Mobile World Congress Recap: 3 Key Takeaways on the Future of Mobile Communications

Posted: March 5th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on Mobile World Congress Recap: 3 Key Takeaways on the Future of Mobile Communications

Comptel is in the trenches in Barcelona for Mobile World Congress, where the theme this year is all about living on the “Edge of Innovation.” Tens of thousands of attendees are here, all striving to explore how evolving mobile communications technology is changing the way we live, work and play.Comptel Operation Nexterday Mobile World Congress

We made our mark on MWC by launching our book Operation Nexterday at a special launch party Monday evening, and we were thrilled to share our game plan for the future of digital communications with a large crowd that turned out for drinks, tapas, and free copies of the book!

Some of the communications industry’s leading innovators and visionaries are in attendance for MWC, which is a big benefit to attendees who want to get a sense for how the industry is changing and where it is headed in the coming months and years. Here are three key takeaways we gathered from conference keynotes and sessions we attended:

1. Mobile Consumers Need Digital Confidence

In the event’s opening keynote on Monday morning, the chief executives from four of the world’s top operators – Telefónica, Vodafone, Deutsche Telekom and Telenor – shared their thoughts on how mobile will need to evolve to meet the demands of the future.

Panellist César Alierta, executive chairman and CEO of Telefónica, explained that nearly 43 percent of the world’s population – around 3 billion people – are connected to the Internet, and 90 percent of the world’s population is expected to have a mobile phone by 2020!

Comptel Operation Nexterday Mobile World CongressEach of these consumers will need to have “digital confidence,” or better control over their digital lives and privacy, explained Alierta. The industry will also need to support up to 50 billion new connected devices that make up the Internet of Things and the ‘industrial Internet.’

As a result, operators will need to embrace efficiencies that will enable millions of new customers to connect to the Internet and engage with new digital services. Alierta identified network quality, affordability and service attractiveness as potential areas of improvement for operators who anticipate a surge of new consumers.

2. Data Drives Context, Which Drives Mobile Opportunity

As we have discussed before, targeted marketing is one effective way to reach the digitally savvy Generation Cloud – but only 4 percent of enterprises have the resources, budget and promise to deliver on context and better serve customers, according to Andrew Harrison of Dixons Carphone. Harrison was one of eight panellists in a conference session that explored how businesses could gain the context needed to deliver engaging, personalised content to the right customer at the right time.

Panellist Peter Fitzgerald of Google UK described why context is so critical to the buying experience. Mobile means purchase opportunities arise regardless of location and situation, whether a consumer is at work, home or even sitting on a train checking their phone. Forty-two percent of consumers use their phone in a retail store to compare prices for a product they see on the shelf – a practice known as “showrooming” – but savvy retailers are taking the opportunity to reach these connected buyers by pushing relevant, in-the-moment offers to their devices right in the store, said Fitzgerald.Comptel Mobile World Congress booth

Businesses today can leverage contextual data to propel instantaneous, personalised offers, and mobile devices are the perfect starting point to find that data. Smartphones and tablets are at the centre of our digital worlds, and as a result, they’re an ideal resource for contextual consumer data.

3. It’s Mobile’s Moment. How Will You Connect Consumers?

Sundar Pichai, senior vice president of products at Google, described Google’s efforts to enable Internet connectivity for consumers around the world. As Pichai explained, consumers in the developed and emerging world may take connectivity for granted, but 4 billion people around the world currently lack access to the Internet.

Google’s efforts to expand connectivity include bringing Google Fibre to urban areas in Africa, and its Project Loon initiative, which uses a network of high-altitude balloons traveling in the Earth’s stratosphere to bring LTE speeds to rural areas around the world. Pichai also discussed the drone company Titan, a recent Google acquisition that designs lightweight solar-powered airplanes which act as “floating cell phone towers,” bringing connectivity to consumers below.

