Around the World

Posted: March 22nd, 2012 | Author: OSS Team | Filed under: Around the World | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

RCR Wireless News…
Latin America Counts 32 HSPA+, 5 LTE Networks
According to a 4G Americas report, Latin America is increasingly deploying HSPA technology and rolling out LTE. Currently, the region has 72 commercial deployments of HSPA technology in 31 countries, with five commercial LTE networks and 300,000 LTE connections expected by the end of 2012.

Along the same lines, the Global Mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) recently published a report showing that 300 operators worldwide have committed to commercial LTE network deployments or are engaged in trials, technology testing or studies. This is a significant increase—50 percent, in fact—over the previous year.

The LTE evolution is clearly catching on in Latin America, just in time for the region’s networks to be ready for the data boom expected during the World Cup in Brazil in 2014.

CEE Operators on the Ball in OTT and Connected TV
Over the past year, there has been an explosion of activity in the Central and Eastern European (CEE) online video sector, with operators jumping head first into new market opportunities by offering a variety of new services.

Informa Telecoms & Media forecasts that online video Internet traffic in the region will account for 27 percent of total Internet traffic by 2015. Additionally, the number of connected devices is set to dramatically increase, and the growth of such devices will continue to fuel over-the-top (OTT) service launches. However, operators are increasingly adapting when it comes to OTT services by investing in the development of full multi-screen services to attract subscribers and, in some cases, by teaming up with OTT providers.

The boom in OTT offerings provides an opportunity for operators to embrace innovation and introduce new value-added services. Do you think operators are able to effectively collaborate with OTT players to create mutually beneficial offerings that will appeal to customers?

A Busy Agenda
In 2011, the telecom industry came to terms with two major global shocks—the global economic downturn and the disruption caused by mass digitisation. The downturn accelerated the commoditisation of traditional telecom services, pushing operators to cut costs and increase efficiency. The digital boom encouraged operators to boost network capacity and connectivity, and introduce new services that take advantage of mobile payment platforms and cloud computing.

Due to these global changes, the telecom ecosystem is becoming much more competitive as new players from adjacent industries and technological innovation challenge operators. This year, operators will spend more on infrastructure as 4G/ LTE goes mainstream, and make strategic choices by leveraging existing capabilities and building new ones.

With the unprecedented choice of services and devices, customers will likely emerge as the winners of the drastically changing telecom landscape—do you agree with this prediction?

Around the World

Posted: September 9th, 2011 | Author: OSS Team | Filed under: Around the World | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

India May Need ‘Tens of Billions’ in Broadband Network Spending
India, Asia’s third-largest economy, is targeting better public access to information and services—a move that requires billions to expand broadband connectivity. The opportunity for telecom operators and both local and global companies supporting the infrastructure build-out is tremendous in this region, where the number of broadband connections is expected to jump 13-fold to 160 million by March 2015. However, this dramatic, rapid subscriber growth is challenging the scalability and affordability of India’s broadband network and 3G services.

As the article notes, overcoming growth issues requires new business partners and ways of structuring to make money, in combination with some innovation. Flexible, dynamic OSS solutions are also essential for enabling operators to manage and monetise these offerings.

The East African…
Global Cellphone Makers, Telcos Scrambling for East African Market
Like India, East Africa’s fastest growing sector is the telecoms industry. According to Jolyon Barker, global leader at TMT Deloitte, this will continue to be the case in the coming years, as more international companies invest in the region, operators heighten the competition and people own handsets and connect to the Internet anytime, anywhere.

Some of the key challenges facing the telecom sector in East Africa include the need for better infrastructure and energy supply to meet the demand for newer technologies and more connectivity services. There is also increased pressure on operators, particularly small, local ones, to find innovative ways to grow while maintaining a high quality of service on tight margins. Communications service providers (CSPs) can effectively handle this pressure with the right levers to control service/resource supply and further encourage customers’ use of data services. What advice would you give to CSPs looking to survive and succeed in the East African market?

LTE Asia: Can Mobile Operators Sell Volume-Based Pricing to Customers?
Sabah Hussain of Informa Telecoms & Media believes that with the capacity crunch, it is not economically or technically feasible to provide unlimited broadband for all. But will customers be able to understand volume-based pricing, and will they accept it?

