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Bridgewater Systems' David Sharpley explains how to bridge the traffic growth and network costs gap

OPERATOR INTERVIEWS O2 UK and Qtel share deployment experiences CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE CSPs don't need to be the best, just better POLICY MANAGEMENT What are the politics of policy?

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News • Comment • The Contract Hot List Webinar and Video Reviews • Diary • Clocking Off!


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13 TALKING HEADS David Sharpley, Bridgewater Systems

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26 POLICY MANAGEMENT

Bridgewater Systems, the leader in intelligent broadband controls, provides pre-integrated solutions for mobile and converged operators to transform their networks, optimise mobile data growth and innovate with new services. The Bridgewater portfolio of carrier-grade products includes Service Controller (AAA), Policy Controller (PCRF) and Home Subscriber Server (HSS), anchored by a common identity and device management system. More than 150 leading service providers worldwide leverage Bridgewater to create and deliver profitable services to consumer, enterprise, cloud and machine markets. For more information, visit us at www.bridgewatersystems.com.

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IN THIS ISSUE EDITOR’S COMMENT Where next for innovation?

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NEWS Company, Market, Product and Contract News plus the People News column.

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CONTRACT HOT LIST Major contracts awarded globally and the latest company news.

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TALKING HEADS Bridgewater Systems’ David Sharpley argues policy management has now reached the top of communication service providers’ agendas as they seek to monetise smartphone traffic.

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EXPERT OPINION: VOLUME SHOCK Robert Morrison says the challenges CSPs face aren’t so different to those in other industries.

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MEDIATION Mark Dye scopes the complexity of today’s mediation workloads.

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OPERATOR INTERVIEW George Malim discusses network optimisation with O2 UK’s David Owens.

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EXPERT OPINION: PROTFITABILITY AND CEM Anandan Jayaraman examines how CSPs can balance the need to provide great customer experience with the imperative to turn a profit.

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CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE Jonny Evans finds that CSPs don’t need to be the best, just better.

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OPERATOR INTERVIEW Qtel tells George Malim about its long-term relationship with Convergys.

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EXPERT OPINION: POLICY CONTROL David Sharpley describes three sophisticated mediation scenarios.

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POLICY MANAGEMENT Nick Booth explores how CSPs can maximise profits without marginalising users.

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WEBINAR REVIEW A recent VanillaPlus Thought Leadership Webinar examined how intelligent BSS can unlock growth opportunities.

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VIDEO REVIEW Ittai Bareket and Steve Bamberger discuss the highlights of their video now live at www.vanillaplus.com

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DIARY Where to go and what to see

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CLOCKING OFF! Mark Dye wonders if there’s an app for big brand bullies.

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I’m looking for the next wave of innovation

George Malim, Editor: VanillaPlus

EDITORIAL ADVISORS

Last issue, I used this space to discuss consolidation in the CSP sector. This month, especially given the developments covered on the facing page, it’s the turn of the vendors. The last six months has seen a spate of acquisitions in the sector. CSG Systems acquired Intec and has now rebranded the business as CSG International, Telcordia has finally been acquired and Bridgewater Systems is set to be purchased by Amdocs at the time of writing.

There are different drivers behind each of the acquisitions. Taking the largest first – the US$ 1.15bn acquisition of Telcordia by Ericsson – it was well known that the New Jerseyheadquartered vendor’s private equity backers had been looking for an exit for some time. It hasn’t been the success they might have expected with a sale price of US$ 0.2bn less than they paid but, in their five-year ownership, they may have recouped at least some of their investment through taking profits. Within Ericsson, Telcordia, historically one of the most technically advanced, research-oriented vendors, has a home with the scale and scope that it needs to continue to innovate. Some concern exists about the potential for Ericsson to break up the business but, with Telcordia’s products fitting the gaps in Ericsson’s portfolio, the products side looks safe. Concern over the consultancy business remains because of the overlap between Telcordia’s consulting and Ericsson’s own business, which it claims makes it the largest network operator in the world. Surely they’re going to need more consultants, then? The potential acquisition of Bridgewater Systems by Amdocs is an absolutely routine purchase by a software giant of a smaller, specialist company that has technology it wants in its own portfolio. The scale of the deal is greater than for many such purchases but it’s worth remembering that Bridgewater Systems has a substantial cash pile on hand and that’s reflected in the probable price, along with ongoing revenues from its existing customer engagements. Policy, as the company’s David Sharpley explains on p13 and we explore further in VanillaPlus contributor Nick Booth’s feature on p26, is a hot area right now. The owners of specialists Broadhop, Comptel, FTS, Kabira, Openet, Redknee, Sandvine, Sigma Systems and Volubill will either be congratulating themselves on having policy in their portfolio already or dusting off those stock options and heading for the market place. Of course, as the small, lithe specialised companies get acquired and organisations with great R&D heritages change ownership, worries grow about the prospects for innovation in the coming years. The acquired have their eyes taken off the ball by integration efforts and the pace often takes a pause. With that in mind, now might be an excellent time to get some friends – clever ones – together and start a new cycle of innovation. The US$200m cheque of 2015 might have a large percentage with your name on it.

John Aalbers, chief executive, Volubill

Dan Baker, Research Director, Technology Research Institute

Martin Creaner, president, TM Forum

Andreas Freund, VP Marketing, Orga Systems GmbH

Louis Hall, chief executive, Cerillion Technologies

Gaby Matsliach, general manager, BSS Product Line, Comverse

Pat McCarthy, VP of Global Marketing, Service Delivery Solutions, Telcordia

Simon Muderack, COO, Tribold

John Rainger, vice president, EMEA, CSG International

Olivier Suard, Marketing Director, Comptel

Mac Taylor, CEO, The Moriana Group

Chris Yeadon, director of Product Marketing, Ericsson

Doug Zone, chief technology officer, MetraTech VanillaPlus is distributed free to selected named individuals in EMEA who meet the Publisher's terms of Circulation Control. If you would like to apply for a regular free copy supplied at the Publisher's discretion visit www.vanillaplus.com If you do not qualify for a free subscription, paid subscriptions can be obtained. Subscriptions for 6 issues cost £99.00 worldwide (or US$150 / EUR125) including post and packing. VanillaPlus magazine is published 6 times per year.

Enjoy the issue! © Prestige Media Ltd 2011

George Malim EDITOR George Malim Tel: +44 (0) 0208 292 4036 george@vanillaplus.com ASSOCIATE EDITOR Mark Dye Tel: +44 (0) 0208 251 8908 md@vanillaplus.com DIGITAL EDITOR Nathalie Bisnar Tel: +44 (0) 1732 808690 nathalie@vanillaplus.com

BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR Cherisse Draper Tel: +44 (0) 1732 897646 cherisse@vanillaplus.com BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER Mark Bridges Tel: +44 (0) 1732 897645 mark@vanillaplus.com

SALES EXECUTIVE Lydia Harris Tel: +44 (0) 1732 897648 lydia@vanillaplus.com OPERATIONS DIRECTOR Charlie Bisnar Tel: +44 (0) 1732 844017 charlie@vanillaplus.com PUBLISHER Jeremy Cowan Tel: +44 (0) 1420 588638 jc@vanillaplus.com

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Amdocs set to acquire Bridgewater Systems in €150m policy management transaction Amdocs has entered into an agreement to acquire Bridgewater Systems for C$8.20 (€5.8) per share, valuing the Ottawaheadquartered policy management specialist at C$211m (€149.5m). Amdocs David Sharpley: expects Bridgewater Potential to further expand its acquisition portfolio of Customer validates role of Experience Systems policy control with its broadband data experience management capabilities. David Sharpley, senior vice president of marketing and product management of Bridgewater Systems, told VanillaPlus he expects Bridgewater to become a separate, independent, standalone business unit within Amdocs. Commenting on the potential deal, he said: “Strategically on the part of Amdocs it’s very wise to bring policy and subscriber data management into their portfolio. Clearly, our policy leadership was the attraction.” “From the Bridgewater Systems

perspective, we continue to grow and invest and scale [up] our business,” he added, “but to get to Amdocs’ scale would take a broad set of customers and a huge amount of people.” Brian Shepherd, group president of Amdocs, commented: "This acquisition would build on Amdocs' leadership in delivering innovative solutions that change market paradigms. It is a continuation of our strategy to support service providers as they seek to transform their businesses in anticipation of new market opportunities like 4G and machine-to-machine, and in response to clear threats, such as the data explosion.” Sharpley added that the agreement signals the extent to which policy management has become a critical strategic enabler for CSPs. “It validates the strategic role policy and subscriber data management play,” he said. “By closely coupling the network and the IT sides, policy plays a critical role in the evolution of the customer experience. It is such a robust part of the market. In the last two to five years you have seen one of the most rapid maturations with a lot of activity and RFPs.”

