Looking Forward to TELSA in Saudi Arabia

Posted: January 25th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Comptel sees a lot of potential in the Middle East and Africa (MEA), and is investing to create more opportunities for being a key stakeholder in the region for its customers and partners. One country that presents immense possibilities is Saudi Arabia, which was recently ranked as the most valuable and second largest Middle Eastern mobile market with 42.9 million subscriptions.

As such, Comptel is a silver sponsor of and looks forward to meeting industry players at the Saudi Telecoms and ICT Summit (TELSA), which is going to be held from 29 to 31 January 2012 at the Four Seasons in Riyadh. The conference and exhibition will cover themes such as infrastructure development, growth strategies and investment opportunities in the Saudi telecoms industry.

Ahmed Hamza, a cluster head in the MEA region for Comptel, is going to participate in a panel discussion on harnessing the full potential of broadband to drive increased revenue, which is going to be held on 29 January at 16:30. The panel will talk about increasing ARPU through an effective broadband strategy, attracting customers through digitisation and content development, and capitalising on mobile broadband to increase revenue by focusing on sectors such as vocational education, health and agriculture. It will also discuss developing non-voice service offerings through segmented focus and niche marketing, introducing value-added services to meet customers’ needs using data mining and other business intelligence tools, assessing pricing structure and determining an optimal tariff rate. Last but not least, Ahmed will explore how operators can leverage broadband services to increase their market share.

The next day of the summit at 11:30, Kim Molin, a director of solution management at Comptel, will present a session on intelligent bandwidth management for an optimised customer experience. The presentation will cover differentiating data services with a personalised quality of experience, introducing bandwidth management tools for proactively improving customer satisfaction and increasing ARPU through intelligently up-selling new data services.

From Saudi Airlines presenting its strategic ICT transformation initiatives to gain competitive advantage in the aviation industry to Zain Saudi Arabia giving a cost-benefit analysis and critical insights into why it chose the TD-LTE variant, this summit and exhibition should be quite an exciting event with local, regional and international telecom operators, regulators, service providers, wholesale carriers, government agencies, vendors and corporations together under one roof. It’s also interesting to note that the conference organizers have provided workshops on how telecoms can provide solutions to the public and oil and gas sectors.

We welcome you to visit and interact with Comptel experts at our TELSA exhibition stand (G 25).


Around the World

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

Connected Planet…
The First of the Top Trends for 2012, Including: Micro-Transactions for Everyone
With the New Year right around the corner, Alex Leslie provides an overview of what private equity firm M/C Partners sees as the top 10 communications trends for 2012. Dealing with capacity issues is expected to be the biggest trend, according to the company; communications service providers (CSPs)will likely accelerate the build out of fiber to the tower in order to keep up with bandwidth and quality of service demands.

What Alex notes as most interesting from an OSS/BSS point of view is the expansion of the micro-transaction business models into massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs), console games, video, communications services and social networks. With the majority of this money being paid as subscriptions, Alex says this opens an opportunity for pricing and billing sophistication.

Do you agree with M/C Partners’ list of the top 2012 communications trends? Is there anything else you foresee having a major impact on the industry in the New Year?

Microsperience….
Making the Impossible Possible (A Fishy Tale)
Analyst Teresa Cottam begins her blog post with an anecdote about a U.K. supermarket chain. In the midst of the recession, the supermarket was able to sell its Alaskan salmon at an incredibly low price, creating a truly competitive advantage. There was much speculation about how it was able to do this, but the answer was as simple as finding a new shipping route, which enabled the store to shorten the journey from Alaska to the U.K., and therefore, reduce the cost of the product.

Teresa’s main point is that almost nothing is impossible if you put your mind to it. CSPs can innovate if they have a clear vision and sufficient imagination to prevent challenges from holding them back.

Teresa goes on to explain that she sees billing and charging as the next big opportunity for innovation, and believes that visionaries will see the opportunities CSPs now have to differentiate themselves and create new revenues. To achieve their business goals, CSPs need to bring their operational team members together, understand their customers and work with partners to deliver the right product at the right time.

In the end, the analyst challenges readers with the following question: “Are you, as a service provider, happy to risk falling behind when the leap comes, or are you one of those already preparing their run up?”

Gulf News…
Telecoms ‘Must Focus on Doing What They Do Best’
Should operators look to Google and Facebook to share advertising revenue? Panelists at the Smart Handheld Summit 2011 in Dubai say no, arguing that CSPs should instead tighten operational efficiency and stick with what they do best—providing Internet access.

Venture capitalist Paul Doany warns that straying into commercial operations, such as new platforms and mobile apps, will be harmful for revenues. On the other hand, Osman Sultan, CEO of du telecom, thinks operators should take part in third-party advertising-based revenue streams, and believes this is possible if telecom operators across the Middle East work together.

