The Future of Voice is Here: VoLTE

Posted: May 21st, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Industry Insights | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on The Future of Voice is Here: VoLTE

The arrival of voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) technology has been buzzed about by carriers for several years now, but at the Policy Control and Data Pricing 2014 conference in Berlin, it became very obvious that the VoLTE future is no longer on the horizon: it’s here.

“The window of opportunity is now,” urged Alex Harmand, head of service platforms for Telefonica. Telcos are heeding that call. Approximately 10 percent have some of form of VoLTE service in place, and according to the GSMA, 20 more VoLTE deployments are expected this year alone.

VoLTE is happening now, and fast; however, CSPs still have many questions about their approach to the technology. For one, policy control and charging rule function (PCRF) solutions are needed for each voice call in VoLTE. Are CSPs designing their VoLTE architecture by implementing a common or dedicated PCRF?

What’s more, how can CSPs make sure the voice user experience is superior to VoIP services, and equally important, that the quality is as good as—or surpasses—that of current 2G/3G voice services?

VoLTE Benefits for CSPs

As one speaker reminded conference attendees, voice remains a core revenue generator, representing 70 percent of carriers’ global revenues—about $600 billion. This represents a huge opportunity and incentive for CSPs if they can rise to the occasion of leveraging VoLTE as a part of a suite of communications services.

That’s where VoLTE comes in. From CSPs’ perspective, VoLTE will make it possible for voice services to be run on their networks much like any other application. This means that voice calls and data sessions can travel side-by-side over LTE, creating the possibility of innovative new services that combine the two.

Cost reduction is one of the biggest draws for CSPs toward VoLTE services. When voice services are run through LTE/IMS, it was presented in the conference that twice as many voice calls can stream through the same spectrum. More calls mean more opportunities for CSPs to grow their revenues.

What’s more, policy and service opportunities can grow, scalability and performance can improve, and CSPs can experiment by separating data and voice into different packages.

Building a Business Case for VoLTE

Conference attendees were vocal on the business case for VoLTE and whether the costs associated with developing new voice services could be recouped by providing new capabilities.

VoLTE shows strong potential for CSPs. Voice is still a dominating revenue generator, thus VoLTE represents a viable opportunity. In addition to the efficiency gains that channeling voice and data traffic over a common network promises, the case for VoLTE may lean on how successful these tools are in helping CSPs.

Divisions on PCRF

Conference attendees agreed that PCRF will play an integral part in the VoLTE architecture. One speaker even called VoLTE a “game changer” for PCRF. It’s evident that telcos are actively looking to re-evaluate their policy management solutions against VoLTE’s new set of requirements.

But while speakers agreed that PCRF would need to be a focus, many were divided on the best route for tackling these changes. Harmand of Telefonica vocalized that a unified strategy to PCRF would be ideal, but a separate PCRF for VoLTE may make more sense for financial purposes.

Another countered that technically, it makes the most economical sense to utilise one PCRF across the entire network, and while another agreed on this technical point-of-view, s/he voiced concerns that the current implementations on PCRF installations might be a significant challenge to merge.

VoLTE is Here to Stay

The final verdict on VoLTE is this: it allows for superior voice calls, possible revenue growth and cost savings, thus providing a motivator for CSPs and users to adopt the service. While it’s not clear how long the path toward integration and bottom-line improvements will take, it’s very obvious that VoLTE is here to stay, and we’ll see a lot of new deployments in the coming months.

It’s Time for Telco to Get Transparent about Data

Posted: July 25th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Industry Insights | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on It’s Time for Telco to Get Transparent about Data

For the past few months, consumers have been rocked by government and corporate scandals involving their mobile data.

It’s fair to say that people have been a little taken aback due to all the revelations of mobile activities being tracked, stored and observed.

As long as there’s that suspicion in the marketplace, it’s going to be hard for companies to achieve any success with Big Data that doesn’t come at the cost of consumer trust.

Here, we see a confluence of two factors: consumers are becoming more aware of how their data is being used, and companies are becoming more interested in using that data. The problem is that neither party wants to give up its end of the bargain.

Today, a lot of communications service providers (CSPs) know that Big Data analytics is a powerful tool to personalise marketing, reduce churn and optimise business processes. Most also know that countries have very stringent – and often very different – regulations about how telecoms data can be used. Meanwhile, consumers are sharing data across social media networks, websites and through mobile apps at all hours of the day.

So how can CSPs find a middle ground where consumers are happy, but all that data can be used in a secure way to help their businesses?

