Around the World

Posted: July 18th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Around the World | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on Around the World

Around the WorldBilling & OSS World
Operators Exaggerate the OTT Threat

Ovum recently released a report further highlighting the need for telcos to innovate in order to negate the threat of Over-the-Top (OTT) providers. After evaluating more than 3,500 new service launches since 2009, the global analyst firm concluded it’s fine to compete with OTT providers, but that the real trick may be to collaborate more. The analysts examined the approaches taken by companies such as Google and Apple to establish themselves in the app ecosystem, and noted the lackluster success of CSPs should really come as no surprise. Simply put: telcos were too selective when choosing partners and overburdened their prospective allies with unrealistic revenue expectations.

The report goes on to recommend using partnerships to scout for new ideas, indicating the importance of prioritising innovations that exploit the centrality of operators’ networks. Similar to the approach recently suggested by our own Steve Hateley, Ovum suggests telcos use the notion of “net innovation benefit” – comprised of “net new revenues,” “net cost savings” and “net non-monetary benefits” – to measure the success of their innovation activities.

CommsMEA
Telcos Ignore Big Data at Their Peril

Big data should not be ignored, and telco operators that choose to give it the cold shoulder are doing so at their own risk, is additional advice Ovum is touting. The research firm asserts operators can benefit from big data analytics in numerous ways, including predicting and reducing churn, promoting loyalty, upselling and cross-selling offers, and personalising services.

However, telcos are running into some red tape due to a lack of necessary data management and analytical skills in-house. Ovum cites the high demand and low supply of data scientists as the main reason for the lingering big data inefficiencies, noting this makes the analytics area ripe for vendor support.

In fact, telcos are generally turning to one of four sources for their big data analytics needs:

  1. Their existing BSS/OSS providers
  2. Trusted IT vendors
  3. Telco analytics specialists
  4. Incumbent network equipment providers

Ovum suggests telcos take a page from the playbook of OTT providers, and become more data-centric, leaner and more agile. Once this issue has been resolved, the firm says, telcos will be able to effectively monetise the increased volume, variety, velocity and value of the network, subscriber and other data that they collect.

Comptel’s Matti Aksela recently asked if big data is actually relevant for telcos’ business strategies, and according to Ovum, the answer is yes.

Telecoms.com
LTE: Strong Starter

LTE is for everyone, or at least it will be eventually. According to third quarter 2013 data from Informa’s WCIS Plus, the global LTE subscriptions are at 88.48 million, comprising 1.35 percent of the overall cellular market. By year’s end, it is predicted to be the fifth largest network technology behind GSM, WCDMA, CDMA and TD-SCDMA.

Informa believes that the debates surrounding LTE are more about routes than destinations, however, and stress that operators’ choice of paths will go a long way to determining their success. This also holds true for how LTE is launched into the market in the first place, and the traditional mass marketing approach may not be the best option. Learn more about why not here.


Informa’s Policy Control & Real-Time Charging Conference: A Sneak Peek

Posted: April 19th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Here at Comptel, integrated policy control and real-time charging is one of our core areas of expertise. I couldn’t be more excited to explore this topic further at an Informa conference next week in Amsterdam. It’s always great to network and share ideas with communications service providers (CSPs), analysts and others across the industry. Plus, this time, I have the opportunity to give both a presentation and participate in a panel discussion at the show.

To give you a brief preview, I’ll first be leading a session titled “Exploring End-User Appetite for Buying Bandwidth Boosts and the Real-Time Charging Mechanisms Required to Support These Policies” on Tuesday, 24 April at 16:10. In this presentation, I’ll show how CSPs can use policy control to offer customers more personalised service packages and create upsell opportunities. I’ll provide an in-depth look at why CSPs should focus on interacting with customers in real time upon the point of usage rather than concentrating on the point of purchase or point of complaint.

A bit later in the day, at 16:35, I’ll join Zain Kuwait’s Monther Alomani and Tekelec’s Joanne Steinberg for a panel discussion on “What Policy 2.0 Enabled Services Are Delivering Incremental Revenues for Operators Today? Success Stories and Future Possibilities”. Moderated by Analysys Mason’s Glen Ragoonanan, we’ll debate how CSPs can effectively use traffic management technology to increase ARPU, and share what innovative services we are seeing generate interest and revenue from subscribers today.

Will I be seeing you at the upcoming conference? What policy control and real-time charging issues are you looking forward to discussing?

If you cannot make it to my presentation or panel session, I hope that we can connect at Comptel’s booth in the exhibition hall.


Around the World

Posted: March 22nd, 2012 | Author: | 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.

TelecomsEurope…
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?

CommsMEA…
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?