Matching the tremendous growth of Internet giants will certainly be a challenge. However, Dr. Bassam Hannoun, CEO of Wataniya Mobile, says operators can drive the telecoms industry forward through management and protection of revenue. In the coming year, Bassam believes the operators who will find success are those who can turn a disconnected value chain into a seamless solution.


Q2 2011: An Update on Comptel’s Business and Strategy

Posted: July 20th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: News | Tags: , , , , , , | Comments Off on Q2 2011: An Update on Comptel’s Business and Strategy

Today, we announced our results for the second quarter of 2011 and the first half of this financial year.

This past quarter has been a decent one for Comptel. Our order flow improved from the previous year, and our business developed favourably in the Middle East and Africa, where the measures initiated late last year, such as investments in customer service and consulting resources, have yielded results. In our largest market, Europe, the net sales remained low, which was the main reason for a decreased Group net sales. However, we are optimistic that the decision to split Europe into East and West, and to reorganise our operations to get closer to customers, will help improve the situation. Overall, Comptel’s financial position remained strong during this period.

Looking beyond the figures, the first half of 2011 has been a busy one for Comptel. We attended a number of large events, including Mobile World Congress (Barcelona, February) and Management World (Dublin, May), and held our very own Comptel User Group – CUG (Helsinki, June). All of these were excellent showcases for us, and we had many successful business meetings. We also closed 10 deals of over €500K in value (compared to eight in the same period last year), including four that we consider strategic (NBN CO and three Comptel Control & Charge) deals. Also, as mentioned above, we reorganised to bring our sales and services capabilities closer to our customers and prospects. In particular, we grew our sales force in Australia, Germany, Italy, Russia and the UK. We also made a number of new appointments to the board.

Going forward, Comptel will continue to invest further in the development of our sales and service channels, as well as in our products.

So all in all, it was a busy first half of the year, and we have an even busier second half ahead of us!


Around the World

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

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

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

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


Around the World

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


Around the World…

Posted: July 21st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Around the World | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Connected Planet | Unfiltered Blog…
CTIA vs. FCC in Bill Shock Dust-Up
BSS/OSS reporter Susana Schwartz gives us her take on the recent back-and-forth between the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) and CTIA regarding the former’s survey on “bill shock”. As brief background, the CTIA started a dispute by calling the latest FCC data on bill shock “inflammatory,” with the FCC responding in a blog post that the CTIA is “denying bill shock by distorting the facts.” Regardless of who’s right or wrong, Susana raises an interesting point: “If the CTIA’s concern is well-founded—if only 30% of the respondents in the FCC bill shock survey said they were over 18—then where are we? Let’s pay attention to the perception of even young customers, as they are the near-future purchasers of services and plans. They will graduate and get jobs and pay bills, and they are the ones most savvy with social media and apps, etc.” Undoubtedly, these services will shape the future and certainly influence the telco industry. It is more important than ever for CSPs to be innovative and dynamic, and offer personalized services to subscribers at a price they are willing to pay for.

For more on the FCC-CTIA situation, Matthew Lasar of Ars Technica also covered bill shock and analyzed the FCC’s survey data in his article, “Fear and Loathing over Mobile Phone ‘Bill Shock’”.

Business Intelligence Middle East…
Africa & Middle East Mobile Broadband Adoption Will Grow Faster than Global Average over Next Five Years
According to a recent report from Pyramid Research, the future growth of broadband in Africa and the Middle East will be driven by mobile broadband. This is largely due to poor wireline services and innovative branding and packaging from mobile operators. It is expected that the total number of subscribers will reach 38 million by 2014, which is slightly faster than the global average. The report examines the current and forecast broadband landscape in the region in terms of subscribers and revenue, and looks more closely at the technologies that will enable fixed and mobile services. It also examines three key markets in more detail—the UAE, which exemplifies the most-developed parts of Africa and the Middle East; Nigeria, which illustrates the underdeveloped, sub-Saharan region; and Turkey, which represents the region’s middle-income markets. You can check out the report in full here.

TM Forum Online Community…
BSS Is Dead, Long Live BSS!
A TM Forum online community member contributed a blog post that looks at the “great BSS/OSS divide”. The terms BSS and OSS have traditionally been differentiated in the telco industry, yet with the combination of all-IP network transformation and service convergence, these have been more frequently blended together. This particular blogger raises an insightful point—“We have all heard this, but is it actually happening in the real world? If it is, how do we now define the functions that traditionally fell in the BSS camp…?” What are your thoughts on this topic? Do you think the BSS/OSS gap is closing?