The Two Ways to Use Mobile Data

Primarily, CSPs rely on mobile data to deduce two things: general results and specific activities. That’s the difference between Big Data and “small data.”

Big Data is leveraged as market research and is usually anonymous. By monitoring huge segments of customer data, CSPs can determine how people use their mobile data, at what times and for what activities. This makes it easy to create personalised campaigns for different customer profiles.

Small data is more personal, because it is used to create a profile of an individual’s decisions and actions.

The latter can cause some uneasiness among consumers, unless they know exactly how that data is being used and that, in the long run, it’s going to benefit them somehow. A campaign offering a temporary upgrade in bandwidth to someone suffering from stuttering speeds on his/her phone is handy, but a campaign offering a temporary upgrade in bandwidth for the exact hours on a Saturday night someone watches a mobile video can be unsettling.

Companies and consumers are still struggling to find that fine line between how all of this data is used, but one thing is clear right now: there are a lot of Big Data plans that are ambitious, bold and completely ambiguous.

CSPs that have been intrigued by Big Data analytics invest a lot of time and resources to collect as much data as possible, but then are left with a flood of unfocused insights that are impossible to leverage. At the same time, consumers will get suspicious when they realize that their CSP has been tracking how they spend every moment on their phones.

The solution is that CSPs must become very transparent on how they collect and use data. That will please customers and encourage businesses to make their Big Data efforts more granular, more segmented and ultimately more actionable.

An original version of this article appeared on and

Jouko Ahvenainen is a serial entrepreneur and co-founder of Grow VC Group. In the 1990s, Jouko worked for Nokia in Europe and Asia, and then lead the 3G practice at Capgemini globally. Over the last 12 years, he has been an entrepreneur, investor and
founder of Xtract.

Voice is a Concern, Data Brings Promise to CSPs

Posted: June 3rd, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Behind the Scenes, Industry Insights | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Voice has turned into a voice of concern for CPS, since the voice & text messaging businesses don’t grow anymore: On the contrary, the revenues are declining.  The telecom industry is undergoing a thorough transformation, and as a result, Data is becoming more important day by day. The word on the street (or in space) is that he’s getting BIG.

Those who are most willing to accept the shifting landscape and try to figure out completely new business and revenue models are most likely to come out strong. Our guy Data really likes to crunch numbers and analyze information to arrive at the right conclusion. In a similar fashion, CSPs need automated predictive analytics to enrich information about the customer to provide attractive and accurate offers quickly, allow personalization, predict/prevent churn and identify fraud, create enhanced customer profiling and superior quality of experience.

It’s no longer news to anyone that customers pay a lot of attention to the price of their plans and quality of service when choosing the CSP, but it’s really important to realize how much the social circle influences a customer’s purchasing decision. A Vanson Bourne study indicated that globally more than 40% choose their CSP based on the experiences and influence from their friends and family. Understanding this playing field and social network sure sounds like a good idea, doesn’t it?

The processing, enriching and analyzing of big data to make it valuable and actionable requires a considerable amount of automisation, otherwise tackling such an immense amount of information becomes a daunting proposition.  An example of such automisation is the realtime decision-making process that defines, when and how to react to poor quality of service by identifying customers who are the most affected by it, to be able to launch a proactive retention or marketing campaign.

However, Data had to learn something else in addition to ‘mathematics’. If you want to connect with people on an emotional level, pure ‘mathematics, statistics and analytics’ aren’t simply going to cut it. You need creative ways to win the hearts and minds of people, and to do that, you have to understand them as individuals. Knowing your customers enables CSP to act proactively with the best possible personalized offering and contextually at the right time. An example of such offering is the proactive identification of those customers who need an upgrade for the data package because their usage pattern has changed. Or the proactive identification of those customers who are using multiple SIM cards from different CSPs. To prevent them from churning and making them to prioritize your offering, it’s relevant to know what their personal preferences are.

In addition to the ‘usual suspects‘ in the telecom ecosystem like customers, CSPs, vendors, OTTs (Internet Service Providers), additionally there are the newcomers from the ‘Internet of Things’ (such as energy, retailers, health, education, automobile, …) who can together with telecoms build unique value propositions where both parties can win. The struggle against the OTTs is transforming into a co-operative approach which allows value-adding joint propositions letting CSPs tap into the OTT’s revenue.