CSL, one of the first operators to launch LTE, has proved that volume-based pricing can indeed be implemented while keeping customers satisfied. The operator has accomplished this by educating subscribers on how to keep track of their data consumption. It has helped them avoid bill shock via text messages, made it easier for customers to upgrade their price plans or buy additional capacity at any time, and ensured high-quality over-the-top (OTT) services. Sabah goes on to explain that “a more controversial strategy has been to migrate all CSL customers to LTE no matter what.”

Overall, Sabah concludes, moving everyone to LTE is an advantage because customers will no longer have to worry about the variations in quality of service they’ll receive or wonder about the differences between 3G and 4G. Do you agree with Sabah’s points about the benefits of moving all customers to LTE?

Around the World

Posted: June 28th, 2011 | Author: OSS Team | Filed under: Around the World | Tags: , , , , , , , , | No Comments »
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.…
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.…
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?

Around the World

Posted: February 25th, 2011 | Author: OSS Team | Filed under: Around the World | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

Taking a Lead
Many countries in the Middle East are often criticised for the slow pace of reform in the telecom sector, but as editor Roger Field points out, the Gulf appears to be leading the way in one important aspect of telecom—roaming.  At last month’s Roaming MENA Conference, one of the main discussion points concerned the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) roaming regulations, which intend to reduce the cost of roaming charges by placing a cap on the wholesale and retail roaming fees that can be charged between operators in the Gulf.  The regulation has drawn some criticism from operators, and some have suggested that self regulation has already been achieved by simplifying roaming tariffs and giving end-users a clear indication of roaming fees.  With more consumers using mobile data services, the issue of ‘bill shock’, especially as a result of roaming charges, has become of greater concern not just to regulators but also to operators themselves who are aware of the importance of quality of experience, which of course includes billing.   Do you believe self-regulation is enough?

TM Forum Inside Leadership…
Cloud Services: The Next Big Thing for Telcos
Keith Willetts, chairman and CEO of TM Forum, shares his thoughts on cloud services and the challenges telcos face with it.  As he points out, many of today’s early cloud providers are product companies that are learning how to deliver complicated services.  One would think that that telcos have the upper hand when it comes to delivering services because of their brand recognition, large volume of customers and resources to deliver services; however, according to Willetts, with those attributes comes a poor reputation of customer service, a history of exposing technical complexity (rather than hiding it), a tendency to be slow to make decisions, and the weight of regulations and government.  The opportunity for telcos in the cloud is huge if they move quickly—not building the whole offering themselves—but rather putting in place delivery systems, customer support, etc.  Cloud is a two-sided business model, where telcos can partner with cloud providers and act as a go-to-market service enabler.  The example Keith uses in his article is that the telco could just provide the managed bandwidth that the cloud service needs. But it could also provide a lot of value—for example, providing the cloud store ‘front window’ (catalogs, etc.), security and authentication, and billing and customer care.  What do you think of this kind of model / partnering?  Do you see cloud being an opportunity for telcos?

Light Reading…
Reflections on Barcelona: Decision Time for 4G
From a network perspective, the most striking thing emerging from this year’s Mobile World Congress was just how much the industry’s mindset has shifted from a 3G-oriented, hierarchical network architecture to a flat, all-IP architecture. But as analyst Patrick Donegan points out, the daunting scale of this upcoming architectural transformation cannot be overestimated. To keep the cost of running the network at a sustainable level, operators’ network planning, engineering and operations teams will have to design and deliver a network-wide transformation unlike anything they have ever been asked to deliver on before.  Patrick compares this transformation to a house being refurbished.  Previously, transformations of the mobile network were discrete, like redoing the bathroom or building an extension.  The 4G transformation won’t allow anything like that.  IP makes network boundaries and domains more porous, so that what you do in one domain necessarily impacts all other domains (not just adjacent ones).  And it drives feature distribution, which in turn drives demand for new product types.  This kind of transformation more closely resembles refurbishing an entire house while you’re still living in it.  The need for coordination and alignment between work undertaken in one “room” and another is so much greater.  Do you see this network transformation impacting quality of service, especially with more mobile data traffic?

