Around the World

Posted: April 13th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Around the World | Tags: , , , , , , | Comments Off on Around the World

New York Times…
A Ballooning Megabyte Budget
Limited data plans are pushing customers to carefully budget their megabytes and more closely track their mobile usage. Confusion abounds, however, as many consumers aren’t sure how to quantify megabytes, and upgrades to faster devices and networks speeds are encouraging people to use more data-intensive applications but are leaving them to deal with unexpected charges .

To avoid data plan confusion and bill shock, mobile operators are offering tiered data plans and promoting transparent billing by giving customers options for monitoring their data. Some operators, for instance, are sending text messages to update consumers on their allotted and remaining data usage.

According to the article, many customers aren’t aware that data monitoring tools exist or have not used them to budget their data use. Therefore, operators need to improve their customer interactions and demonstrate the value of these resources to help customers take the right steps towards budgeting their megabytes.

Total Telecom…
Leakage Could Cost Mobile Operators $296bn in 2016
According to Juniper Research, if mobile operators fail to update their revenue assurance systems, their revenue losses from leakage could balloon to $296 billion in 2016, up from $58.4 billion. To minimize the risk of fraud, the firm recommends installing a real-time system to monitor and react to criminal activity, in addition to processing and validating all billable transactions.

Supporting this, research from KPMG shows that 50 percent of operators in Africa and the Middle East lose more than one percent of revenue through leakage. Losses can often be linked to improper billing operations, placing additional impetus for operators to ensure their billing systems are properly integrated into the operations support system (OSS) and business processes. As the head of KPMG says, the hope is that these figures act as a “wake up call” for the industry and encourage operators to invest in revenue assurance and fraud management systems to prevent increasing revenue losses.

Light Reading…
Ready or Not, Here Comes LTE-Advanced
Even though Long Term Evolution-Advanced (LTE-A) networks won’t be a mainstream technology until 2015, some operators are making their commercial debut with the technology and claiming to be “LTE-A ready”. This is spurring a debate over what is and isn’t 4G—and even 5G.

As marketplace confusion with network labels grows, savvy customers are increasingly asking, is a network truly LTE-A only when it uses multiple-input, multiple-output (MIMO) orders of 4×4 or higher? At 8×8, does it become worthy of a 5G marketing moniker? The answers to these questions could dictate how operators are able to differentiate their services and respond to customer needs.

According to a Heavy Reading report, despite the debate surrounding LTE-A, the emerging network is worth paying attention to because its ultimate impact will be widespread. Do you agree with the report’s prediction that LTE-A will dominate the global market? And what do you think is the value of knowing an operator is “LTE-A ready”?

Around the World

Posted: February 10th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Around the World | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Around the World

Total Telecom…
Service Providers Must Think Creatively to Get Most Out of M2M
The automotive industry is one of the key drivers of M2M communications. This article explains that operators need to include additional services on top of M2M offerings in order for customers to get the most out of the technology.

Telefónica and Masternaut, for example, are using M2M communications to monitor driver behavior, such as braking and acceleration habits, for enterprises with large fleets of vehicles. On top of their service, they are offering an element that allows companies to rank their drivers and award a prize for the highest ranked depot within an organisation. By using the natural human instinct for competition, Telefónica and Masternaut are able to encourage safe driving.

Telefónica is not the only mobile operator looking closely at this space—many are interested in building an enablement framework that will allow them to reap the benefits of M2M technology.  Do you see M2M being a major telecom trend in 2012?

Telcos May Spend More to Boost Network Capacity
This week, the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) of Singapore introduced measures to boost the quality of 3G mobile services for subscribers. As of April 1, operators must ensure more than 99 percent coverage in outdoor areas and more than 85 percent coverage within buildings, with a less than one percent rate of dropped calls.

Due to these measures, Singapore telecom operators are focusing on improving their control of surging mobile data volumes, and are predicted to invest between $1.3 billion and $1.4 billion this year to boost their network capacity. This increase in capacity will be essential as the demand for faster data networks and LTE grows. The key for operators will be to guarantee a high quality of service in the wake of new regulations while also driving profits and preparing for the next phase of mobile broadband.

How to Avoid ‘Bill Shock’ From Smartphone Use
For many Americans, using a cell phone while traveling abroad can result in ‘bill shock’ when they receive a stunningly large phone bill resulting from unanticipated roaming charges. To address this problem, the FCC will implement standards next spring requiring wireless carriers to provide timely and effective notice to consumers about expected roaming charges.

