Lessons in Dynamic SIM Management from Kimi Räikkönen

Posted: August 23rd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Around the World | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments »

In Finland, as part of our school traditions, every first grader gets his or her first mobile phone at the age of seven. That is when our award-winning school system begins to educate our offspring in order to meet OECD and Pisa test requirements—one factor contributing to Finland recently being named the world’s best country by Newsweek. The battle for these new mobile subscriptions is harsh, with communications service providers offering a wide range of options to parents and their kids.

This July, I received a surprising package from Kimi Räikkönen—that was exactly how it was marketed to my target group and how my daughter told it to everyone she met during the following weeks. Finnish mobile operator DNA Finland sent a prepaid SIM card to every Finnish mom (including me) who had a child that was born in 2003 and entering the first grade.

As a marketer, I had to admit that this campaign was extremely clever! A photo of the coolest guy in the universe covered a bright pink package containing not only the pre-paid SIM card but also a Kimi poster, a set of removable tattoos and a reflector—all of the things that first graders simply adore. For moms, DNA included a nice letter explaining how mobile phones are important for protecting kids and giving peace of mind to worrying parents. (In Finland, most of the kids walk or cycle to school and back on their own or with schoolmates or older siblings, and return home hours before their parents.)

After I had recovered from the amazement of Kimi sending me a package, I started to think about the pros and cons of DNA’s offer. First, I have never been a fan of pre-paid subscriptions, even if this one had feature that allowed kids to call two selected numbers, even if they run out of balance. Secondly, I was wondering what the pre-selected number was. Could I change it if I did not like the number? And what about the services? Could I modify the subscription? This might be a good option for a first grader but not so great for an older child a couple of years down the road.

These thoughts brought me back to the same issues I had tackled few months earlier when Comptel was planning the Comptel Dynamic SIM Management launch. And now I needed one–a SIM card management solution.

A month later, Kimi Räikkönen’s charisma faded. One Sunday morning, my daughter said, “Mom, let’s go to the Elisa shop and buy a phone for me!” And that is what we did. Along with a pink Nokia 7020, we purchased a Saunalahti subscription, I selected a phone number that included her date of birth and excluded a couple of unnecessary services.

Around the World

Posted: August 19th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Around the World | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment »

TM Forum Online Community…
Caps Off To Aussie ‘App Cap’ Initiative
A TM Forum online community member contributed a blog post on a recent interview with Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA) chief executive Chris Althaus. Althaus believes that Australian mobile users need to step back, monitor their data usage on smartphones and manage their spending to avoid ‘bill shock’. A recent paper from the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) found that 57% of mobile cap users did not monitor their expenditure between bills; 33% of users said they “cannot be bothered” in monitoring their spending, 19% said they did not exceed their cap, and 26% had “low usage”. Communications service providers (CSPs) need to step in and provide its end-users with services to better manage their plans. Check out our last “Around the World” post for Tony Poulos’ thoughts on this topic. The AMTA also put together some helpful tips for Australian mobile users to ensure that they follow the actions Althaus mentioned.

Connected Planet…

How To Meet Massive Demand For Mobile Data
Dan Warren, director of technology at the GSMA, contributed an interesting article to Connected Planet. Looking at the demand for mobile services and how service providers need to handle this influx, Warren offers readers two suggestions—update old configurations and make apps more frugal. While the demand for data services certainly presents mobile networks with challenges, he suggests that operators “can and will adapt”. He also leaves us with some food for thought—“rather than being seen as a harbinger of doom, the rapidly rising demand for mobile multimedia should be celebrated as the dawn of an exciting new age for the cellular industry”—which we couldn’t agree anymore with.

Voice and Data…
What Enterprises Want from 3G, WiMAX and TD-LTE
Beryl M. of Voice and Data reports that, in the next twelve to eighteen months, enterprises in India will have the option to pick up 3G, WiMAX and TD-LTE (4G)-driven broadband connectivity and other enterprise mobility solutions. This is the first time that three competing and complimenting technologies will land in the Indian telecom market at about the same time. The article continues by examining the opportunities and challenges each of these technologies will present and explaining enterprises concerns about them. Are there any other opportunities and challenges that were not discussed in this article? Share them with us.

Podcast: Potential of Cloud Services for CSPs

Posted: August 13th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Behind the Scenes | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments »

I recently had the pleasure to speak with industry analyst Teresa Cottam of Telesperience for her latest podcast episode—Telesperience 15—on cloud, managed services and outsourcing.  The focus of our conversation was the potential of cloud services: both to increase operational efficiency and as a new revenue stream for communications service providers (CSPs).  I was also able to share with her Comptel’s participation in three TM Forum Catalyst programs, which we have been showing at various TM Forum Management World events in Nice and Orlando.  The Catalysts involved were:

After four successful iterations of the Service Model Catalyst, we are happy to share that we’ve achieved all of the results we’ve set out to accomplish.  As for the other two Catalysts, we will continue to explore these further over the next few months—we’re really seeing the Cloud Service Broker Catalyst working as a potential business model for CSPs.