Pichai added that Google will work with operators to build services to deliver to newly connected consumers, but when asked how Google could justify its lofty infrastructure investments, he explained that “it’s mobile’s moment right now.” The bottom line? In the age of affordable connected devices, operators need to follow Google’s lead and embrace innovative ways of reimagining service infrastructure. Better-connected consumers present bigger business opportunities for the savvy service providers who can innovate in the new era of Generation Cloud.


6 Applications of A Data Refinery: How Telcos Can Support Generation Cloud

Posted: January 22nd, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Industry Insights | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

By Katja Kurisjärvi, Marketing Manager, Comptel

In yesterday’s blog post, I highlighted Comptel EventLink 7.0’s key features and mentioned how they comprise the foundation of our Data Refinery solution. Communications service providers (CSPs) and global enterprises alike require a strong technology base to keep up with the standards of nexterday and the high expectations of “Generation Cloud.”

Building on the Comptel EventLink core, with rating and charging components and embedded intelligence, including reporting and monitoring, our Data Refinery solution can enable real-time decision-making and action- triggering. Here are six ways that it can be put to work to drive CSPs’ businesses forward.

1. Beyond traditional billing mediation

“Comptel EventLink can, as always, manage traditional billing mediation tasks, and many of our customers use it for full-blown mediation consolidations,” says Senior Product Manager Tero Lindholm. “The platform is typically used in the OSS/BSS layer, where a Tier 0 or 1 operator with IP, fixed and mobile networks has consolidated all of its services on it.”

However, recently, new and existing Comptel EventLink customers have started to use the software for purposes other than pure billing mediation, taking advantage of its ability to process intelligent data in real time and in any format.

Typically, such cases involve complex event processing (CEP) and refining value out of “Big Data in motion” – data that originates from multiple sources in a real-time environment. The Data Refinery adds intelligence to the data handling, and enables real-time analysis, decisions and actions based on the data going through the system streams. When more hierarchical customer profiling and propensity calculations are needed, the Comptel Social Links analytics add-on is included.

2. Automated campaigns

One of the new purposes for the Data Refinery is real-time analysis with decisions and actions to enable automated campaigning processes. This is something that Comptel has implemented for operators all over the world.

“We are helping operators better understand how their customers are using their services and which offers are most relevant to which individuals,” said Tero.

The Data Refinery combines real-time usage events with a real-time understanding of the subscription and the subscriber profile and location, for example, like whether the subscriber is roaming. The Data Refinery can accumulate different usages, and combine them with real-time analysis, make more relevant offers to the end customers with optimal timing.

Understanding real-time usage is made possible by combining usage events from network elements such as PCRF or OCS (mobile) or CMTS (for IP network), and the subscription information from the CRM. The summary of each customer’s usage, according to his/her subscription and services, is shown immediately in the CSP portal, where end customers can directly monitor their service usage.

Having real-time information about data usage increases customer satisfaction and helps CSPs’ provide more suitable offers based on the real-time understanding of service usage.

3. Economical ways to managing roaming agreements

Comptel is in a good position to help operators solve roaming challenges. The company was a pioneer in rolling out roaming cost control use cases when the EU roaming regulations came into force in 2007. These regulations were intended to regulate the roaming data and voice charges imposed by operators to their subscribers, thus preventing bill shock.

To regulate roaming charges, operators are looking for more economical ways to manage roaming data and agreement processing between different roaming partners. The Comptel EventLink extension, Roaming Management, is used by 20+ operators for managing roaming billing and fraud detection, and for automated processing of partner agreements. The extension supports the TAP/RAP/NRTRDE/RAEX processing in alignment with the GSMA standards and provides full visibility into the configuration of the agreements from test phase through production.

4. Monetising OTT offerings

The Data Refinery can help monetise over-the-top (OTT) offerings. For example, in Asia-Pacific, a Tier 1 customer is using the Data Refinery to collect information related to Google Play purchases. The customer has a revenue-sharing model with the Google Play market place, and the Comptel system provides usage information to revenue-sharing platforms and to the interconnect billing system.

5. Ready for IoT

The Data Refinery is highly suitable for connecting devices and applications, and expanding usability from pure billing mediation tasks to supporting the Internet of Things (IoT) business model.