Ericsson to acquire Telcordia for number portability and policy, may sell on consulting unit Ericsson’s announcement that it has reached an agreement with Providence Equity Partners, LLC and Warburg Pincus to acquire 100% of the shares of Telcordia for US$ 1.15bn highlights the value it is placing on the OSS and interconnect business units. That’s according to Peter Dykes, senior analyst, Networks, Informa Telecoms & Media. “Apart from the fact that most US networks use Telcordia's interconnect platform, the business unit also includes Mobile Number Portability,” he said. “With regulatory bodies in emerging markets around the world legislating in favour of greater competition, which inevitably includes number portability, Ericsson would be remiss to pass up the opportunity of

gaining a presence in some new markets by this means." Telcordia's strengths appear to be almost entirely complementary with Ericsson's weaknesses, particularly where service fulfilment is concerned. Dykes thinks that Ericsson will take the order-to-cash segment and discard the rest. Indeed, having gained a service delivery platform with the acquisition of Drutt in 2007, it seems unlikely that Ericsson will need much more than that. That may mean that the likeliest candidate for any bargain-basement sale could be Telcordia's consulting unit. “It is difficult to see how there could not be any overlap between the two units," added Dykes.

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Deutsche Telekom and France Telecom establish purchasing joint venture Deutsche Telekom and France Telecom are to set up a joint venture under which the two companies will seek to maximise their purchasing power for acquiring devices, network equipment, service platforms and other technology infrastructure. The operators have signed a non-binding agreement which is expected to lead to the formation of the venture in the fourth quarter of this year. The companies have been slowly becoming closer having merged their UK mobile operations in 2009 and announced their intention to co-operate across a range of business areas. Deutsche Telekom, chief technology officer, Ed Kozel, said that the current joint purchasing spend in these areas of both companies is approximately €13bn per year. The procurement venture is expected to generate savings of around one-tenth of that figure. Analyst, Thomas Wehmeier at Informa Telecoms & Media, commented: “Nothing motivates like money and the goal of securing €1.3bn in annualised savings by 2014 will certainly give strong impetus to the joint venure,” he said. “What is more, the procurement plans only cover one-third of the two groups’ combined annual spend of around €40 billion that is deemed ‘immediately accessible’, a sure sign that there is scope for additional synergies down the line.” The announcement certainly presents downsides for vendors but the extent to which it will affect vendors of more complex propositions, such as OSS, is unclear and probably far more limited than for purchases such as devices. “Although there’s an inevitable downside for vendors, things certainly won’t change overnight,” added Wehmeier. “The two industry giants alluded very clearly to the prospect of their ‘strategic suppliers’ being able to use this change in procurement strategy both as a way to develop more proactive and deeper relationships.”

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NEWS IN BRIEF

Call Centres persuade one in seven users to stay Research into customers’ mobile phone use has shown that one in seven people have been persuaded to stay with their mobile provider during a call to cancel their contract. The survey, which interviewed more than 2,000 British adults, was carried out by YouGov on behalf of Firstsource Solutions, a business process outsourcing company. The research found that different age ranges react differently in their call centre interactions. For example, in the 25-34 year old group, one in four has been persuaded to stay with their existing mobile operator. It also found that over 55 year olds were the least persuadable with just 6% continuing with their mobile provider when they rang up to cancel. Customer churn is a major challenge for mobile operators, generally estimated at around 30 to 40%. A Pitney Bowes study in 2007 found that Britain had the highest rate of churn in Europe. This study also found that UK customer defection rates were 38.6% in 2007 – an increase from 33.4% from 2005.

Mobile operators could save $560m+ in OpEx

Arieso has revealed statistics showing that mobile operators could potentially save more than US$ 560m in operational expenditure annually by powering down redundant base stations. By analysing actual subscriber network traffic data that indicates network capacity demand, Arieso believes that around 390,000 base stations can be powered down during quiet night time periods, saving more than 3.5 billion KWh of electrical power. “It’s well understood that energy consumption makes up a major portion of operator OPEX, and powering down base stations to reduce this has been discussed in the industry for some time,” said Michael Flanagan, CTO of Arieso. “Self-optimising networks have an important role to play in power saving. However, the challenge of knowing how and when to save power safely, without affecting the user experience, has not been met. Understanding the detail of when and, more importantly, where subscribers are using – or not using – the network is central to making these choices and realising the savings.”

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CSPs: Standards are needed to cut integration costs and free up IT budgets Many Communications Services Providers (CSPs) believe that the widespread adoption of BSS/OSS standards would see them slicing the cost of integration and giving them more Bhaskar Gorti budget to play with. That’s according to new research from Vanson Bourne on behalf of Oracle which surveyed 100 senior IT executives at leading communications service providers in the Americas, EMEA and APAC regions. More than 75% of those questioned believe that the widespread adoption of standards would see them cutting systems integration costs, with more than half adding that this would allow them to free up in excess of 10% of their annual IT budgets. A further 57% noted that such standards would help them become more responsive as they bid to introduce new services, while 54% agreed that increasing the agility of the IT architecture to become more responsive

to business needs was a top three priority. Keith Willetts, chairman, TM Forum, believes that the research is further evidence of the need for standardised BSS/OSS business processes, demonstrating the tangible financial and operational benefits they bring. “The TM Forum remains focused on simplifying the complexity of running a CSP’s business through our Frameworx suite of standards, which provide the blueprint for effective business operations,” he said. Bhaskar Gorti, senior vice president and general manager, Oracle Communications, said that industry standards have a very real role to play in making BSS/OSS work for the business. “Standards expedite procurement processes for our customers through their use of common terms to describe product and service capabilities, and the ability to identify inefficiencies via comparisons with industry best practices,” he said. “As we can see from the results of this new research, standardisation can also reduce integration and operational costs, as well as risk.”

Enterprise customers still suffering massive bill shock from roaming workers Roaming workforces, new devices and data services combined with a lack of spending visibility for enterprises are resulting in widespread bill shock which is costing Communications Service Dave Labuda Providers (CSPs) millions of dollars per month in billing disputes and subsequent bad debt write-offs. That’s according to new research from Stratecast which reveals that although the enterprise sector signs lucrative long-term contracts with CSPs that deliver up to 40% of total annual revenue, between 10% and 15% of this revenue is being written off by CSPs every month due to disputed roaming and data charges. Indeed, this percentage equates to over US$20m for 60% of the CSPs interviewed. The research shows how CSPs and their

enterprise customers can benefit tremendously from real-time transparency and spend control to minimise bad debt write-offs, improve KPIs and decrease churn. Karl Whitelock, director OSS/BSS Strategy at Stratecast, explained that CSPs were exposed to unpredictable financial risk when enterprise customers disputed bills. "Also, the dispute resolution process can be protracted, and there’s no guarantee that individuals or entire enterprises won’t churn to another CSP at the end of the process,” he said. Dave Labuda, founder and CEO of MATRIXX Software, said that in his opinon the research offered further evidence that real-time enterprise spend controls offer tremendous financial benefits to CSPs and enterprise customers. “A real-time view of corporate spending would offer enterprises the information they need to make informed budget decisions, avoid billing disputes and more accurately predict communications costs,” he said.

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Don’t integrate use semantic search technologies, says Ontology CEO

Benedict Enweani: Search technology cuts integration burden

Ontology, a vendor of systems that use semantic search technologies to enable operators to find and align business entities in operational, business and infrastructure, has premiered its Ontology 3 product. The system focuses on user experience by providing user-friendly tools to discover data about the network, users in order to accelerate OSS/BSS deployments.

The company’s chief executive, Benedict Enweani, said that operators can radically cut down on their integration burden by simply using search technology to discover data about

specific customers, equipment, revenue leaks, price plans and other operator functions. “The internet is the largest misaligned data set on the planet and Google search is seen as the way to find what you want,” said Enweani. “We decided to enable operators to find the data they need without integration using just the raw data – don’t integrate, search.” The rewards can be significant. Enweani said that at MBNL, the UK network sharing joint venture between T-Mobile UK, O2 and 3 UK, Ontology systems have been used to fix data misalignments across the RAN consolidation project. “At Global Crossing, in a project to find and release stranded assets, we achieved a return on investment in excess of £2m in less than six months,” added Enweani.