Some have suggested a premium charging model for LTE but many operators are distancing from this approach as it makes LTE generally unaffordable and unattractive for many customers, causing many to stay with their current 3G/HSPA+ plans. The essence of the discussion is to find other ways and means to generate revenue which places the emphasis on developing the co-operation between OTTs and CSPs. Identifying new revenue sources is essential, but we should not forget to keep an eye on the cost base. What’s interesting is that there seems to be a direct relation between subsidized LTE handsets and the CSP’s EBITDA margin: the subsidized handsets have a negative impact on the CSP’s margin which makes it important to know who’s really going to use the CSP’s LTE services (Source: ). The solution is to pinpoint those LTE users who really consume LTE services with the help of predictive analytics, instead of choosing the expensive strategy to subsidize LTE handsets for everyone. Please refer to the white paper written by Tefficient: ‘Why mass marketing is inefficient when launching LTE’,

On top of these above mentioned, there’s quite a lot of dynamics around identifying Quad Play opportunities in the CSPs’ business plans at the moment. Bundling broadband, TV, mobile, and fixed creates sticky services and customers, improves the revenue flow and reduces churn significantly, compared to the single or triple play. CSPs are seeking ways to provide these types of offering models by acquiring them or through co-operation. Tackling this kind of complex, multi-service and multi-technology order process requires a common platform with a fully integrated, catalog-driven approach to service order orchestration if you would like to fight the costly order fallouts. And when you add a robust Fulfillment environment enriched with analytics-driven smart order validation that closely monitors the end-to-end process of service-order capture to service delivery, you’re really good to go.

At the same time, shared accounts or multi-device/multi-user accounts are gaining more importance as an offering model, attracting not only users with several gadgets but also families and small business users utilising the same shared account for their data usage. These models are offered with no limit for voice & text usage but with limits on the data plans.  The new era clearly concentrates monetisation on data services. Some CSPs are even bold enough to talk about replicating the same model to their WiFi users, meaning that data usage limits would be imposed on home broadband users as well.

All in all, a lot of interesting topics circling around the market, and many CSPs have sent out ‘trial balloons’ to test the market response.  The known common denominator is that Data will be the future monetisation engine for CSPs, and BIG Data is the way to gain relevant information on customer’s preferences, personalisation and predictions for their ‘next move’. A horizontal and high-performant mediation layer contributes to the collection and processing of BIG data; and enriching the customer and network data with predictive analytics, human expertise and machine learning to automate decision-making. This is a viable way to go forward when combatting churn, generating new revenue and offering bespoke data service packages to customers.

What Technologies Are Impacting Policy Management?

Posted: February 22nd, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Industry Insights | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on What Technologies Are Impacting Policy Management?

I was recently talking about policy management with my colleague, Ulla Koivukoski, and started thinking about how far we’ve come and how it will continue to evolve. All of the new and advanced technologies that have been introduced in the past couple of years are having a big influence on this, and will continue to shape how communications service providers (CSPs) utilise policy management capabilities.

One of the most prominent of these technologies is 4G/LTE. Because LTE enables faster data speeds, customers will inevitably want to consume more and more data. CSPs who can gain deeper insight into such data usage will have a clear advantage. For policy management specifically, this means the ability to provide different packages with different rating models that are unique to customers’ behaviours. It also means implementing bandwidth or data caps in certain instances– otherwise, we’d use all of our network capacity!

Adding to this, it’s crucial for CSPs to identify the impact of down throttling on individual customers who are likely to churn and/or cause a revenue loss. For example, if customers experience poor quality of service (QoS), CSPs need to be able to proactively offer them a higher bandwidth or data package. In this way, the risk for revenue loss and customer churn can be mitigated while simultaneously improving QoS for the right customers. Further, a predictive analytics engine can suggest which customers will be most valuable for CSPs based on pre-defined Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), and which customers desire a corrective action to keep them on-board (e.g. a dedicated bandwidth prioritisation).

CSPs also can benefit by tightly coupling policy control with real-time charging. Like our recent consumer research demonstrated, financial considerations like personalised product/service promotions can influence customer behaviour. So, if CSPs can not only dynamically control the packages that are being delivered to customers and how, but also competitively price their offerings, they can increase the amount customers are willing to spend and maximise their revenue.

Linked closely with this is big data, which is giving CSPs a huge opportunity to add value. To tap into the power of big data, CSPs must first sift through and analyse the immense data volumes, both structured and unstructured, to get complete views of their customers. With this, CSPs can offer new services and bundles to customers with both efficiency and rapid time-to-market. Adding to this, a combination of advanced analytics and mediation enables CSPs to begin use cases like proactive broadband upsell for customers based on the prediction of their changed usage pattern, premium user identification, and automatically approaching customers with the right offer, in the right context.