For instance, since 2013, the Telefonica Group in Europe has used the Data Refinery for processing smart metre usage traffic from Telefonica’s machine-to-machine (M2M) network elements. Smart metres equipped with SIM cards communicate readings over GPRS links, which generate events that the Data Refinery can collect and separate from mobile device usage events, providing the aggregated data to the M2M platform and assurance.

6. LTE leading the data explosion

Increased data usage is clearly visible to the users and developers of Comptel EventLink—a Tier 1 operator’s system, for instance, can now process as much as 500 TB of data daily (comparable to the daily usage of Facebook data).

To cite an example from Tero, the amount of usage events has tripled for an Indonesian customer over the past two years, and is currently hitting 12-13 billion records with each passing day.

“Indonesia is just about to adopt 4G services, and we can expect the number of usage events to multiply as 4G is introduced to tablets, smartphones and other handhelds being used in that region,” noted Tero.

In Italy, a similar explosion was seen earlier this year, where the mobile data packet usage increased by 84 percent in just five months. Not only has LTE created an enormous impact on the volume of network events, it has also increased network complexity. This is because VoLTE based on IMS technology introduces new types of network elements that require high capabilities to collect and correlate different events from different sources, in order to have properly chargeable items for billing and other applications.

It’s no wonder that operators are finding it difficult to handle customers’ appetites for ‘all-you-can-eat’ packages and are consequently moving to capped data plans. Such data plans take advantage of policy control solutions, which restrict available capacity for each customer. Customers who demand the highest bandwidth without limitations must be prepared to pay for it, bringing welcome income for operators still suffering from voice revenue losses.

Want to discuss how else Comptel EventLink 7.0 and our Data Refinery solution can support your business?

Download the presentation below, or email comptel.marketing@comptel.com for a demo.

Download

This is based on an interview with Senior Product Manager Tero Lindholm.


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.


A Telco Opportunity: In Taiwan, Mobile has Replaced TV as the Media of Choice

Posted: November 22nd, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Around the World, Telecom Trends | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on A Telco Opportunity: In Taiwan, Mobile has Replaced TV as the Media of Choice

Most analysts agree that widespread 4G deployment is right around the corner in Taiwan. The nation has always been a prominent mobile player in the telecommunications market, especially with initiatives like the Mobile Taiwan program, which have emphasized wireless access for all Taiwanese citizens, whether they’re in New Taipei City or a village in the mountains.

According to 4G360, the region’s communications service providers (CSPs) are looking to enter the 4G market early next year. With the infrastructure in place, this could  open a world of new opportunities, especially considering the sheer amount of data being exchanged across networks in Taiwan already.

One new study from InMobi highlights this phenomenon in detail. The research shows that, on average, mobile users in Taiwan spend six hours consuming media each day. More than a quarter (27 percent) of that time is spent on a mobile device, making it the number two channel for media consumption after desktops and laptops and actually placing it ahead of television. And even when they are watching TV, 20 percent of Taiwanese users surveyed said they look at their mobile phones at the same time.

So what does this all mean for CSPs in Taiwan? Mostly, it shows that it’s time to look at their customer relationships in a whole new way.

An Exponential Experience

Recently, Digitimes asked the three largest CSPs in Taiwan, Chunghwa Telecom (CHT), Taiwan Mobile (TWM) and Far EasTone (FET), about their thoughts on the future – especially when it comes to 4G. The consensus was that competition would be stiff. When it comes to 4G, CSPs won’t just be battling for market share with traditional operators, there will be an intensifying contest between CSPs and OTT providers like Google, Facebook and the services available from the iTunes App Store.

“Unlike 3G, which is positioned mainly as an access [point] to the Internet, telecom operators have to think of 4G as a platform to provide various application services,” said FET President Yvonne Li. “In this respect, FET stresses establishment of close cooperation [and] relation[ships] with subscribers.”

She added that, in the competition against OTT providers, CSPs won’t win in the race to build the best product or technology. Instead, they should strive for superior subscriber relationships and retail channels.