The new FCC regulations will present opportunities for CSPs to differentiate themselves on the customer experience front, by taking a closer look at improving billing services and personalised alert services. What do you think these new regulations will mean for the industry?

Around the World

Posted: October 25th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Around the World | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Around the World

Connected Planet…
Analysis: Is Bill Shock Pressure Creating a Tipping Point for ‘Great’ Customer Service?
Alex Leslie predicts that customer experience will improve as a result of regulators’ efforts to lower bills for mobile usage. His article was published on the heels of new FCC and CTIA guidelines dictating that network operators send voice or text alerts to users as they approach data limits. Regulators in Australia, Asia and Europe are already following suit.

Even though regulations are often met with resistance, history shows that they can be beneficial in giving rise to improved solutions and services—and customer experiences. For example, previous rules about data usage and billing accuracy led to revenue assurance with communications service providers (CSPs) improving their billing strategies. Do you think history will repeat itself, with the new bill shock regulations opening opportunities for CSPs to differentiate themselves in the customer service department?

Light Reading…
Policy Is Still Strategic, But Changing
A survey by Heavy Reading shows that network operator executives expect policy management to gain importance, and predicts that a new generation of policy gear will be deployed to handle increased functionality. The survey results also reveal interest in using policy control to enable business models with third-party content, and mirror Comptel CEO Juhani Hintikka’s predictions that the next phase in policy control will take advantage of third-party applications with content prioritisation.

What these new business models require is more scalable policy technology that can integrate with charging and billing systems, so that operators have a wider range of triggers to drive policy, both in creating new services and in managing congestion.

The Four Main Pillars of the Telecoms Customer Experience
Telecoms analyst Teresa Cottam writes that many CSPs are focusing on their own needs rather than looking at customer experience from the customer’s point of view. She says that there are four main pillars to the telecoms customer experience:

1)      Network Experience
2)      Commercial Experience
3)      Product Experience
4)      Service Experience

The pillars need to simultaneously work together while also being individually optimised in order to support the overall customer experience.  Even though customers should be the focus of the business, Teresa stresses that operators still need to be profitable. The key challenge is finding the right tools that will help CSPs improve customer engagement and at the same time, help them increase their revenue.

Around the World

Posted: September 9th, 2011 | Author: | 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: July 15th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Around the World | Tags: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Around the World

Gulf News…
Mobile Broadband on Growth Track

A recent Informa Telecoms & Media report indicates that mobile broadband growth in the Middle East and Africa will outpace that of fixed broadband. In fact, mobile broadband subscriptions are set to multiply more than 16 times to 430.7 million by the end of 2015, up from 25.39 million in 2010.

These numbers are a bit deceiving though, as the high incidence of multiple SIM use means that the number of unique users is markedly lower than the number of unique subscriptions. As the article points out, this will continue to be the case in the coming years because users want to take advantage of promotions and on-net tariffs, and due to the varied quality of service and extent of network coverage offered by different operators.

Mobile broadband growth is also causing claims that bandwidth hogs will make it difficult for operators to profitably run their networks, and leaving consumers wondering about how much bandwidth they are actually using. Like we’ve previously discussed, policy control can give communications service providers (CSPs) the levers they need to control service/resource supply, encourage customer demand with a more intelligent approach to bandwidth management, and see revenue growth.

The Wall Street Journal…
EU Roaming Data Caps Could Help Mobile Industry

This article discusses the European Commission’s plan to regulate the mobile roaming market, lower the data and voice charges incurred when traveling abroad and ultimately reduce bill shock. Currently, Europeans are paying an average of €2.2/MB. The proposed plan will dramatically reduce that number to 90¢/MB starting July 1, 2012 and falling even lower to 50¢/MB by July 1, 2015. As Neelie Kroes, vice president of the European Commission, stated:

“Competition is still very weak. Customers still get a raw deal when they cross borders. Operators still enjoy outrageous margins, particularly on data downloads.

Within a single market, there is simply no justification for huge mark-ups, just because you’ve crossed an invisible internal border that is supposed to have disappeared. And just because customers have little or no choice in the matter.”

Although this strategy would seemingly have a negative impact on CSPs’ revenues, these cuts may actually work in operators’ favour since high prices may be preventing people from using their phones while abroad. What do you think the new regulations will mean for the industry’s future?