Another technology making an impact on policy management—and one that goes hand in hand with big data—is the cloud. More and more, the cloud is one of the best options for storing and processing data. It allows for offline processing and the ability to trigger information online, to achieve real-time, personalised campaigns. Latency and security threats remain a concern, but if these can be managed properly, then I see policy making a big shift to the cloud.

Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg – there are many more advancements being made every day. As our world and the technologies in it continue to evolve, I look forward to seeing how policy management will grow and change to drive a better, more efficient customer experience.

Around the World

Posted: August 29th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Around the World | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

FierceWireless Europe…
Telefónica ready to spend €1.5B on UK LTE auction

It seems that the adoption of LTE is continuing to burgeon around the world. Telefonica, a Spanish-based telecoms operator, announced it would invest around €1.5 billion to acquire LTE spectrum licenses at an upcoming UK auction. The new mobile licenses are designed to bring fast download speeds to the country, and UK regulator Ofcom said it will auction the LTE spectrum for the 800MHz and 2.6 GHz bands with the expectation that operators will launch commercial service in 2013.

Interestingly, Telefonica has already been working closely with the UK markets, as the region represented 11% of the company’s total revenue in the first half of 2012. The company has also made strides to expand its services to other parts of Europe. In 2010, the operator also acquired LTE spectrum in a German auction, bidding a total of €1.379 million, on top of a €842 million bid last year to acquire LTE spectrum in its domestic market.

On another note, Telefónica’s is enjoying the benefits of China Unicom’s strong performance this year, as the company holds a 5% stake in the Chinese company.

Light Reading India…
Smart Strategies For Telco Growth

According to Jatinder Singh, the principal correspondent for Light Reading India, the telecoms industry in India has been in a crisis due to dwindling revenues and the saturation of the urban market. Therefore, it’s time operators reassess their strategy and begin to innovate and expand their services.

Singh points out several key areas in which operators can focus on to turn around the telecoms market. The first is to leverage 3G technology. More specifically, the price of 3G technology has begun to decrease, and the time is ripe to push this technology in hopes of bringing awareness to tier 2 and tier 3 cities.

Next, the article states that Value Added Services (VAS) have shown recent growth in the market, and telecom companies need to create an ecosystem in which operators and VAS companies share revenues.

Finally, to turn around the telecoms sector in India, operators need to focus on providing services to the enterprise businesses and expand into global markets. It’s noted in the article that the business landscape is dominated by small and medium business, but the enterprise space in the country is largely untapped.  Also, many analysts believe the expansion into other parts or the world, like Africa, is the key to the growth and success of the telecom companies in the future.

Fierce Wireless…
Is Unlimited Data Making a Comeback?

We highlighted a story in July that discussed how operators, like Comcast, are offering tiered data services to manage their network. Now Fierce Wireless reports that some operators are offering unlimited data plans to attack the tiered — and arguably unpopular — data pricing model.

Since the industry moved towards a tiered data pricing structure to manage bandwidth costs, both T-Mobile and Metro PCS have seen dramatic subscriber churn. In fact, each has lost 205,000 and 186,000 net customers respectively in the second quarter alone.

According to Mark Lowenstein, managing director of Mobile Ecosystem, unlimited data offerings can help wireless carriers get their foot in the door with consumers, and set them apart from their competitors. Unlimited data “starts the conversation,” he explained, noting that consumers will then evaluate the other aspects of the providers’ service.

Do you think tiered data plans are going to the wayside? Which do plan do you think will provide more success in the future?

Reflections on MEA

Posted: August 21st, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Industry Insights | Tags: , , , , , , | Comments Off on Reflections on MEA

A few months ago, a friend made me aware of the Afrinnovator website displaying the tagline: “Putting Africa on the map,” with the goal of “telling the stories of African startups, African innovation, African-made technology, African tech entrepreneurship and entrepreneurs.”

As somebody who likes to visit technology blog sites like Engadget, GigaOM, Mashable and the slightly more quirky The Register, this was an eye opener – even for somebody living in Africa.

Two things stood out.

First, this publication is focused on technology really changing lives. We’re living in a world where seemingly everything is mobile, where there’s an “M-something” for everything. For instance, there is mobile banking, education, agriculture, trading, health, security and government. Additionally, it’s about mobile meeting the daily needs of the consumer — not just a mobile “entertain -and -share-everything” mentality as I am more accustomed to reading about.