Improving subscriber relationships means paying closer attention to what customers want and need from CSPs. As VP of Research Monica Zlotogorski recently wrote on Telesperience, that hasn’t historically been the strongest point for telecom operators.

FET has taken strides to improve the customer experience already, investing in technology that allows for more intelligent mediation, charging and fulfillment.

More Media, More Problems

The revelations about Taiwanese mobile media usage should strike a chord among CSPs. Usually, telcos are seen as obstacles to getting the media the user wants – whether the connection is slow, there’s a limit on a data plan, or Wi-Fi is hard to find.

A lot of this has started to change within the past few years because of Big Data analytics tools, which can segment customers by mobile usage and allow CSPs to customise different marketing offers and networks accordingly. As 4G becomes widespread and media becomes even more accessible than before, optimising the customer experience will be a crucial strategy for telcos that are looking to stay ahead of OTT providers. By becoming a strategic and intelligent service enabler, CSPs can become an active and integral proponent of a customers’ needs, making sure the journey is as smooth as possible, from start to finish.


Around the World: Connectivity in Africa, Big Data Analytics and Adaptation

Posted: November 12th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Around the World | Tags: , , , , , , | Comments Off on Around the World: Connectivity in Africa, Big Data Analytics and Adaptation

This week, there were a number of new insights across the telco industry. At Comptel, we’ve been keeping track of the ones that have really caught our eye. Here are three interesting articles that have come out recently:

Developing Telecoms

LTE Investment Key to African Connectivity

A panel of experts was asked by West Indian Ocean Cable Company (WIOCC) how they would invest $100 million to improve Internet access in Africa, where connectivity is currently at the lowest rate in the world. Developing Telecoms’ editor James Barton believes that installing new 4G/LTE networks would create the best return on investment. He added that once people in Africa start accessing next-generation mobile networks, new competitive markets can open and, in turn, make Internet access more affordable.

Earlier this year, we wrote about the upcoming boom in mobile devices in Africa. By 2016, it is forecast that there will be more than one billion phones across the continent. The $100 million investment proposed by WIOCC may be hypothetical right now, but the need for 4G/LTE in the continent is a reality.

Information Management …

Big Data and Analytics Help Business Transform and Gain Competitive Advantage

Communications service providers (CSPs) are turning to Big Data analytics tools to cope with the constant changes in technology and consumer behavior. Through the use of these solutions, they can better adapt to new customer trends and prevent churn. CSPs, in particular, deal with a heavy amount of data, because of the high volume of calls, texts and data usage traveling across their networks each day. All of that information can be harnessed to create more targeted marketing offers, support better business planning and drive innovative infrastructure deployments.

Ulla Koivukoski argues that Big Data could potentially bridge silos across an organisation, too. By working with CTOs and CIOs, CMOs can create personalised campaigns by drawing contextual intelligence out of the network, customer and other data available to them. Consequently, silos can be overcome, and CSP executives can work toward the common goal of enhancing the customer experience.

Billing & OSS World

CSPs, Other Businesses Aren’t Adapting to Customers

A recent study by Ovum found that 90 percent of CSPs and other businesses are at risk of being irrelevant to their customers in the near future. Because of organisational silos and slow decision cycles, dynamic customer responsiveness is lacking. The findings show the need to create a fluid customer process that ensures each individual receives personalised attention in a timely manner. Building relationships with customers and earning their trust can help organisations remain relevant, and increase overall customer satisfaction and loyalty.


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.


Predicting the Next Big Thing in the Bulgarian Telco Market

Posted: June 6th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Around the World, Events, Industry Insights | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Predicting the Next Big Thing in the Bulgarian Telco Market

Tram in Sofia City CentreThis week, we hosted a media event in Sofia, Bulgaria, where we have an important global service delivery site. We employ more than 70 IT professionals there and are hoping to grow this office in the coming years. Our team caters to European and Middle East and African customers—quite often in cooperation with our global service delivery team based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The theme for the event was built around the Barcelona-in-the Box concept, but this time, we wanted to highlight the Bulgarian market. Ulla Koivukoski gave a presentation entitled “Bulgaria on the Global Mobile Map,” which covered three main themes: Enriching the User Experience – Enriching the Operator, Big Data, and Business Transformation – Reshaping the Operator.