Telecom Asia…
Innovation Requires Collaboration

Ovum’s Innovation Radar series highlights telco innovation in the second half of 2010. After tracking 300 new service launches across the fixed and mobile market segments, the analyst firm found a major trend—telcos are now innovating more collaboratively. They are carving a niche for themselves with adaptable structures that can support innovation rather than seeking to simply create the next best application. The telcos that did this, while leveraging their networks, brands, customer relationships, partnerships, etc., made significant strides at the end of last year. Analyst Emeka Obiodu also noted that, “the pre-eminence of the adaptable structure is going to become more pronounced as telcos move towards the future of SMART (operators that provide services, management, applications, relationships and technology) and LEAN (low-cost enablers of agnostic networks) players.”

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.…
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: January 14th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Around the World | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on Around the World

Wireless Week
CTIA, RCA Oppose FCC Bill Shock Proposal
Three major wireless industry groups have come out against the FCC’s bill shock proposal – Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA), the Rural Cellular Association (RCA) and the Rural Telecommunications Group (RTG) all have filed comments opposing the commission’s move to mandate subscribers’ usage alerts and other billing information that will help customers avoid unexpected charges on their monthly bill.  Here’s what the three bodies have to say:

  • CTIA argued that such mandates are unnecessary because carriers already offer customers adequate tools to monitor their usage.  They also claimed that the FCC lacks the authority to impose usage alerts and other information disclosures, and that the proposed rules would violate U.S. First Amendment protections.
  • The RCA said that the FCC’s proposed customer service rules would be unduly burdensome for rural and regional carriers, and that [the] national [ones] were the main culprits behind unexpectedly high wireless bills.
  • Like CTIA, the RTG maintained that carriers would have to reconfigure their billing system to accommodate the new mandate, and it would “impose substantial costs on all carriers and have an inordinately harmful impact on smaller [ones].”

What do you think of these groups’ arguments?  Should the FCC mandate CSPs or let them manage cost control on their own?

Light Reading
Where in the World Is LTE?
To close out 2010, Light Reading compiled a list of the world’s commercial LTE services.  While there is much hype in the industry about the technology, only nine were actually deployed –not including pilot networks or user trials.  Moving forward to 2011, Rethink WirelessCaroline Gabriel noted in a post that the Global mobile Suppliers Association says there are now 180 operators in 70 countries that are deploying, trialling or evaluating LTE; however, these figures mask the fact that most carriers will stick with tests or small scale ‘hotzone’ roll-outs for several years.  Will 2011 be a repeat of 2010 in terms of LTE deployments?  How do you see LTE rolling out this year across the globe

Gathering Momentum
Editor Roger Field reflects back on his conversations with industry experts and believes that the innovations and trends from 2010 will move into the mainstream for 2011 – the key themes he sees in the Middle East and Africa this year are:

  • Consolidation in the operator space, particularly in Africa, because of the low average revenue per user (ARPU) and increased competition
  • Larger strides in broadband deployments to bring subscribers a new level of data services
  • Demand for 4G infrastructures to support consumers’ consumption habits with smartphones and tablets – and even on the fixed side – with IPTV and video-on-demand

While telcos in the region may be facing a decline in mobile and fixed voice ARPU, Roger points out that it is reassuring to see that huge investments are being made in infrastructure, which will allow telcos to offer a new breed of bandwidth-hungry apps – and tap into new revenue streams.

Mobile Broadband Billing or Charging: Where’s the Market Headed?

Posted: December 22nd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Industry Insights | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on Mobile Broadband Billing or Charging: Where’s the Market Headed?

By: Dan Baker, Research Director, Technology Research Institute

Call it the big payments divide.  Depending on what country of the world an operator is in, it will favor one or two mobile broadband payment models—either a prepaid / charging or a postpaid billing / contract.

But what’s the trend?  Will the saturated mobile markets, like the U.S. that favor the post-paid billing model, adopt more on-line charging for smartphones?  Likewise, when operators in developing telecom markets like India adopt smartphones in a big way, will they launch mobile broadband services using a prepaid, postpaid or hybrid payment approach?

Since this is a big strategic issue for folks in the billing department, it’s worth laying out the advantages of the approaches.

The Advantages of Billing

Market success – A billing contract for all-you-can-eat data has been a winning formula for AT&T with the iPhone.

Contract-based sales – A subscription contract locks your customer into a long-term relationship that you can cultivate, renew and upsell against.