CTI Group’s enterprise analytics technology to integrate into Convergys Smart Suite

Michael Lightfoot: Analytics to provide tangible differentiator

CTI Group, a provider of applications for analytics and reporting, e-billing, interaction recording and quality management, has formed an alliance that will integrate CTI Group’s Analysis 7 (A7) technology into the Convergys’ Smart Suite.

This collaboration will enable Convergys to offer communications and cable or broadband providers serving enterprise clients deeper and richer analytics as part of its Smart Revenue Solution. In the future, CTI Group and Convergys may also provide this rich analytics capability to utility providers, which represent a strategic area of growth for Convergys. The Convergys Smart Revenue Solution, paired with CTI Group’s A7 analytics, can help operators reduce enterprise client churn by providing

trend analysis, call tagging and realtime reporting, as well as alerts to spikes in usage. The Convergys Smart Revenue Solution also offers communications and cable/broadband providers serving multinational enterprise clients with end-to-end, realtime rating, billing, and reporting for the clients’ fixed, mobile, data and video services. Michael Lightfoot, director of business development and strategic alliances for CTI Group, commented: “Businesses across the globe are looking for transparency of usage across real-time billing solutions that will help them to manage and control communications costs. By integrating CTI Group’s A7 solution, Convergys will be able to offer communications and cable or broadband providers serving enterprise clients a richer analytical application with a tangible return on investment. It will also provide Convergys with a differentiator from its competitors when targeting new clients.”

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Pegasystems launches service case management for CSPs

Pegasystems has launched a system to help communications service providers (CSPs) drive down operational costs while simultaneously delivering superior customer service. Pega Service Case Management for Communications is claimed to complement existing service infrastructure to significantly reduce cycle times and costs in connection with a wide variety of complex customer requests. The Pega solution’s dynamic case management capabilities combine with rich integration capabilities that allow CSPs to leverage and extend existing customer service systems. This gives service providers an enhanced ability to manage and more efficiently resolve complex customer service cases across all channels and operational silos, including the back office. Multi-channel support capabilities drive down case handling costs by allowing introduction of new channels, and improve the customer experience by allowing seamless cross-channel interaction and cross-functional coordination. Real-time monitoring and reporting allows continuous improvement of operational efficiency and customer experiences by providing full visibility into business performance. Service providers also gain improved visibility with proven predictive customer insight and adaptive decision support.

MACH brings direct operator billing to German market

MACH has announced that its Direct Billing Gateway has been launched across the four main German mobile networks, enabling direct operator billing for more than 80m mobile subscribers across the country. In what is a first for Germany, the solution will enable in-app payments, opening a brand new revenue stream for app stores and content providers. MACH says mobile subscribers will benefit from being able to buy apps, in-app goods and services through a one-click process, placing the fee for the application on the user’s phone bill.

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Orange Botswana selects Acision Multi-VAS

Tribold signs Telia Sonera, announces new Enterprise Product Management release Tribold has announced the latest release of its Enterprise Product Management (EPM) software. EPM version 5 incorporates new features that address product business Ernest intelligence, change Margitta: management, order Product management capture and benefits now configurable workflow. understood The company claims that US$43bn of products and services are currently managed by Communications Service Providers (CSPs) using its platform. Ernest Margitta, vice president of marketing at the vendors, told VanillaPlus the company has recently signed Telia Sonera as a customer for

the EPM solution. The deployment will initially address the operator’s businesses in Finland, Norway and Denmark and is set to be deployed across the Telia Sonera’s operations eventually. Margitta said EPM will be deployed addressing enterprise products to aid the operator’s ongoing enterprise products transformation programme. Margitta added that operator customers now understand the benefits product management can deliver. “There’s definitely a trend,” he said. “We spent the first few years of Tribold’s existence educating people and customers are more savvy now. They have already decided they want to do it this way and there are only a few people that can do it.”

MTS selects Tellabs for 3G backhaul in Russia MTS, the Russian operator that expects an 86% growth in data traffic in the country by 2015, is to partner with equipment vendor Tellabs and local telecoms provider Intracom Svyaz to upgrade to a next generation ethernet/IP network to handle backhaul traffic growth. MTS has selected Tellabs’ 8600 Managed Edge System to support delivery of 3G mobile data services across Russian and the vendor has now been designated a strategic supplier to the operator. “High-speed wireless networks are vital to our growth strategy,” said Oleg Larionov, director of the transport networks department at MTS Group. “The Tellabs 8600 series offers a proven backhaul solution that cost-effectively delivers network capacity that can

scale for our future needs. We can now meet the challenge of today’s growing traffic whilst providing high quality mobile data services.” Implementation of the Tellabs system will start later this year but, when it comes to 4G, MTS is one of four Russian operators that have agreed to enter a network sharing scheme led by WiMAX operator Yota. Significantly from a network build perspective, the network sharing venture is yet to confirm its vendor selection and, while such sharing schemes mean a smaller market for network equipment vendors, the complexity of the back offices of such arrangements can present integration opportunities for software and managed services providers.

Orange Botswana is deploying Acision Multi-VAS (Value Added Services), so the operator can consolidate a number of its services, including voice, text and multimedia messaging, onto a single platform. This is set to enable Orange Botswana to reduce total cost of ownership (TCO) of its infrastucuture while at the same time driving service innovation and gaining an enhanced level of flexibility in its network. Acision MultiVAS incorporates a broad range of Acision solutions including its SMSC, MMSC, Acision HSP and elements of its real-time charging and active mediation portfolio. In addition, Orange Botswana will also be able to offer various new Person-2-Person, Application-2-Person and Person-2Application messaging services. Isaac Ketlhoafetse, IT Manager Orange Botswana, commented: “As we continue to roll-out new and evolved services, it is imperative that our network architecture has the capability to support this level of development. Acision’s Multi-VAS provides our customers with more integrated and exciting services, further optimising and enhancing the end-user experience.”

Redknee to enable targeted price plans for Mobinil Mobinil has selected Redknee’s real-time pricing analysis solution that is set to enable the operator to offer targeted price plans for its 30 million subscribers. A joint venture between France Telecom and Orascom Telecom, Mobinil is one of the Middle East’s largest operators as well as Egypt’s leading mobile operator.

Mobinil is looking to Redknee’s real-time pricing analysis tool to improve its ability to develop and launch targeted pricing plans, promotions and campaigns. Part of Redknee’s converged billing platform, Price Simulator is an event-driven analysis tool that enables operators to accurately model price elasticity in order to optimize pricing models and to effectively segment markets as well as launch new pricing plans and bundles with optimal forecasting of customer adoption, projected revenue and APRU. Hassan Kabbani, CEO of Mobinil commented: “With our investment in Redknee we are confident that Mobinil’s pricing, marketing and customer care efforts will provide a greater contribution to increasing our customer loyalty, profitability and adoption of new services.”