Second, these services are not only being delivered by “sexy” data bandwidth hungry smartphone apps, but are also using low-tech solutions that will work with even the least technical phone. For example, there is mobile banking using USSD, mobile medical diagnosis using MMS to send pictures, and even mobile vehicle licensing and resume submissions for jobs using SMS.

So, you may now be asking what the OSS angle is for an OSS blog.

Well, the point is the differences I noted between the mobile service innovation in developed vs. developing countries is an example of how markets naturally work to allocate resources at an aggregate level to meet their needs. However, while most people will tolerate my generalisations of developed vs. developing markets, it is fair to say that generalised services are no longer good enough for individual subscribers within markets.

Essentially, what is needed at an aggregate level is not necessarily what is needed at an individual level within those markets. This is what Comptel’s Customer Engagement Solutions can do to ensure an operator that the appropriate services and customer experience is delivered for individual subscribers, given their personal context.

Now, as a consumer of services I am the first to admit that I don’t always know what I want until after I have experienced it – or it is taken away. So, am I suggesting empowering operators with mind-reading abilities? You bet I am…

Around the World

Posted: August 3rd, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Around the World | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Around the World

South Korea hits 100% mark in wireless broadband

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has found that South Korea is the first country to surpass 100% penetration for wireless broadband, with 100.6 subscriptions for every 100 inhabitants. To reach this conclusion, OECD analysed the standard mobile phone high-speed wireless Internet and data-only wireless Internet subscriptions. Additionally, the agency looked at its own data, which was based on the rate of high-speed Internet access versus the South Korean population.

The OECD is comprised of 34 countries, and based on the organisation’s metrics, the average domestic penetration percentage for high-Internet mobile wireless is 54.3%. Of this, Sweden comes in a close second to South Korea at 98 wireless broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants. The United States rated 76.1 followed by Finland at 87.8 and Japan at 82.4. Of the additional OECM member countries, the lower end included Mexico, at 7.7, Turkey at 8.9 and Hungary at 12.9.

The Guardian…
Superfast broadband will be available in 90% of UK by 2015, says Ed Vaizey

Britain’s culture minister Ed Vaizey has said that 90% of the country will have access to extremely fast broadband by the year 2015. The government is working to install an infrastructure that would both ensure the service’s longevity and enable consumers who want to connect to a “really, really fast” network to upgrade, if they choose.

Vaizey stated that when it comes to the speed of the network, “… most people define [superfast broadband] around the 35 megabits a second (Mbps) speed but we have said that 100% of the country should have access to 2Mbps. To put that in context, for example, if you want to watch the iPlayer on your computer you would need about 1-1.5Mbps.” To support this endeavor, a total of £1.2 billion has been dedicated to the project, plus additional funding for pockets of cities where broadband connection is poor.

However, a recent report by the House of Lords warned that the government’s broadband policy should shift its focus from delivering speed, and instead emphasise greater access through a national broadband network. After a six-month investigation, the committee concluded Britain would need a better overall broadband network in order to keep up with future technologies. It has raised concerns about Britain’s network, and the possibility of expanding the gap between those communities with fast Internet access and those without.

FierceBroadbandWireless and GigaOM…
ABI: Mobile data traffic growth to plummet below 50% after 2015
Mobile data growth rate to decrease by 2015? Doubtful.

A recent ABI Research report predicts mobile data traffic will soon level off, with 2015 being the last year that volume will grow by more than 50% annually. Although the rate of growth will start slowing down, the global mobile data traffic will exceed a whopping 107 exabytes by 2017. The forecasted slower growth rate is attributed to technology like Wi-Fi offload and more intelligent smartphones. For instance, on-demand video content will be increasingly viewed on non-cellular networks, such as Netflix’s iOS application, which utilises Wi-Fi.

GigaOM, however, argues this outlook may be flawed. Journalist Kevin Tofel points out that Cisco has estimated only 22% of mobile traffic will be delivered over Wi-Fi in 2016 – leaving a lot more for networks to handle. Tofel also says that as smartphones become more affordable and networks improve their service, it’s likely that mobile users will increase, thus accumulating more mobile data traffic. What do you think? Will mobile data traffic taper off as ABI predicted or does GigaOM have it right?

Around The World

Posted: July 13th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Around the World | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Why Are MVNOs So Hot Right Now? Thank the Carriers

The number of mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) nearly died out in the past decade due to over-segmentation. Today, however, they are making an astounding recovery by reselling bundled voice and data services at affordable prices. According to GigaOM journalist Kevin Fitchard, “MVNOs are thriving because the big network operators are letting them.”