Podcast Options:

Download MP3 file

Play streaming audio: v2 Microsperience- Greg Scullard- July 2010.mp3

Follow the conversation via Twitter: @TeresaCottam, @Telesperience, @ComptelCorp or #BSSOSS.

Around the World…

Posted: August 5th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Around the World | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Telecom Asia…
Bill Shock Worse Scourge Than Thought: FCC
In our last “Around the World” post, we touched on the recent ‘back and forth’ between the CTIA and the FCC on ‘bill shock’. Since then, Tony Poulos, head of the revenue management sector at TM Forum, has shared his thoughts on this topic in a recent article for Telecom Asia. As the subject of “bill shock” continues to captivate the world—customers, CSPs, regulators, etc.—Tony asks, “What should we, as an industry, do about managing it?” He believes it is not sufficient enough to simply inform customers that they will be charged a certain amount for services rendered; end-users should be careful—proactive action is necessary. Tony suggests that CSPs automatically set usage limits—as long as the method to override the limits is instantly offered at the same time. Do you have any ideas to add?

Connected Planet…
TM Forum, NGMN Alliance Will Yield Converged Requirements
TM Forum and the Next Generation Mobile Networks Alliance (NGMN) have agreed to work together on 10 requirements for next-generation network (NGN) management and long-term evolution (LTE). NGMN has focused on understanding the requirements that next-gen mobile operators have, while the TM Forum provides the standards and expertise to enable the creation, delivery and monetization. For now, the 10 requirements center on:

  • OSS standard interface requirements
  • Inventory management
  • Quality and quantity of alarms
  • Automatic software management
  • Energy-saving requirements (green)
  • Self-organizing networks (define management of networks, help organize/heal themselves)
  • Performance management
  • Trace functionality (trace problems to their roots and to specific network errors)
  • Plug-and-play/self-installing
  • Tool support requirements

The alliance plans to reach out to 3GPP and other organizations that have core competencies. Martin Creaner, president and COO of the TM Forum states that “…the purpose is to get the various organizations to line up their brain power around common problems.” What do you think about this collaboration?”

Total Telecom…
LTE: Sharing the Burden
Ken Wieland wrote an interesting article that appeared in the July issue of Total Telecom. He considers this question: with high expenditure levels to deploy LTE networks, including spectrum and backhaul costs, are more operators are considering network sharing? Ken explores the pros and cons of network sharing and speaks with several industry analysts on their views of the market. He concludes with the following: “Yet to compete effectively in the mobile broadband market, there will be growing pressures to offset the cost of spectrum and equipment, as well as to reduce the cost of installing fatter backhaul pipes to support the higher volumes of traffic that LTE-based applications should bring. And that seems certain to drive LTE network sharing up the agenda.” Do you agree?

Witnessing Roaming Cost Control In Action

Posted: August 3rd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Telecom Trends | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments »

Last week, while at Comptel’s headquarters in Helsinki, Finland, I received the following text from my service provider:

“You’ve spent £34.04 (ex VAT) on data in Europe. We won’t charge you any more on your current bill, but we’ll stop the data service if you go over 50 MB.”

What an odd message! I thought:

  • Why the somewhat random £34.04?
  • What is 50 MB; how much daily usage does it represent? And how much have I used already?
  • What can I do about it? Can I up my quota? The message gives no indication of that.

Of course, I immediately recognized this message as an implementation of the European Union’s (EU) Roaming Cost Control legislation—not a weird, threatening and inconvenient message. I could hazard a guess that the £34.04 (plus 17.5% VAT) could be equivalent roughly to the legislation’s limit of €50. And I also knew that I had the right to change that limit. So all in all, the message made me smile. I called my service provider and was able to up my credit limit (to an equally bafflingly random figure incidentally). Problem solved—for now at least.

However, how would other customers feel about this message, especially if, like me, they were travelling on business and needed data services for their jobs? My guess is they would not have been too happy about this message, even if they do understand the benefits of avoiding bill shock. What might they have done about it? I guess there are two options here: either they stopped using data services or, like me, they called the service provider.

In other words, for the service provider in question, this text resulted in either a lost opportunity for further revenue or a cost for handling customer calls—not to mention the potential customer dissatisfaction.

Yet, all of this could have been so easily avoided if the message had been better phrased, and if it gave an option to increase the limit by simply replying to the text.

There is so much talk these days in our industry about policy control as a tool for personalization and improved customer experience. It seems, however, that some implementations do not quite live up to that aspiration—yet.