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Welcome to our regular Jobs column, brought to you by Kineticom, sponsors of People News

Consolidation brings opportunities We continue to see consolidation within the telecoms sector. Activity includes AT&T merging with MediaOne in a US$ 44bn deal, Ericsson acquiring Telcordia for Jason Bandy US$ 1.2 bn and Amdocs acquiring Bridgewater Systems. In addition, Oracle has acquired Fatwire, GTT has bought Packet Exchange, Daisy Telecom has acquired O-Bit, Google has bought PostRank, Dell has acquired RNA Networks and Vislink has purchased Gigawave. Certainly there is plenty of activity. I guess that rightly or wrongly there will be a number of individuals within these organisations who may harbour concerns about their career prospects, so I thought that I would use this column to give you an indication of how the UK job market is fairing and how recruitment companies see things panning out this year. Recruiting and staffing software provider Bullhorn has recently carried out an in depth survey seeking data and insights into UK recruitment agencies' performance, goals and business practices. Some interesting results were revealed: 88% of respondents report that their agencies either met or exceeded 2010 revenue goals; 69% believe their agency's revenue will increase in 2011; The average placement ratio for respondent agencies was 33.2%; 88% report using social media for sales or recruiting efforts in 2010 and; 79% report an increase in social media focus in 2011. In general terms, the outlook is strong. Three out of four respondents plan to add staff to their business in 2011. UK unemployment has fallen to 7.7% and we certainly see signs here at Kineticom UK that the market is indeed buoyant. We are optimistic enough to expand our own workforce by 50% this year. It would seem to me that the job market is definitely on the up, partly driven by an increased number of people changing roles – as opposed to new roles being created. There are some good signs for those considering a job move and I hope that people will be encouraged to review their current career set up and explore what other options exist. If you would like to learn more about the ways in which Kineticom might be able to help you to find a new position, or if you are looking to add people to your team, please do not hesitate to contact me. Jason Bandy, Director, Kineticom Ltd. Jason.Bandy@kineticom.co.uk Tel: +44 (0)845 370 2900 Mobile: +44 (0)7500 013084 www.kineticom.co.uk

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Syniverse promotes Jeff Gordon to president and CEO Syniverse, COO, Jeff Gordon has been promoted to the role of president and chief executive. Gordon joined Syniverse in 2008 and currently leads the company’s global technology operations, product realization and research and development activities. Prior to joining Syniverse, Gordon held numerous senior-level positions in the Jeff technology industry with Convergys, Bell Gordon Atlantic and IBM, and has co-authored numerous patents relating to systems architecture and wireless communications. Tony Holcombe, formerly president and chief executive of Syniverse, is to become vice chairman of the company’s board and continue to be engaged with its business and customers. “I am very pleased that Jeff will assume the chief leadership role in guiding the future of Syniverse. Jeff’s foresight and technology vision will continue to enable our customers to make mobile work around the world,” said Holcombe, who joined Syniverse’s Board of Directors in 2003 and was appointed president and CEO in 2006. Holcombe defined a strategic vision for the company that transformed Syniverse from a North American roaming and clearing house provider to a leading global provider of technology and business services to the mobile industry. He has had an uninterrupted 40-year career in the technology sector.

Jukka Tiitu joins HP from Nokia Jukka Tiitu has joined HP as vice president of HP webOS and carrier markets for EMEA. The appointment underlines HP’s commitment to build the webOS ecosystem and increase market penetration across Europe and the Middle East. Tiitu will be responsible for all activities associated with HP’s webOS portfolio, including the operating system, smartphones and slates, and have accountability for EMEA carrier channels. As vice president of webOS and carrier markets, he will lead efforts to drive webOS penetration across all routes to market, including category management, demand generation, sales support, product management and marketing. Tiitu joins HP from Nokia, where he oversaw the company’s mobile phone, smartphone and service business in Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg for both businesses and consumers. Previously, Tiitu held a series of sales leadership and management positions within Nokia and Semi-Tech Finland.

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MetraTech expands leadership team with three key appointments

Brian Mort joins Actuate to lead international operations

MetraTech has appointed Larry Dennison chief architecture officer. Dennison will take responsibility for both product management and software architecture in his new role. He brings expertise in distributed systems, networking and OSS as he developed and deployed products in some of the largest and most demanding customer networks in the world. As a division scientist at internet and parallel computing systems pioneer BBN Technologies, Larry began building massively parallel distributed systems including the BBN Butterfly parallel computer. After BBN, he co-founded Avici Systems as chief architect and CTO to tackle the challenges of scalable core routing using distributed architecture designs based on his PhD thesis from MIT.

Business intelligence vendor Actuate has appointed Brian Mort as its new vice president of international operations. Based at the company’s London office and reporting to Actuate’s CEO, Pete Cittadini, Mort will be responsible for growth of licence sales, support, and services into existing and Brian new customers across EMEA, APAC and Mort Latin America. Mort joins Actuate from JDA Software, where he was regional vice president for EMEA. He brings a wealth of experience of business-critical software applications to the company, from a career spanning 30 years, which has included senior leadership roles at Ingres, Business Objects, Deloitte Consulting, SAP and Oracle, and has involved delivering multi-million pound sales of software licences and services.

Taking up the role of vice president, sales, Americas is industry veteran and widely recognised expert in the global billing and Business Support Systems (BSS) market, Barbara Lancaster. In her new role, Lancaster will apply her extensive sales management experience to driving new account acquisition and Barbara revenue growth for MetraTech. Prior to Lancaster joining MetraTech, Barbara was president of LTC International, a company providing specialist consulting and advisory services to service providers, the investment community and suppliers of hardware and software to the information and communications industries. She also served on VanillaPlus’ editorial advisory board for several years. Susan Vincent who was previously director, major accounts at MetraTech, moves into the newly created position of vice president, customer operations. Vincent brings over 20 years of customer-facing experience to this role, in which she will be responsible for managing all aspects of customer care, training, billing operations and customer care at MetraTech. Previously, she served as director of professional services at Softrax, where she was responsible for all facets of the service delivery process, creating new implementation strategies to improve service delivery and achieve better customer communications.

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Sanjeev Aga joins Subex board

Sanjeev Aga

Subex has appointed Sanjeev Aga as an independent director on its board. Aga’s career has spanned 38 years encompassing sectors such as consumer, services, entertainment, light engineering and telecommunications. He is the former managing director of Idea Cellular.

Commenting on his appointment, Aga said, “Subex, over recent years, has marked itself out as a company to watch. With its unique suite of product and service offerings, the coming years hold even bigger promise for Subex. It is my privilege to associate with Subex and its team.” Aga is an Honours graduate in Physics from St. Stephen’s College, Delhi and a post graduate from the Indian Institute of Management, Kolkata (1973). He is based in Mumbai, and now engages in advisory and consultant roles for corporates and not-for-profit organisations.

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VanillaPlus Hot List: JUNE/JULY 2011 The Hot List below shows the companies informing us of recent contract wins or product deployments. If your contract is not listed here email the details to us now marked "Hot List" <editorial@vanillaplus.com> Vendor(s)

Client, Country

Product / Service (Duration & Value)

Deployed

Acision

Orange Botswana, Botswana

Acision Multi-VAS

6.11

Acision

WIND Mobile, Canada

Messaging & reporting solutions

6.11

Aircom

Etisalat, Afghanistan

Network performance reporting

6.11

Amdocs

Telenor Serbia, Serbia

Inventory & planning solutions

6.11

Arantech

Starhub, Singapore

Customer Experience Management

6.11

Ciena

Comcast, USA

Service delivery platforms

6.11

Clarity

PT Telkom, Indonesia

Fulfilment & assurance

6.11

Clarity

PLDT, The Philippines

Next-generation OSS

5.11

Comarch

MTS, Russia

Service assurance & service inventory

6.11

Comverse

LIME, Caribbean region

Billing & customer management

5.11

Convergys

WildBlue Communications, USA

Rating & billing

4.11

JDSU

TDC, Denmark

LTE test & measurement

5.11

MACH

Four main operators, Germany

Direct billing gateway

6.11

Metaswitch

Chunghwa Telecom Labs, Taiwan

Service broker

6.11

Motive

BT, UK

Service View Solutions Suite

5.11

Netcracker

Celcom, Malaysia

Mobile infrastructure management

5.11

Netcracker

Swisscom, Switzerland

Service fulfilment

5.11

Openwave

du, UAE

Smart Policy

5.11

Oracle

LG U+, South Korea

Unified inventory management

5.11

Oracle

Korea Telecom, South Korea

Billing, OSS, service delivery platform

4.11

Redknee

Mobinil, Egypt

Real-time pricing analysis

6.11

Redknee

i-wireless, USA

Converged billing platform

5.11

Tektronix

Pelephone, Israel

3G monitoring & optimisation

5.11

Tellabs

MTS, Russia

Managed edge system

6.11

VOSS

Lattelecom, Latvia

Unified Communications & Collaboration platform

5.11

NEWS IN BRIEF

VanillaPlus welcomes John Rainger to Editorial Advisory Board In the first of a series of new appointments to the VanillaPlus Editorial Advisory Board to be announced in the coming months, John Rainger, vice president EMEA of CSG International has agreed to join the Board.

John Rainger brings 20 years of telecoms software experience to the VanillaPlus Editorial Advisory Board

Rainger has massive experience to bring to the board having worked in the telecoms software and solutions sector for approximately 20 years. That telecoms software experience began during the latter part of a 15-year tenure at HP as the company focused on creating sector specific hardware, software and services offerings. The peak of his career at HP came when he was appointed to lead the company’s EMEA telecoms vertical sector.