What we learned is that the Bulgarian mobile market is very similar to the markets in most European Union (EU) countries. For example, the number of post-paid customers is high when compared to the prepaid market, which accounts for just one-third of subscribers. The challenges in the Bulgarian market are also very similar to others in the EU. According to Business Monitor, the mobile average revenue per user (ARPU) in Bulgaria declined 25.3 percent in 2012, while mobile sector growth was at 5.5 percent and reaching 167.1 percent market penetration.

This means that communications service providers’ revenues are getting thinner, and at the same time, there are investment plans for bringing LTE to the market. The Bulgarian fixed broadband market is very advanced, and therefore, customers also have great expectations for mobile data.

During the event at Grand Hotel Sofia, the attendees shared their views about the Bulgarian mobile market. Most people admitted that they very seldom use mobile data, instead relying on open Wi-Fi networks that are widely available. Local operators could turn things around and monetise this traffic using LTE or operator-owned Wi-Fi.  We also brought new ideas concerning how to apply our ‘Event’-‘Analysis’-‘Action’ strategy to build business and showed one use case demonstrating how we can derive value from data with operational predictive analytics.

Comptel is ‘Making Data Beautiful’ with automated decisions that drive action, and we were honored to show the attendees in Sofia just how we do that.


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: www.tefficient.com ). 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.


Globally Evangelising #MWC13 – “Barcelona-in-a-Box”

Posted: May 23rd, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Events, Industry Insights | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Mobile World Congress 2013 (MWC) in Barcelona had the highest attendance ever with 72,000 visitors. Every year, many of our customers do not have the opportunity to attend or meet us there, and to that end we created a customer workshop concept ‘Barcelona-in-a-Box’.  The idea is simple – if you couldn’t attend MWC, we bring it to you.

We built the workshop concept on three key industry topics which were discussed during MWC and continue to be on the agenda of almost every CSP.

To set the scene for the Barcelona-in-a-Box sessions, we shared our observations on the industry, based on extensive and in-depth discussions with major operators across the globe, insight we have gained from industry analysts and an independently commissioned report.

These observations addressed increasing smartphone penetration and how it’s driving up data usage, but not necessarily increasing revenues – largely due to pressure by OTT services such as WhatsApp, Skype, YouTube and Facebook (to name a few). Secondly, we discussed how bundled tariffs and packages are increasingly attractive to mobile subscribers, assisting CSPs with customer “lock-in” and positively driving up revenues. We highlighted the next evolution of the bundled approach through creation of fully shared data plans, as seen in the US market for example. Finally, as an observation we deliberated that while LTE rollouts are still in their early stages, the importance of attracting the right high-use customers to adopt the highly valued (and highly subsidised) handsets is key for accelerating ROI on those infrastructures.

To ensure that we have the correct data on consumer needs in place, we at each session discussed the locally relevant results of the consumer survey, Customers Yearn for the Personal Touch from Their Mobile Operators, we made at the end of 2012 with Vanson Bourne, an independent research firm. We polled 6,000 consumers from 12 countries across EMEA, Latin America and Asia Pacific on their service usage and spending habits, as well as their relationships and satisfaction with their mobile operators.

In addition to vivid discussion on the common challenges and local consumer needs, some of the sessions included live demonstrations that showcased the solutions that Comptel has developed to address the needs of its customer. We showed the benefits of the Comptel Event-Analysis-Action strategic framework with:

  • Robust and highly automated Comptel Fulfillment that supports service innovation and better customer interaction while reducing costs
  • ‘Plug ‘n’ Play’ Catalog-Driven product creation that allows building and adapting marketable products quickly from established service components, accelerating new revenues and allowing agile responses to market changes
  • Comptel Social Links, predictive analytics to improve and automate every-day decision-making at each customer touch point and serve customers based on their individual needs and techniques of finding the right customers for new products.