The magic of the word “free”– Customers instinctively feel that they are getting a better deal when network usage can be sold as essentially free (even though there are certain restrictions written in fine print).

Actual charges are out of sight and often out of mind – If you’re trying to promote mobile broadband as an addicting habit, having a billed plan is convenient because the user worries less about the ultimate charges.

An annuity the customer budgets for – Paying a certain fixed rate per month is something a customer budgets for, and it becomes an annuity for the operator.

Simplicity – Batch billing is technologically simpler than setting up network-based charging.

The Advantages of Charging

It’s how we buy things – Charging matches the way we live. If you want to buy content, it’s a simple matter of ordering it and paying down an on-line balance.  There’s no mystery over what the actual cost will be.  With charging, you always get a “receipt” for your purchase.

Convenience and impulse buys – We live in a world of convenience purchases.  If you, as an operator, don’t make it easy for subscribers to charge things on the spot, you may be losing wallet share to over-the-top providers.

Bill shock – With a charging platform, bill shock becomes a mute issue because your customers can constantly track their purchases. This, of course, is further enhanced with policy control, which enables operators to inform the customer when certain limits are reached as required by the EU’s roaming cost control legislation).

Expense control – Charging becomes a convenient way to control your expenses, especially if your teenager is addicted to buying music.

Broadens the market – Not everybody qualifies to get a bill.  Plus, a user’s low usage may make billing an impractical option from the operator’s point of view.   In addition, you can offer service to teenagers and other high-risk user groups that the billing model can’t support at all.

Avoid bad debts – Charging eliminates one of the biggest operator headaches—collections, the losses and big expense required to chase down subscribers who don’t pay and outright fraudsters who had no intention of paying in the first place.

* * *

So which way are we headed?  Toward more charging or more billing?

I think mobile operators will mix these strategies quite a bit in the year ahead.

Business customers will certainly favor billing because it’s what they’re accustomed to.  Yet every business customer sees the value of being able to charge for something out of the ordinary.  Maybe the business traveler wants to upgrade his airline seat on-the-spot or buy a meal on the plane.  Charging that by swiping a handset becomes an attractive choice.

And we’ve yet to see all of the innovative apps that real-time charging and network policy control will give birth to.  Ordering high QoS to see a television show in HD is a simple example.  Thousands of other apps are on the drawing boards until LTE comes and charging/policy control technology matures in the network.

I predict that the countries with saturated mobile markets will move slowly but steadily towards more real-time charging—or billing and charging running in parallel.  The fuss over “network neutrality” will get neutralized as people realize you can’t operate a first-class mobile network without controlling the five percent or so of bandwidth hogs who are spoiling the QoS for everybody else.

Billing or charging?  You need both in your payments portfolio.

Dan Baker is the research director of analyst firm Technology Research Institute, or TRI, which has recently launched a new community website, the Revenue Assurance Roundtable.  Since 1994, Baker has authored dozens of research studies in the BSS/OSS market.  He contributes articles to VanillaPlus and writes a regular column for Billing & OSS World called Dan Baker Blog.

Around the World

Posted: October 29th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Around the World | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Capacity crunch: It’s Not What You Think
Analyst Teresa Cottam looks at the truth behind the capacity crunch and why it is somewhat misunderstood.  She believes that the term “capacity crunch” is a complete misnomer and disguises what the real problem is—not increased network traffic.  Rather, Teresa says, “traffic is rising, capacity is being consumed, and we’re not making sufficient incremental revenues to compensate for this usage or justify further investment.”  If revenues were going up along with the traffic, we would have a pure play engineering challenge. The difficulty is, of course, that revenues are not increasing in line with traffic; so not only do we have an engineering challenge, we also have business, operational and customer challenges.  Customers require adequate Quality of Service and desire greater capacity and faster speeds, but in many countries, the business case for continual network investment may be far from clear cut.

Connected Planet…
Mobile Operators Brace for Bill Shock Proposal
Joan Engebretson reports on the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) plans to introduce a proposal that attempts to help prevent wireless “bill shock”.  This has been a hot topic for some time now, and becoming even more of an issue in the U.S. with Verizon admitting that its customers had been erroneously charged more than $50 million for wireless data services. The proposal reportedly will require carriers to warn users when they are close to reaching voice, text or data limits or about to incur roaming charges.  Carriers are opposing these regulations and arguing that they are not needed.  Most certainly, they are concerned about potential lost revenue—particularly if the FCC requires them to give customers the opportunity to have service automatically shut off when they reach a certain usage level.  According to news reports, the plans would not impose that requirement, but the FCC will seek input on whether it should do so.