After HP, Rainger spent eight years at Kenan Systems, running EMEA initially, then moving to the US as vice president of operations for the software unit at Lucent Technologies, following the equipment giant’s acquisition of Kenan in 1999. Later, Rainger moved to become CEO of Openet in Dublin for almost five years, and returned to the UK to become CEO of Tribold, the vendor of product lifecycle management and product catalogue solutions. Rainger is now at CSG International, running its EMEA business. “I’m delighted to welcome someone with the breadth of experience that John has assembled in the industry,” said VanillaPlus editor, George Malim. “Having someone who has worked at companies large and small, in broad markets and in highly specific niches, and who has led large organisations will add an extra dimension to our already impressive board. I look forward to making further additions imminently.” Sponsored by:

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Policy sophistication unifies network and IT domains, enables CSPs to differentiate and create value David Sharpley is senior vice president of marketing, product management and channels for Bridgewater Systems, the provider of intelligent broadband controls for mobile and converged operators. With policy management now at the forefront of communications service providers’ (CSPs) agendas as they seek to monetise smartphone traffic and make the best use of their network investments, Sharpley shares his views on the rapid development of the policy market with VanillaPlus. VanillaPlus: Why is policy so topical today?

operator’s network and how is this evolving?

David Sharpley: It’s common knowledge that there’s a big gap between the growth of mobile data and the cost of delivering it. I call that the Martini glass: Operating costs are going up, but corresponding revenues aren’t matching. The scale of the challenge CSPs face is immense and worsening. I was at a golf tournament last night and they were giving away five tablets. Those devices will drive bandwidth consumption at a rate of 120+ times that of a standard feature phone, and the uptake of these devices is immense. People are moving to using multiple devices as a consequence and, just because you’re using your tablet, it doesn’t mean you’re not using your smartphone or your laptop as well, so there’s an obvious upswing in bandwidth consumption.

DS: While it has been talked about for almost a decade, it is only recently that we’ve seen tremendous interest in policy control. The initial demand centres around helping to manage network-oriented use cases such as fair usage or managing peer-to-peer. Now, we are seeing a proliferation of use cases to help CSPs differentiate their offerings and assist in network congestion. Generally, policy is moving outside the traditional network domain as it is fast becoming recognised as a key enabling technology for innovation around dynamic services, new service models, as well as new business models such as for M2M – with strong interest from IT and marketing stakeholders within service provider organisations. Policy will become the much-needed bridge between network and IT domains to manage and ensure a superior customer experience.

CSPs are desperately looking to ‘mind the gap’ between the cost of delivery and the growth of consumption by trying to differentiate themselves in the market with offerings such as a social media plan or unique tiered services.

DS: We’re seeing the increased complexity of policy use cases and how it can be applied and integrated to the IT side of the business to create differentiation. How policy relates to

VP: What is the role of policy control in the

VP: How does policy fit into the IT domain?

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“There is strong charging has now become very important and interest in a lot of different types of tiered services. A daypass for roaming users is a good example”

can have an enormous impact. For example, if you subscribe to a certain package, as a CSP, I may decide to offer you a happy hour that doesn’t count as part of that package. That happy hour might be at a time when my network is not heavily used so I can make my customer feel good while the network is only burdened at an off-peak time. You can do very specific things that are IT systems oriented and require interaction with revenue management and CRM systems. There are also multiple points of interaction from a policy control perspective. You interact directly to elements in the data plane to enforce subscriber policies, while on the northbound side interface with systems such as provisioning, charging and various types of notification frameworks to allow subscriber interaction. VP: What are the primary use cases you are seeing? DS: There is strong interest in a lot of different types of tiered services. A daypass for roaming users is a good example. Another is a turbo button by which a user can get an enhanced service while downloading a video. The proposition is simple: For an extra dollar we’ll give you extra speed for a limited period. The whole notion is to move away from pure flat rate and increase ARPU on a per subscriber basis. Anything that requires metering has a policy use case where there’s an aggregate of time, volume and application type. That enables CSPs to offer 2GB of video or unlimited Twitter as an offer to their users. Those are complex propositions, metered on three axes but they give operators the flexibility to make relevant, timely offers and control usage so an excess user may get downspeeded. VP: Bridgewater offers more than just policy control – what is the role of policy within your broader pre-integrated intelligent broadband controls portfolio?

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which helps managing network access using static policies to control which devices and users get access to the network. For example, a smartphone accessing the network has a different profile or policy on attachment than an M2M connection for a machine. The latency profiles might be different, the throughput levels might be different and the time they consume might be different, so that needs to be based on policy applied at the point of attachment to the network. Our PCRF is dynamic in nature and controls things in real time. Underlying that service control and policy control is the subscriber data management framework. CSPs require a flexible and carrier-grade subscriber profile repository to assist them to manage subscribers, devices and their respective profiles. This framework allows them to do this effectively and across different services and networks. VP: Why are intelligent broadband controls, including policy, central to the subscriber’s data experience? DS: If you look at the customer experience and take an example of what it means in a typical ‘day in the life’ scenario, I’d give the example of a user buying a new smartphone. A profile may be created online or through a call centre or CRM interaction – that’s one of the first policy interactions. Then real-time activation needs to transfer into policy management to implement policies attached to that subscriber profile. Another example is the need to be transparent to the user. If a user enters a branch of Café Nero and gets offloaded onto the Café’s Wi-Fi network, they need to be seamlessly reauthenticated onto that network. Another scenario would be for a roaming traveller who leaves London and flies to Paris. On arrival, they are prompted to buy a roaming day pass for €10 that allows them unlimited roaming for the day. We’re entering a different monetisation package now. Later the same day, the user decides to download a movie and takes a turbo boost package to

DS: We’re also a leader in service control

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boost bandwidth for the duration of the download. Extending the scenarios further, the user may be waiting for a train at a time of congestion like 9am and the host CSP, realising that the network is congested, might downspeed the roaming subscriber because they are not on their operatorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s home network. In each of these interactions, all of those tie back to the value of the pre-integrated intelligent broadband controls platform that Bridgewater uniquely has. VP: What are some of the key buying criteria for CSPs? How do you see demand developing? DS: There are several criteria. Some CSPs are looking for solutions that they can quickly deploy in the network that can provide them with a high level of preintegration with charging and interoperability into the network, as well as other systems such as notification and provisioning. As part of that, operators all have multivendor networks so the multi-vendor nature of how we can deploy is very attractive. Multi-vendor IOT (interoperability testing) is a big plus for Bridgewater while other vendors are focused on their own end to end offers. A third criterion is performance and scalability. These are absolutely critical. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve continued to invest in performance testing and scalability testing, which we have done with Cisco Systems and IBM. The notion of what can be done to enable CSPs to differentiate their offerings around innovative use cases merits continued exploration. At Bridgewater we have created a use-case cookbook to do just that. It explores new use cases and different variants to drive real value for operators. Value creation for operators is ultimately at the core of our systems. This interview took place before the announcement that Amdocs is set to acquire Bridgewater Systems. See news story p.4 for the details.

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EXPERT OPINION:

A high-flying journey of business transformation The convergence of technological advances, consumer demand and changing market conditions in any industry usually results in challenges. Robert Morrison argues that the challenges CSPs face aren’t so different to those in other sectors.

The author, Robert Morrison, is senior product manager at CSG International

The global airline industry is an example of an industry experiencing massive growth that is highly reliant on efficient support systems. According to the IATA, the International Air Transport Association, passenger numbers grew by more than 55% in the last ten years, whilst the average revenue per passenger grew by a more pedestrian 21%. Like air travel, market adoption of mobile data has taken off – consumers can’t seem to get enough of digital content, anywhere and at any time, and service providers are struggling to keep up with managing the increasing volumes. With data traffic forecasted to increase 26-fold between 2010 and 2015, this problem will only worsen. Communications Service Providers’ (CSPs) issues with usage record management have far-reaching impacts: increased exposure to fraud, revenue leakage and challenges in providing consumers with accurate and up-to-theminute views of their own activity. Like airlines, CSPs have competing and seemingly contradictory support systems requirements as they struggle to keep pace: they need to improve revenue while minimising costs. CSPs’ quest to grow revenue has generated a cycle of investment in real-time charging and policy solutions. On the other hand, the need to lower costs is forcing a review of installed systems that manage end-to-end data record processing, and in turn an assessment of current mediation capabilities for charging data.