Recapping the SIMposium, Berlin, 28-29 June

Posted: July 8th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , , , , , | Comments Off on Recapping the SIMposium, Berlin, 28-29 June

Last week, I travelled to Berlin for SIMposium 2011, organised by SIMalliance in partnership with Informa Telecoms & Media. The conference was a great platform for hearing about new contactless technologies, discussing emerging business models and addressing market challenges and the opportunities of machine-to-machine (M2M) for specific enterprise verticals.

Over the course of the two days, it became clear that Near Field Communications (NFC), M2M and handling identity/security were the primary topics of conversation. For starters, NFC was displayed in many context-enabling solutions; these ranged from e-wallet services all the way to public transportation payment systems. Now that NFC pilots are showing promise on the commercial side, it seems that solution providers’ imaginations are flying high! It will certainly be interesting to see what else is rolled out in the coming months. However, the key to future NFC uptake and to these projects being successful will be to make the solution benefits clear to end-users without making things overly technical.

M2M was also on every operator’s lips at SIMposium. There was a clear consensus that M2M will happen in a major way. Most operators believe that the challenges of M2M are different from those on the consumer side, and to address these, there needs to be a dedicated organization, network infrastructure and offering. Furthermore, M2M customers are looking for global connectivity, which means partnering (and possibly unified roaming pricing) for operators.

The first industry to make M2M really happen might be automotive and transportation, with the legislation in Europe (eCall) and Brasil (Resolution 245) being main drivers for the deployment. M2M is clearly made for verticals that represent different niches, which naturally makes things more complex for operators. Standardisation will help somewhat, but as one operator said at the event, the market is not waiting for standardisation.

Soft SIMs versus SIM cards was another very hot topic during the two-day event. The general view at the conference seemed to be that soft SIMs will gain popularity, but the security provided by regular SIM cards is currently far better. Managing SIMs’ identities securely via over-the-air (OTA) is increasingly important, especially as embedded SIMs become more attractive, because OTA is the only way to handle them. It became clear at SIMposium that SIM-based identity is a key concern for operators, and that there always will be a compromise between security and usability, no matter what the solution is. (One interesting application of note was SIM-based authentication to log on to Wi-Fi networks; in essence, the Wi-Fi customer experience needs to be as seamless as the 3G customer experience.)

Although NFC, M2M and identity management/security were top of mind, it seemed that many SIMposium attendees debated removable versus embedded SIMs—but there are clear benefits for both. For removable SIMs, the ease of switching from one device to another is undeniable; however, embedded SIMs can be placed on devices more freely without relying on ports to access them.

The SIM partner ecosystem is visibly growing, as evident with representatives from card manufacturers, device management vendors and operators, among others, in attendance at last week’s event. Comptel is very excited about this area—feel free to share your thoughts or questions about the market or the conference with us in the comments section.


Gearing Up for AfricaCom in Cape Town, 9-11 November

Posted: November 4th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments »

In less than a week’s time, AfricaCom (taking place 9-11 November) kicks off in Cape Town, South Africa, and Comptel will be there at stand D9 (opposite the coffee point!).

The organizers, Informa, are claiming that this year a record 4,200+ attendees from more than 1,500+ companies have registered—up 70% from last year.

From a biased perspective, I would like to think that holding this event in beautiful Cape Town (which IS Nice!), has something to do with this increase, but in reality, I suspect it is more a reflection of the rapid growth of the telecoms sector in Africa.

The temptation is to say growth = money for events…but I believe this cynically oversimplifies the value operators get from an event like this.

Growth has also meant increasing competition with everybody wanting a slice of the pie, so I suspect operators are primarily attending to find answers about how to generate and manage new revenue streams and cut costs in order to ensure future growth.

African operators need to grow their revenues from services (e.g. data and VAS) in the face of declining voice and SMS margins. For operators with OSS heavily geared towards simple voice and SMS services, an increasingly complex service portfolio brings many new challenges with respect to designing, launching and managing them. Comptel has seen a lot of interest this year from African operators in its catalog solutions for helping them get new services to market more quickly and cheaply, and managing the increasing service complexity.

There is also a non-growth-related challenge that needs mentioning, and that is one introduced by the legislation being enacted across Africa requiring operators to identify subscribers prior to their SIMs being activated. This shatters the current operating model of simply bulk pre-provisioning SIMs and introduces the challenge of only activating them after subscribers have been identified. It also presents operators with the ‘opportunity’ to leverage a closer relationship with what was previously a largely ‘anonymous’ subscriber base using ‘one-size-fits-all’ packages. Comptel has also seen a lot of interest in its dynamic SIM management solution, which helps operators comply with the legislation, cut costs from SIM wastage and leverage the legislation to actually get additional revenue streams.

So here’s to problem-solving at AfricaCom. Hope to see you ‘here’.