Billing & OSS World…
Cloud Services Will Change Customers’ Service Expectations
Charlene O’Hanlon blogs about a new report by IDC that shows as more companies adopt cloud, service providers will be forced to change from their traditional, labour intensive service delivery models to an asset-based one.  According to a study, the change in business models will arise as a result of the industry’s move towards outsourced cloud services and the accompanying performance and relationship expectations of customers.  The increased use of new delivery models, such as cloud services and SaaS, will change customer expectations regarding the performance of their providers and subsequently change their relationships with providers.  Service providers will need to develop road maps that show how customers are looking to adopt these utility-based services that cut across entire organization requirements.  Additionally, many outsourcers and providers will need to make major adjustments to their delivery capabilities, partnership ecosystems, business models and service offerings, and will need to examine their roles and positions within and beyond the traditional IT and business process services market.

Around the World

Posted: September 3rd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Around the World | Tags: , , , | Comments Off on Around the World

Light Reading…
Telecom Market Spotlight: Asia
From a point about midway in 2010, Light Reading’s Market Spotlight looks both backwards and forwards at the Asia region. It updates the third-quarter estimates for the 2009 figures used in the previous Telecom Market Spotlight: Asia with now historic figures for 2009, and it includes estimates / forecasts for 2010. Focusing on the Asian market, the report touches on the following topics:

It contains a lot of interesting information and compelling statistics about the region. What is particularly fascinating to us is the special focus on ‘What happened to WiMax’. In Asia, there has been a trend among operators shifting from WiMax and moving towards a LTE environment. Light Reading surveyed the scene a couple of years ago, and it seemed that WiMax was the sure leader, but not so much anymore. The result is partly due to the much wider deployment of established 3G technologies (particularly HSPA and now the enhanced HSPA+) and the resulting smartphone boom, and partly of the rapid acceptance of 4G LTE mobile as the preferred evolution to next-generation technology by most of the mobile industry. Another problem for WiMax the report references is that WiMax operators are increasingly open to switching to LTE when doing so is necessary and economical—check out LTE Watch: Yota Drops WiMax for LTE.

Connected Planet…
Q&A: Verizon On Why QoS and Policy Matter
BSS/OSS reporter, Susana Schwartz recently caught up with Naseem Khan, principal member of technical staff at Verizon Labs, to get his company’s take on policy management. Given the conversation, it seems that quality of service (QoS) is top priority for Verizon, as they believe it will give them the competitive edge in the industry. Khan states that QoS will be a key differentiator in the industry and if there can be standardization of policy management around QoS, [Verizon] thinks it will help with managing multiple services and applications on the network — IPTV, data and voice — not to mention all the different access technologies. When asked about hindrances he sees ahead, he believes that time to market could be expedited if vendor platforms interwork through common standards—standardization is just the first phase, and then implementation by vendors is next. Recognizing this, Comptel designed a portfolio of OSS solutions—Comptel Dynamic OSS—to help CSPs realize their growth ambitions, and achieve their service creation and delivery objectives.

Policy management certainly seems to be on the minds of North American operators, as Susana spoke on this topic earlier with Farooq Bari, lead member of AT&T’s technical staff.

TM Forum Online Community…
CSP Gives Itself ‘Bill Shock’
A TM Forum online community member shares that Australian CSP, Telstra, incurred as much as AU $90 million in bad debts in its past financial year, caused largely by customers that disputed and didn’t pay expensive bills. Telstra’s chief financial officer, John Stanhope describes the situation as “…a customer might be described a plan, but when they get their first bill it’s hard to understand or doesn’t match the plan they thought they were going to get as described by someone at the front of house. Then a dispute occurs with the bill”. Apart of Telstra’s ‘simplification strategy’ is to make sure that customers understand the plan they have and how it will look on their bill. Wouldn’t a simpler plan involve a customer defining its usage limits? For example, take Finnish CSP DNA Ltd—it deployed Comptel Roaming Cost Control, which allows subscribers to monitor their balances in real time, and notify them of any necessary actions, such as a notification or suspension of the services when a specified cut-off limit is reached—avoid any unnecessary ‘bill shock’.