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Next stop: LTE All industries react to inflection points in demand with a wave of technological investment. The airline industry has developed new, larger and more energy efficient planes, or SuperJumbos, to reduce the cost per passenger carried. CSPs are looking to new, high-speed Long Term Evolution (LTE) networks to deliver increased data capacity at lower costs. And, as more capacity becomes available, consumers and suppliers of content will rush to fill it. Volume shock will become a greater risk: one of CSG International’s customers estimates that event volumes will double in the five years post-LTE launch. Revenue per unit will not double even in the most optimistic forecasts, so CSPs must ensure that the per-unit cost of processing each transaction is not only controlled but reduced. Becoming a low-cost airline Some of the most innovative airlines have changed their business model through an intense scrutiny of fixed and variable costs such as those associated with fuel, ticketing and cabin configuration. CSPs, like their airline counterparts, must evaluate three primary aspects of the total cost of mediation: application software fees, platform

Volume shock impacts revenue assurance Unforeseen events can have devastating impacts on profitability: a 2008 spike in fuel costs of 40% resulted in an estimated US$ 16bn loss for the world’s airline industry. While IT expenses are usually more

predictable than the cost of oil, CSPs should not underestimate the impact that increased traffic has on data mediation. The mediation system is a fundamental cornerstone for revenue assurance, and it is imperative that mediation is able to handle rapidly growing traffic loads in a cost-effective, accurate and timely manner. If mediation cannot keep pace, increasing data loads will result in “volume shock” – measurable bottlenecks in the first, critical step to reliably managing a CSP’s revenue stream.


expenditures and staffing costs. Each of these costs is driven by different aspects of the CSP’s mediation system design. First, software and support costs are governed by vendor pricing policies; some vendors charge additional license fees for every new network interface. Today’s SuperJumbo mediation systems are flexible enough to accommodate evolving networks in a cost-effective manner. Next, platform costs are based upon the cost of servers, storage, database licenses, power, uninterruptable power supply, air conditioning and rack space. Here, the largest factor determining total cost of ownership is application performance. SuperJumbo mediation systems minimise the hardware system resources needed to process growing event volumes in the same time window, reducing the numbers of servers, processors, memory, rack space, power consumption, cooling costs and consequently carbon emissions. Finally, staffing costs are driven by system ease-of-use, both for daily operation and ongoing business evolution. While certain mediation systems require specialised database analytics support to maintain and tune the system, SuperJumbo applications have fewer platform dependencies and can be deployed on commodity hardware, which reduces the burden on hardware specialists and administrators. Out with the checked baggage fees The combination of data traffic growth and the corresponding growth of usage records, coupled with efficient and low-cost mediation capabilities, makes it possible for the CSP to charge and bill at a very granular level for data consumption. This is the route that the airlines have taken in recent years, decoupling from the basic ticket price those charges for the privilege of booking with an agent, checking

bags, having peanuts or even the use of a pillow. CSPs are advised to avoid the customer service pitfalls that come with this approach. Modern offline charging capabilities are a mandatory component of a mediation system to assemble charging records representing a service that the customer values.

Many CSPs are

An on-time departure Just as the airlines seek SuperJumbo alternatives to older and less efficient aircraft, CSPs are discovering that incumbent mediation systems cannot handle their forecasted data growth. Many CSPs are replacing legacy systems with SuperJumbo mediation systems that revolutionise the economics of supporting rising data volumes, and tomorrow’s Offline Charging requirements for all IP networks.

the economics of

replacing legacy systems with SuperJumbo mediation systems that revolutionise supporting rising data volumes

CSPs considering SuperJumbo mediation partners should ask: • What data and IP volumes are the provider’s largest mediation implementations supporting? What are the platform costs for these deployments in terms of hardware, third party products and energy? • What experience does the provider have with next generation network equipment for IP services? In mobile, what experience do they have supporting LTE in a production environment? • How many implementations support high volumes with a distributed architecture for horizontal scalability? What experience does the provider have taking advantage of commodity? Although the wide deployment of LTE services is not expected for some time, volume shock is already here. An investment now in a SuperJumbo mediation system will ensure cost effective capacity for consumer demand of the future. Safe travels!

TOTAL SERVICE MEDIATION LOWERS TCO CSG International’s Total Service Mediation has been proven to reduce mediation costs for high volume data services. For operators with mediation systems reaching capacity because of data growth, CSG International offers a complete offline charging solution, with low total cost of ownership. In reference deployments CSG International customers have lowered total mediation costs by a factor of ten.

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What does the future hold for mediation? As more and more systems hand off to each other the traditional mediation task has become vastly more complex. Mark Dye explores how mediation is changing to cope. Mediation systems have traditionally been the glue that allows telecoms data to be managed and manageable, but their strategic importance wavers with changes in technology and macroeconomic patterns. Telecoms 3.0, the internetinfluenced incarnation, is a much harder proposition to mediate.

Akil Chomoko: Customers want instant gratification

“Customers want service personalisation,” says Akil Chomoko, Volubill’s product marketing director. They want instant gratification and bills that don’t shock them. Traditional mediation doesn’t offer this, he says. So most operators are moving to more active mediation and service management solutions. They need real-time charging systems and policy management that harmonises a subscriber’s activity with both the network and their service plan. But can mediation systems evolve to meet this challenge? Developing mobile economies are growing 20% a year and in some cases client volumes are predicted to rise by 49% this year with an expected two billion events per day.

Robert Morrison: Mediation challenges causing volume shock

The massive surge in both subscribers numbers and the volumes of mobile data they create have put an obvious strain on mediation systems. Given that operators are increasingly diversifying and creating ever more sophisticated and complex policies, the challenge for mediation systems are immense, says Robert Morrison, senior product manager at mediation service provider CSG International. Business Support System (BSS) managers must deliver new services and revenues while cutting costs, but their job is complicated by the massive growth of tablets, iPhones and other smart devices. While users are browsing and updating their apps, they are creating mediation challenges that the legacy systems can’t cope with.

Christopher Hoover: Bundling and wholesale opportunities created

“This is causing a volume shock for BSS systems and critical business functions,” says Morrison. Operators say that the processing of data records is taking too long, which threatens their potential revenue streams. Their anti fraud and usage monitoring systems aren’t getting data quick enough. This exposes them to credit risks and delays the revenue assurance chain so that, say, postpaid bill runs become unacceptably long.

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For example, they are working to adapt mediation to cater for offline charging for LTE services. In order to support the LTE radio infrastructure a new core network must be deployed. The Evolved Packet Core (EPC), which uses IP from end-to-end, creates a new touch point for BSS into the network, so services delivered over new LTE networks create a number of specific challenges for mediation. “It must support the offline requirements for next generation charging,” says Morrison.

Session-based charging

It’s not just techies that will appreciate the massive challenges involved in processes such as collecting event and session based charging data, constructing charging data records and reformatting them for new specifications. “One mobile operator estimated that event volumes would double between 2010 and 2014, due to the commercial launch of LTE,” says Morrison. Morrisson says operators are increasingly using Online Mediation to make the transition to realtime architectures. So, for example, legacy postpaid or prepaid systems are tailored to perform functions like postpaid credit checks. “Many operators are choosing online mediation to shield BSS functions from network evolutions,” says Morrisson. So now mediation is a means of cutting the impact of network changes and enabling faster service deployments. But is that what the systems were designed for? That is all part of the trend of continuing development of mediation systems, says telecoms analyst Hugh Roberts at Logan Orviss. Mediation will always be the glue that allows telecoms data to be managed and manageable, but its strategic importance wavers with changes in technology and macro-economic patterns, says Roberts. New trends will affect mediation. For example, Net neutrality legislation has changed across the globe, so quick fixes in policy management, that

Meanwhile, the evolution of networks continues apace. LTE would create enough challenges on its own, but the merging of fixed line businesses

with mobile affiliates creates even more work for the mediation developers. A new breed of mediation system vendors such as CSG International, Volubill and Openet are embracing the new challenges.


might have been accomplished through mediation, may no longer suffice. Meanwhile user packages have changed. The all-youcan-eat billing strategy has been discredited, and these days usage-based charging is back in fashion. In addition, operators need a strategy or two for offloading traffic, as their networks become, literally, stuffed.

