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.


Compelling Cases: Comptel Convergent Mediation in Action

Posted: September 5th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Compelling Cases | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Compelling Cases: Comptel Convergent Mediation in Action

Last week, we introduced our new blog post series, Compelling Cases, where we showcased a Southern European operator looking to stimulate growth and accelerate revenue generation. With the help of Comptel Fulfillment, the operator was able to implement a more productive service delivery process. Continuing on with our series showcasing Comptel in action, today we look at another major European operator that drastically simplified its network complexity and gained significant cost savings with Comptel Convergent Mediation

Context
As is the case with many communications service providers (CSPs), while experiencing mobile subscriber growth this leading European CSP was also faced with more network transactions that needed to be gathered and converted into billable records. In particular, the CSP was seeking a solution that would allow it to more easily manage the collection and transformation of network billing transactions from its five operating companies with various network types. To accomplish this, the CSP turned to Comptel Convergent Mediation.  

Conversion
With Comptel’s Convergent Mediation, the CSP was able to harness its multiple networks into one unified platform where billing records from more than 40 million subscribers is now being efficiently processed – making for the largest single subscribers’ billing records processing system in Europe. Running on Linux-based hardware, Comptel’s solution is highly scalable so that the CSP can manage billions of events per day. And, the CSP now has the processing power to enable future growth with LTE transactions.

Completion
This complex mediation consolidation project was delivered in phases: The first phase was finalised in Q4 2011, within the same year that the contract was closed (Q1 2011). The completion of the second phase of the delivery project occurred in Q1 2012 and set the precedent for handling several billions of billing records generated by millions of subscribers in a single mediation system on daily basis.

Visit our website to view this announcement, or see more third-party validated case studies, visit TechValidate-Comptel Solutions


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 LTE Advanced – Part One

Posted: April 27th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Industry Insights, Telecom Trends | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

When following the hot industry trends, I found a lot of excitement around LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) and wanted to share my thoughts on this emerging technology.

So what is LTE-A?

Well, in the simplest of terms, it’s the latest advancement in radio technology that will put one Gigabits/s bandwidth (or 1000 megabits/s) to your mobile device of choice, whether it’s a laptop, dongle, tablet or smartphone (and eventually feature phone). Network rollouts will occur once the technology is proven in trials and compatible devices are available.

For comparison, you can get up to 100 megabits/s through LTE technology and up to 24 megabits/s with ADSL technology. The bandwidth that LTE-A enables is similar to the fastest speeds from Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) technology and about three times faster than that of cable. It is also approved by the International Telecommunications Union as the true 4G technology irrespective of what industry marketing and some communications service providers (CSPs) are saying about LTE and DC-HSPA. Globally, we are just deploying LTE infrastructure, and thus, LTE-A will have its first major deployments sometime in the future.

Some Perspective

While the maximum speed will most likely be very theoretical, at least in the beginning, the technology promises to provide all of the bandwidth we need without wiring everything together physically, allowing for true mobility. To put that bandwidth into perspective, one HD quality video stream can consume up to tens of megabits per second depending on the encoding/decoding technology used. This would then decide how much of the CPU and graphics chip on your device would be used and how much battery life they consume on decoding the video feed. The less bandwidth that is consumed (and hence tighter compression used in video encoding), the more work the CPU and graphics chip will have to do, and more battery will be consumed. In theory, you would not need much video compression with LTE-A, as there is plenty of capacity and hence less demand on battery, CPUs and other chip development needs. Think about several HD video channels being streamed to your device and having the ability to use other services in parallel. It would also enable higher upload speeds, so your multi-megapixel DSLR pictures could be streamed to your cloud storage or photostream of choice in near real time.

Is there really a need for this much bandwidth?

I’ve witnessed first-hand that once more bandwidth is available, it will get used. Remember the times of MS-DOS and the famous statement that 640 kB of memory is enough for everything? I’m feeling a bit old here, but seriously, we are masters of consuming 97% of our hard drives, for example, no matter what the capacity is—and the same applies to bandwidth. With recent advancements in HD displays in relatively small form factor (e.g. retina display in the new Apple iPad), it’s almost guaranteed we will consume available bandwidth. I’d think, however, that with such bandwidth, the need for large local storage on devices becomes less important, especially as cloud storage is becoming more affordable. Hence, we will see more video-enabled devices with minimal, built-in storage capacity.

LTE-A sounds promising, right? In my next post, I’ll discuss this technology further and highlight some areas where there’s room for improvement.


Ensuring Everybody Is Ready for Number Portability Implementation

Posted: June 7th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Industry Insights | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Ensuring Everybody Is Ready for Number Portability Implementation

By Samantha Tanner, Telecoms IQ at IQPC

The most important aspect when implementing number portability is making sure that awareness of the service transcends regulators, operators and customers to ensure a smooth implementation and allow greater choice in taking up the service.

Number portability’s overall aim is to allow mobile phone subscribers the choice of changing service providers whilst keeping their existing numbers. Therefore, it allows greater freedom for customers, while pushing operators into offering an improved service and creating greater competition. So, in order to make Number Portability successful from all sides, how do you go about promoting it?

Malta is a successful case study in how to promote Number Portability before implementation in order to create awareness of the service. Although full number portability was not implemented in the country until 2006, the idea was set in motion in 2005 when the Malta Communications Authority published its Number Portability proposal. A full campaign was strategically planned in order to make the Maltese people aware of the new service that would be made available to them.

Philip Micallef, chief executive of the Malta Communications Authority (MCA), explained this decision: “This period was very important as it was set in order to give the industry time to set the various processes involved. In the meantime, when this decision was published, it was featured prominently in the media, including the main television stations during prime time news. A number of interviews undertaken by MCA staff on the subject also took place during this period and were well covered by a number of newspapers, radio programmes and television programmes.”

Additionally, the regulator promoted the service with SMS short codes and sent out information booklets to provide the information that mobile phone users would need in order to make a decision on whether to take advantage of the service or not.

The process of promoting the scheme in Malta has carried on beyond the inception of Number Portability. As Philip Micallef explains, “Public awareness is also being extenuated by the operators who are now marketing number portability in their own campaigns trying to attract people to subscribe with them, and at the same time, keeping their telephone numbers. The result of the public awareness on number portability is evident by the high number of porting statistics.”

This is in stark contrast to the situation currently being played out with Number Portability implementation in Kenya. Although the service was announced and implemented by the country’s regulator, there has been opposition to the service with the country’s two biggest operators who have been locked in a bitter dispute over claims of sabotage. The regulator Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) has had to step in with this dispute threatening to affect the nation’s perception of the whole service.

Other, more successful, Number Portability implementations, such as that experienced in India, show that educating the nation’s mobile phone users and making sure the operators know that their customer service has to improve helps make the service a success. Since Number Portability was introduced in January, more than 10 million mobile phone users have opted to use the service. This, in part, has been down to superior branding implemented by smaller operators. Additionally, in the two and a half years since Number Portability has been available in Brazil, over 9 million people have utilised the service with over 1.2 million porting their number in the first half of 2011.

Similarly, once Nigeria implements Number Portability and other countries in Eastern Europe follow suit, such as Romania, it’s important that the regulator and operators work closely together in setting out some clear guidelines to adhere to – like in India and in Malta. They’ll really want to avoid any such situation that has been seen in Kenya.

In summary, one of the greatest benefits of number portability is that it forces operators to review their OSS capabilities in order to avoid churn. The service makes them look at their customer service strategy, network capabilities and billing systems in order to improve upon their service.

This post was created from content for the Number Portability 2011 event being held in London from 20th-22nd June.