We have already taken Barcelona-in-a-Box across the Middle East, Europe and Asia receiving great acclaim for our initiative and its content, being quoted as having “a fresh approach” to actively engaging with our customers. The Comptel team has enjoyed the lively debates and sense of shared understanding of the industry state and prospects for the future. Based on the feedback, we have validated that Comptel is in-sync with CSPs and our solutions suitably address their needs. We are excited to see which topics are on top of the agenda for Barcelona in 2014!


Policy Control and Data Pricing Conference 2013: Where is Telco Policy Heading?

Posted: April 19th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Events, Industry Insights | Tags: , , , | Comments Off on Policy Control and Data Pricing Conference 2013: Where is Telco Policy Heading?

This week, I attended the Policy Control and Data Pricing Conference in Berlin and came away with a lot of interesting insights. One of the subjects was, of course, the future of policy control and charging (PCC). As mobile devices diversify, so, too, do the ways that people use them. Consequently, communications service providers (CSPs) are going to have to think about PCC in a whole new way.

Policy should now be pervasive across all customer touch-points and platforms. Agility and flexibility is going to be paramount in new use cases, because CSPs are going to see a near-limitless combination of mobile data usage bundles, particularly when it comes to multimedia use. To meet this demand, there will have to be innovative new policy  and charging models.

The Troubling Siloes of OCF and PCRF

Right now, most PCC efforts are separated. That can be a huge barrier, since OCF (Online Charging Function) and PCRF (Policy  and Charging Rules Function) efforts can be stuck in siloes and CSPs can find it difficult to integrate them. However, now there are a lot of requirements coming from the market for diverse policy use cases that require integrated charging capabilities. On the other hand, policy is becoming more and more a strategic monetisation engine for CSPs. Given that there will be so many different use cases in the coming years,  which need to be launched to the market quickly, it’s inevitable that policy control and charging systems are going to grow together, so keeping the two separate will do more harm than good. Policy offerings will grow more complex as use cases grow more diverse. Not only that, “policy” is something that spans all networks – applications, BSS, OSS, every device is affected by policy control.

Still, once there’s a platform that can scale alongside policy and charging solutions, PCC is going to be critical for CSPs. It’s clear that, as policy and charging evolve, so, too, will pricing bundles. CSPs that can create versatile bundles and use predictive analytics to offer them to the right customers at the right time will have a huge advantage in the coming years. Predictive analytics together with catalog-driven policy and charging will form in the future the environment to correspond customer’s ever-growing need for individually targeted packages and make them available fast.

Personalising Policy

Without the relevant user data, it’s impossible to personalise policies effectively. That’s important, given that presenters at the Policy Control Conference seem to believe that innovative strategies for policy will rely on increasing personalisation. So, it’s time for CSPs to consider how they can leverage the big data already at their disposal for meaningful customer insights so they can better monetise their services.

A prime example here is LTE deployment. During the Mobile World Congress, we heard how LTE service has proven to be difficult to monetise effectively, given that customers often don’t use LTE to its full potential and CSPs have to heavily subsidise LTE handsets.  With the help of predictive analytics we should on the one hand target the LTE bundles with the subsidised handsets for the customers who would have the greatest benefit. But on the other hand by creating new policies based on user and usage data, it’s possible to create unique bundles that can make LTE a flexible service that becomes available when customers need it, not before. A good example is the instant bandwidth refreshment – also known as the turbo boost – to satisfy customer’s increased data usage.

This conference has highlighted what we here at Comptel have known for some time: real-time policy and charging decisions are going to dovetail with predictive analytics and catalog-driven approach.. Why? Because predictive analytics are the key to unlocking useful customer insights that can generate contextual intelligence for all customer interactions. With the right data and tools on hand, CSPs can learn about individual data usage and create new policy controls based on the easy-to-launch catalog-driven configurations that offer customers solutions when they need them, revolutionising the way that businesses think about policy, charging, and big data.