“While users are browsing and updating their apps, they are creating mediation challenges that the legacy systems can’t cope with”

There is one trend that could be bad news for mediation system vendors. KPN's plan for differential internet service charging couldn’t have come at a worse time for mediation system vendors. It effectively puts the Dutch communications environment on a completely different path to its French neighbour, making mediation across these entities far more complex. As complexity grows, so too does the importance and scope of the role played by mediation, says Christopher Hoover, Openet’s vice president of product management. As you’d expect of a raft of new business models, some will fail. These new business models are a work in progress and they will be fine tuned and customised in real time, in reaction to subscriber context. This can only be achieved if good quality data is gathered, so that its context is understood and fed into the business logic engine. Hoover says operators shouldn’t just revamp their infrastructure but their business processes too. They must rethink their entire portfolio of products, as well as policy since this affects resource consumption, charging, which generates revenue based on that consumption, and profile, which maintains a context for policy and charging. Applications will play an important role in enabling this, he argues. When subscribers access a network from an application, as opposed to a browser, they enjoy significant flexibility advantages. This allows the operators to pitch bundles of apps at various target markets. A Twitter and Facebook "social network" bundle might be offered to teens, for example. “Since apps can be sold with data connectivity charges included, this creates new wholesale opportunities,” says Hoover. All the elements are coming together to change the market and create new challenges, says Intec’s Morrison. “We are heading for exciting times. Just as the incumbent systems are struggling with today’s operating environments a new wave of innovation is needed to cope with future drivers,” he says.

“As complexity grows, so too does the importance and scope of the role played by mediation”

There’s always some unexpected driver – an unexpected trend that nobody envisaged – which tempts subscribers into greater network usage. Nobody knows what the next ‘internet phenomenon’ will be, but whatever it is, the service providers will need to react quickly to take full advantage of it. VANILLAPLUS JUNE/JULY 2011

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O2 UK achieves performance aims in central London with Arieso David Owens, network performance manager at O2 UK tells George Malim about his project to optimise the operator’s central London network. In November 2007 Telefόnica O2 UK became the first operator to bring the iPhone to the UK and following the launch of the iPhone 3G in June Average download speed by operator 3.5 3.0

Mbit’s

2.5 2.0 1.5 1.0 0.5 0.0 3

Source: Epitro measurement data for all dedicated probes between 22 September and 19 December 2010

O2

Orange

T-Mobile

Vodafone

2008, data growth really started to take off for 02. However, by the middle of 2009 02 recognised that the growth in mobile data consumption stimulated by smartphones would necessitate a radical rethink of its network capacity in central London. “In 2009, the growth levels were astronomic, doubling every few months,” explains Owens. “Four or five areas were starting to get very hot and if we didn’t act fast, we’d be in trouble. The growth was so fast, in fact, it would be difficult for us to use traditional methods to acquire our way out of trouble, and we needed a new approach." O2 therefore began a project to optimise its network in central London. “While smartphones have certainly changed the way people communicate, they have changed our lives in O2 forever,” adds Owens. “We had to reinvent our KPIs because different applications drive different interactions with the network. The traditional acquisition of sites takes an average of 11 months nationwide but in central London the process can take up to five years so acquiring ways out of the challenge was too slow.” A programme of optimisation and upgrade was the answer to meeting the operator’s data capacity shortfall. The programme would

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include; the upgrading of kit in central London, increasing the number of sectors from three to six on existing sites and large number of micro cells. However, the level of detail required was extremely fine because the nature of microcells means they are extremely sensitive to locate correctly. “If you don’t place a microcell exactly where the traffic is it actually removes capacity from the [macrocell] network,” says Owens. “After identifying the obvious traffic hotspots through local knowledge, the tricky situations like a group of 30 or 40 mobile users in an office on the third floor had to be addressed and, in terms of the accuracy, cells need to be sited to within 50 metres, otherwise we end up reducing the capacity of the network.” Owens selected network optimisation specialists Arieso for the project because it could deliver that granularity of data. “The scale of the project for the optimisation teams was quite enormous,” adds Owens. “The initial phase was around the [railway stations] and upwards of 250 microcells were in the plan in order to deliver the 300% improvement in capacity we required.” For Arieso chief executive, Shirin Dehghan, the project, in one of the most complex radio environments in the world, provided an excellent means of demonstrating the company’s solution. “This technology is disruptive in the way we look at how a network is performing,” she says. “The granularity is at a building level and that enables an operator to prioritise. From the data we collected we saw massive hotspots [of activity] outside underground railways stations and that enabled us to identify if the network was optimised.” For Owens, the project wasn’t entirely about generating a return on the investment. “For O2 it wasn’t just about ROI,” he adds. “Of course that’s important but the main driver was to get the customer experience to the highest possible level. One of the great examples of the success of the Arieso solution was the identification of key buildings that had O2 customers in and used large amounts of data but had a poor level of received signal.”


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P R O F I T A B I L I T Y

EXPERT OPINION:

CSPs must learn to balance CEM and profitability Communication Service Providers focus too much on their own financial performance but customers don’t care about that. Instead, they should balance their need for profitability with ensuring their customers’ have good experiences, writes Anandan Jayaraman. The axiom “Companies are from Venus and customers are from Mars” could find no better fit than in the telecoms industry. Carriers are so obsessed with their own short-term financial metrics – EBITDA, revenue and subscriber growth for the current quarter – that they often lose sight of the big picture and the need to create a consistently superior experience relative to customer expectations of their brand. Customers do not care about the provider’s topline or EBITDA. They expect a high quality network, service and billing integrity, effective multi-channel customer service, availability of new devices, attractive and simple tariffs and their provider to be easy to do business with. The relative priority of these may vary by market but catering to these expectations in aggregate is critical to delivering a compelling customer experience. Customer experience is like Karma – you reap what you sow. Unhappy customers are known to be ten times more vocal about their negative experiences and have a disproportionate impact on churn and acquisition; happy customers are stickier, spend more and proven to have a tangible impact on creating shareholder value. So, how does one balance this universal truth with carriers’ poor track record? Is excessive focus on customer experience really orthogonal to the broader goal on delivering on financial objectives? What are the trade-offs and where is the convergence? Let us focus on four sample dimensions of the customer experience conundrum to illuminate some key issues at stake. 1. AHT vs. Quality of Relationship: Reducing average call handling time (AHT) can be seen as increasing productivity but it is also time lost in connecting with the customer, building relationships and offering new products and services. In today’s environment where contact centers are morphing into revenue and profit centers, agents need to be measured on call satisfaction based on real time customer feedback. While lower call handling times can reduce costs, higher quality of interactions leads

to lower churn, increased up-sell and cross-sell and long-term value creation. 2. Differentiated Experience vs. Treating All Customers the Same: Not all subscribers are the same and resource allocation needs to be prioritised based on treating your best customers right. Aspects of the customer experience, such as call wait time, personalised service and special kiosks, may need to vary significantly based on customer segment and context. Delighting all customers is an idealistic but not a pragmatic goal. 3. Know your Brand Promise vs. Mimicking Competition: Is your differentiation based on price, customer intimacy or innovation? What mix of attributes define your brand? Your investments need to be targeted towards those parameters that define and deliver your brand promise. For example, Zappos, the successful online shoe store, has no limits on call times and some sessions resemble protracted talk therapy. However, it is money well spent in line with the core Zappos promise of “We are a service company that happens to sell”. 4. Social Media vs. Traditional Outreach: Increasingly, customer attention and time is being spent on social media like Facebook, twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn and their world revolves around their social networks. Gen Y and Z professionals expect their vendors to be like them, on social media, actively listening to conversations and being responsive in real time. Serving these customers effectively and meeting the next generation expectations of customer experience needs a different mindset and approach. Do you have what it takes to capture the hearts and minds of this young generation?