Historically, the larger operators made it difficult for MVNOs to take advantage of their data networks. They would charge prohibitive rates and force partners to pay for megabytes up front. But the market has recently changed, and operators like AT&T and T-Mobile are selling more airtime, while others are working directly with MVNOs to craft plans in exchange for a percentage of revenue. There are pros and cons to working with each operator, but it’s clear this shift is benefitting MVNOs.

The trend, however, hasn’t been as good for operators who risk losing their competitive advantage. The article points out that they, most likely, either feel forced to cooperate or are trying to reap the wholesale benefits of selling to MVNOs. Ultimately, these types of customised offerings and bouquet of service options benefit customers that now have more choices when it comes to selecting their network operators.

Moving Customers to Tiers

Data capacity and bandwidth constraints continue to be a major concern for communications service providers (CSPs).  According to Cisco, the consumption of over-the-top (OTT) video is predicted to quadruple by 2016, at which point more than 1.2 million minutes worth of video will be travelling through the Internet every second. Additionally, as smartphone quality increases so too does their use for bandwidth-intensive activity, like video streaming. And as users are increasingly becoming data-centric, CSPs must figure out the most effective method for implementing controls on usage.

Some operators, like Comcast, are offering tiered data services to manage the network. While this may be a viable option, it’s also likely that subscribers will push back on this change in plan. However, keeping customers satisfied could simply come down to the variety of tiers a provider is offering like charging based on the type of data used instead of the volume, or paying more for priority data during peak hours. Ultimately, CSPs have the ability to differentiate diverse types of data in ways that they never have before. This means more targeted services and the potential to really stand out in the market.

What options other than tiered pricing do you think can be effective?

Airlines & Telecom Companies Are Best At Facebook Page Customer Service

A recent study revealed telecom and airline industries are tops when it comes to providing customer service on Facebook. T-Mobile and Sony Mobile were the most active brands in responding to customers and prospects, while telecom companies showed their customer-centricity by replying to 60.4% of user posts between March and May of this year.

This is crucial as Conversocial, a social media tracking site, indicated in a recent study that 88% of consumers are less likely to buy from companies that ignore complaints on Facebook. It’s clear customer service should play a key role for CSPs not just on social media channels, but also as a standard practise throughout the business. For instance, CSPs can tap into the customer data they have on hand and determine – at an individual level – who to engage with, the right message to use, and the right time to do so. They can also monitor for issues within the network and proactively reach out to customers– before they head to Facebook to address the issue, the CSP has already responded. Now that’s customer service!

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”?

Comptel Comes to Turkey to Make Data Beautiful

Posted: March 20th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Comptel Comes to Turkey to Make Data Beautiful

For the telecom industry, spring is always such an interesting time due to the variety of events taking place. Most of us divide the season into the periods of ‘before and after Mobile World Congress’ and ‘by Management World’. Comptel’s no exception to this—we are participating in a number of events in the first half of 2012, as we continue to build our presence closer to customers, fulfilling the promise of growth to shareholders.

To obtain new customers and to make existing ones even happier, we continuously look for opportunities to operate in their local markets. So, this week, we are attending Eurasia Com in Istanbul, Turkey. Our CEO, Juhani Hintikka, along with other Comptelians, will be on hand at the conference and the networking event on the 20th of March, which we have sponsored in celebration of the opening of a new office in the country.

Personally, I regret that I cannot attend the event. Istanbul is a wonderful city with a mixture of Asian, European and Middle Eastern cultures. I lived in Istanbul when the famous WAP-era was about to start and there was talk about bringing Internet to everyone’s pockets. In those days, we had a hint of what was to come in mobile, but both technology and understanding of end-user needs needed a few rounds of evolution before the mobile Internet could truly take off. The business models between the network providers and service and applications providers have also developed drastically.

Another milestone I can recall from my experience in Turkey’s telecom landscape happened about five years ago, when the industry started to talk about customer experience. I had the privilege, with a former colleague, to benchmark where one of the Turkish service providers were in terms of customer experience, compared to one of the leading Western European service providers. Since then, the situation of Turkey’s telecommunications has changed quite a bit. In fact, according to the CIA World Fact Book, it is a “comprehensive telecommunications network undergoing rapid modernization and expansion especially in mobile-cellular services.”

Turkey indeed is an important market for Comptel, and we aim to continue building a strong presence there. I wish a great event to all of the Eurasia Com participants and hope you’ll attend the networking event introducing us and our “Making Data Beautiful” messaging to the country.