Charging Rules Function (PCRF) must be able to both handle the scale and complexity of these transactions—calling for a need to combine OSS flexibility and support to fit CSPs’ business models as well as provide network-level transaction processing.

In another article, Comptel’s policy control solutions manager, Joonas Ojala, shares his thoughts on how policy management will allow CSPs to better control their bandwidth to best provide a package that fits customer needs. To do this, CSPs need to steer away from technical attributes and focus more-so on use cases and analysing customer behaviour in order to differentiate service packages appropriately. For example, those who surf the web randomly should have a different option than corporate customers who may have a higher priority allocated to them in terms of speed.

To learn more about Comptel’s thoughts on these topics, check out the upcoming issue of VanillaPlus!


Around the World

Posted: January 12th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Around the World | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Around the World

Informa Telecoms and Media Blog…
12 Top OSS/BSS Trends for 2012
Analyst Peter Dykes highlights an exciting outlook for the OSS/BSS sector in 2012. He predicts that the growing requirement for more complex rating and billing functionality will open up opportunities for vendors, and says that improvements in this area are necessary for operators embracing LTE. For 2012, he also believes that in both mature and emerging markets, there will be a greater focus on areas such as customer experience, business intelligence and innovation in handling network congestion.

The predictions Comptel believe are particularly interesting include the rise in demand for OSS tailored to M2M services, which Steve Hateley recently wrote about, and the growth of policy-based online charging (OLC) as operators seek to offer more innovative services.  What 2012 prediction do you think is most surprising?

Telecomasia.net…
Five New Challenges for APAC Telecoms in 2012
Ovum analyst David Kennedy believes that tightening margins and streamlining business processes will be the main theme for the Asia-Pacific telecoms industry, as overall growth in the mobile market slows and competition for customers increases. David believes these five trends will drive the market forward in the region in 2012:

  • The push for cost optimisation and efficiency – this will grow in importance due to increasing competition and margin pressures.
  • The importance of customer service – operators will work to stay ahead of the competition with promotions, marketing, better network convergence/reliability, etc.
  • The future of smart devices and mobile app ecosystems – successful devices will need to integrate applications, content and services into the platform.
  • Network data management importance– as data surges, operators are being forced to alleviate network congestion and will roll out a combination of solutions including more LTE networks and Wi-Fi offloading.
  • Bundling for customer retention – more bundling is expected to emerge for mobile-only and second-tier operators.

Do you agree that these trends will define the APAC telecoms industry in 2012 and ensure continued profitability and improved efficiency?

Telecoms.com…
Mobile Network Predictions for 2012
In 2012, the mobile market will see two key trends emerge: technologies critical to maintaining a high user experience and initiatives providing additional profit growth opportunities while reducing costs.  In an effort to improve the customer experience and increase revenues, operators are looking to invest in network sharing and traffic optimisation.

Another major issue in 2012 will be coverage for LTE networks, most notably in markets where operators only have access to high frequency spectrum. LTE femtocells are predicted to boom in popularity, which will benefit residential, business and public hotspots.  However, deployment of LTE small cells for capacity improvements is not expected to be widespread in 2012.

Additionally, investing in traffic optimisation for video is a hot topic, with content providers, CDNs and other vendors, and mobile operators debating various ways to deliver mobile content efficiently. We’re looking forward to seeing mobile innovations in action at the upcoming London Olympics, where operators are expected to showcase the successes of their technologies.


Considerations for a Next Generation of Mediation – Balancing the Data Explosion with Revenue Monetisation

Posted: January 4th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Industry Insights | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

We’ve often discussed and debated the negative “scissor effect” phenomenon that operators are facing today when it comes to data services. In a nutshell, it’s the inverse relationship between growth in data traffic and decline in operators’ revenue.

There are several key factors that will drive data service growth in the coming years, which are contributing to broadening the gap, typically an improvement in network performance and growth in video services, growth in M2M-based business models and the move toward service convergence.

On a positive note, operators do not have a lack of data when it comes to subscribers, their usage transactions, network performance, cell-site information, device-level data, as well as data spread across their networks and back office systems. But will they have the innovation, know-how and drive to stitch the two together (data growth + subscriber & service awareness) to bridge the chasm being formed by declining revenues?

Often unappreciated, never given enough due but playing a pivotal role in the context of operator revenue monetisation strategies are next-generation data mediation platforms. These platforms will provide operators with the foundation to achieve true convergence and increase service velocity by rapidly introducing next-generation services and launching IP-based services that dramatically increase transactional volumes.

Old-fashioned, batch-oriented mediation platforms are gradually becoming archaic, and the need of the hour is real-time, scalable, flexible, network-driven, bi-directional, on-line and offline charging mediation platforms.

Scalability, processing performance and the ability to run on low-cost hardware are some of the key challenges that must also be addressed by these next-generation data mediation systems. In fact, next-generation data mediation platforms need a multitude of evolved and new capabilities ranging from being network, technology and vendor-agnostic, to supporting triggering and analytics.

Comptel Convergent Mediation supports system consolidation and mediation of all services through a total cost of ownership (TCO)-sensitive, single-platform approach. Regardless of whether end customers are prepaid or postpaid, it enables differentiation in highly competitive markets by offering a smooth evolution of the current network—and accompanying OSS/BSS environment—into a fully convergent solution, with best-of-breed, field-proven modules.

This blog post is based upon a recent Comptel-commissioned Heavy Reading whitepaper, “Balancing Act: Data Explosion vs. Revenue Monetisation – Considerations for a Next Generation of Mediation”.  Comptel would like to acknowledge Heavy Reading senior analyst Ari Banerjee for his role in the development of the content.