Around the World – Mobile World Congress Edition

Posted: February 11th, 2011 | Author: OSS Team | Filed under: Around the World | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Total Telecom…
LTE Goes Mainstream, But Beware of ‘4G Pretenders’
As the industry gears up for another Mobile World Congress, Total Telecom’s Nick Wood takes a look at LTE developments over the last 12 months, as it’s sure to be a key focal area at this year’s show.  In February 2010, commercial LTE deployments were restricted to two countries, but by the end of last year, the technology was on its way to becoming mainstream.  Some of the world’s largest operators, such as Verizon, TeliaSonera, Vodafone Germany, among others, have launched LTE services, with many more intending to follow suit in 2011.  But, as Nick points out, while operators forge ahead with service rollouts, the industry as a whole is facing an unexpected LTE-related issue: marketing—leaving many wondering what actually constitutes true 4G.  Basically, any CSP operating an HSPA network or faster can claim to be offering 4G services, so Total Telecom is focused on separate the true LTE players from the 4G players while in Barcelona.

Light Reading…
Evolution in Policy Control
International managing editor Ray Le Maistre caught up with Heavy Reading’s chief analyst Graham Finnie on policy management.

Graham believes that policy management will be just as hot in 2011, as it was in 2010—and for similar reasons—mobile broadband and the need to manage fair usage.  But what is interesting to note is that use cases are beginning to shift.  Operators are applying policy control in new ways beyond fair-use management and looking at the OSS solutions as a way to personalise, monetise and offer differentiated services.  For example, some operators have begun to use policy control to offer unlimited access to Facebook or providing differential access to particular types of subscribers.  How do you see policy control shaping out for 2011?

Pipeline’s Guide to Mobile World Congress 2011
John Wilson puts together a helpful Mobile World Congress guide for those who are interested in BSS / OSS topics.  He breaks down the relevant keynotes and breakout sessions.  Some to highlight include:

  • Tuesday’s keynotes from Vodafone, Telefonica, AT&T and more.  While these talks aren’t necessarily related to OSS / BSS, this is a chance to hear what operators have planned for 2011 and the next steps in their next-gen mobile network rollouts.
  • Thursday afternoon sessions on the future of the network and LTE.  These talks will give an overview on how LTE is ultimately enabling attractive new mobile broadband services, while ensuring the support of voice and SMS services.

Telesperience analyst Teresa Cottam also provides a rundown of who’s at MWC11, where to meet people and what’s hot in her recent post BSSOSS at MWC11.  Make sure you stop by Comptel’s booth (Hall 1, Stand 1C06) and say hello!  We’ll also be blogging and tweeting throughout the show, so make sure you follow the conversations.

Around the World…

Posted: June 4th, 2010 | Author: OSS Team | Filed under: Around the World | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

Light Reading
Heavy Lifting Analyst Notes | Nice Show: Management World 2010
In this article, senior analyst, Ari Banerjee of Heavy Reading captures the key takeaways from Management World Nice. The common theme proved to be providing flexible and efficient software solutions and improving customer experience. Check out our recent posts from the show.

Data and Telecom | IT Business Edge…
4G Is Not the Only Game in Town
Blogger, Carl Weinschenk explores the wireless landscape and ponders the future of LTE and WiMax. While, these technologies are certainly the industry’s focus, Carl states that 4G is not everything and brings to our attention to High Speed Packet Access Plus (HSPA+) technology, which is informally called 3.5G technology. Do you agree with Carl’s views on HSPA+ and 4G? Do you think it’s comparable to 4G?

Broadband Expert…
World Cup Travelers Warned Over Mobile Bills
With the World Cup approaching, many experts are warning travelers to be careful about using their mobile devices to avoid costly and unexpected bills. Check out blogger William Harvey’s posts for recent industry commentary. This is particularly timely with the EU’s July 1 data roaming regulation approaching. This is a growing concern among operators globally, as they need to give their customers more control of their own experiences. How do you think this will unfold over the coming weeks?