The author, Anandan Jayaraman, is chief product and strategy officer at Connectiva Systems

Customer experience is like Karma – you reap what you sow

As the examples illustrate, balancing Customer Experience Management (CEM) with profitability requires out-of-the box thinking, clarity of thought on the USP and brand promise, knowing which of your customers make you the most money and finally being in tune with changing expectations of CEM. This is the zone where strategy, marketing, finance and operations intersect and providers need to learn to perform this high wire balancing act every day with purpose. VANILLAPLUS JUNE/JULY 2011

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CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE MANAGEMENT

CSPs don’t need to be the best, just better when it comes to CEM When discussing CEM it's easy to bury the meaning of the acronym under the joyous gloss of the buzzword, but managing customer experience isn't just a technical problem, it's a challenge to business structure, says Jonny Evans. Today, customers could be happier. Recent data from research firm Telesperience reveals 90% of customers feel their mobile service provider doesn't really understand them. It suggests customer attraction and retention in the longterm demands communications service providers (CSPs) make an effort across the duration of the relationship, not just when it comes to contract renewal. Sanjay Kumar: Customer retention beats acquisition

What do they want? In broad strokes, customers want more personalised and flexible payment plans, good quality services and good network coverage. They want clarity and understandable and flexible plans. They want a quality called fairness.

There are 8,903,546 possible price plan combinations for prepaid customers in the UK alone, and millions more for pre-paid – but the complexity of these plans fosters customer disenchantment, Telesperience believes. In a saturated mobile market, good business is good customer retention. "It is demonstrably more cost-effective to retain existing customers than to attempt to win new ones from competitors," says Sanjay Kumar, vice president of communications and media at Progress Software. Good customer service is about balancing service provision cost with customer expectation. Oracle's Gordon Rawling puts it: "What are the expectations and how do these align with the ability to deliver a fair return on the investment of delivering those services?"

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Teresa Cottam, research and publications director at Telesperience explains: "Delighting customers is great, but at the end of the day we're businesses


not charities and we need to make a profit. The purpose of a good customer experience is ultimately to avoid cost of churn, the cost of complaints." This is where CEM solutions should help. Technically, these should help CSPs determine which plans suit which customers, who is suffering technical failures and more. This isn't just a technology challenge. Internal barriers between departments need to be removed.

Carroll thinks exposing OSS data is a critical enabler of that. “Operators have been using OSS data to improve network performance and resolve issues as quickly as possible, but there has been less focus on exploiting those same statistics to improve marketing initiatives,” he says. “Typically this valuable data is left in OSS silos without being routinely, or automatically, passed through to the BSS side," Carroll observes.

The marketing department might capture great customer data, but it can take months before this is shared effectively, by which time it is outdated. “Once operators have reconciled the data with both the network OSS and the customer facing BSS side of the business, they will be in a position to monetise this information. This is where CEM becomes critical to the operator,” says Arantech CEO, Brian Carroll.

Singapore's StarHub recently installed Arantech's CEM system because it would deliver data which would be accessible to multiple departments within the organisation from the network engineers to the customer service teams. The notion is that StarHub will be able to access and act upon immediate information to improve its services. Problems with dropped calls or badly configured handsets should be more easily addressed by making the data available across the firm.

For Kumar: “There is growing pressure mounting on service providers to manage and grow the revenue from their customer base. For this reason alone, using some form of CEM solution for a more granular insight into customer activity is becoming increasingly important moving forward."

Drew Rockwell, CEO of MDS, adds: "Business analytics used across business processes can provide the necessary transparency and measurement framework from which service levels cannot only be aligned with customer segments, but then measured in order to drive business Key Performance Indicator transparency."

The answer isn't only technology, Rawling explains. "We’re over-simplifying it if we say we can just buy a product and all of a sudden you’ve achieved customer experience management."

Carroll sees CEM drawing on and communicating with both the OSS and BSS. "CEM sits between OSS and BSS communicating and connecting both sides of the business, sharing common processes and delivering the benefits of shared data," he notes.

Cottam adds that: "It's not just about customer service, it's about the totality that creates your experience.” Network quality, appropriate, accurate and easy-to-understand tariffs and billing, handsets, individual user expectations and personalisation – all these things matter. "The final part is are you delivering a profitable customer experience?" Cottam warns. "It is possible to fix problems and delight customers by just chucking stuff at them, so you must understand if what you decide to do is profitable."

Provision of new services from the existing infrastructure and recognition of new services of interest to existing customers are part of the challenge. But change must be appropriate, wellmanaged and carefully initiated. "This is a large moving machine, and you have to think carefully about how you change," says Rawling. "There’s no point if your network goes down and you have no services because you were trying to be clever in the way you changed something."

Guy Hilton:CSPs don’t need to be the best

Drew Rockwell: Business analytics play key role

Brian Carroll: CEM sits between OSS and BSS

In the end, better may be better than best. "Service providers don't need to be the best," says Guy Hilton, product marketing manager at Amdocs. "They only need to be better than their competitors. The best is somehow problematic – it resembles an impossible standard that lacks credibility. Better is a realistic claim and a much easier comparison to make."

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I N T E R V I E W

Qtel targets top 20 with Convergys upgrade Qtel recently upgraded its Convergys IRB system to Convergys RBM5. Here the operator’s Abdul Majeed Alsheeb and Ahmad Abdel Rahman Hamad explain to George Malim their rationale behind continuing their long term relationship with Convergys. Qtel the Qatari national operator has upgraded its Convergys billing and charging solution which is delivered by Convergys as a managed service. The upgrade which encompasses order management and CRM in addition to billing and charging will enable the operator to provide a range of converged services and bundles. It sees Qtel upgrade from the Convergys IRB product to Convergys RBM5. “Qtel [in Qatar] is one the operators under Qtel International and the vision we have now is to be in the top 20 operators in the world by 2020,” says Abdul Majeed Alsheeb, assistant director of charging platform at Qtel. “The vision is to deliver world class telecom services to customers in Qatar and billing and charging are one of the most critical aspects.” Ahmad Abdel Rahman Hamad, manager business support systems in Qtel’s IT Division, adds: “We have experience working with Convergys since 2002 and have had good performance from their side in delivery of products on time. At the same time, we were not happy with systems integrators who were dealing

Images courtesy of The Qatari Embassy in Washington DC.

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with the project from the CRM side so having a single design authority across both products reduces time to market. Time to market, cost and quality are the three most important things to us. For us, customer satisfaction is key.” Majeed Alsheeb commented that Qtel was not concerned about engaging Convergys to provide multiple back office functionality as a managed service. “If you look at putting all your eggs in the same basket it is risky,” he says. “But with the experience we already had [with Convergys] we were happy. There are a lot of other systems integrators working within Qtel [International].” Convergys has also participated in the operator’s RTCC (Real Time Convergent Charging] pilot project. The vendor’s Tony Bobowicz, sales director MEA, explains: “We undertook a ten week exercise with ten or 12 reources and gathered and analysed all Convergys’ requirements and gave recommendations,” he said. “It is fair to say that Qtel came up with 26 of the hardest scenarios you could think of for us to work with. Qtel are stretching the boundaries, particularly with the pilot. I’ve not seen another operator come with such innovative products.” In spite of the upgrade agreement and the participation by Convergys in the RTCC pilot, Majeed Alsheeb is keeping an open mind as to who will be involved in the project once the pilot concludes. “We are looking at all options at the same time and will be in a pilot with another vendor very soon so we can compare values and capability and evaluate both,” he adds. “Then we need to make a decision.”


P O L I C Y

C O N T R O L

EXPERT OPINION:

Monetising data services with sophisticated policy control As service providers create new services, they want to give their customers what they need in real time and capitalise on dynamic service capabilities that give them an edge in the market. Here, David Sharpley provides three examples of how that can be achieved. Reaching that goal means shifting to valuebased pricing coupled with dynamic policy control and real-time network intelligence to manage and apply different charging mechanisms. This article profiles three use cases that highlight the value of dynamic policy control, its extensive dynamic metering capabilities when paired with real-time charging, and how these deliver a personalised experience to customers. Speed Differentiation With the popularity of prepaid services, operators can use policy and value-based charging to differentiate services; for example, by offering top ups based on volume or time and – importantly for the customer’s quality of experience – speed. In this example, a prepaid customer, when approaching their usage quota, is prompted to top up but is offered different speed options: US$10 provides 24 hours of use at a basic 256 Kbps, which is useful for web browsing; or US$30 for five days of service at 1 Mbps, which gives them more time on the network at an increased speed, more suitable for streaming media services. The customer chooses the top up that best meets their needs at that point in time. Speed Bump Mobile operators can apply controls such as speed bumps—designed to throttle back or slow down usage when a prepaid user’s balance falls below a specific threshold. For example, a prepaid user with a week pass can be throttled at 2GB or 4GB depending on the day pass they choose. When their balance falls below US$10, certain applications such as

social networking or streaming media can be blocked to ensure no revenue leakage. The customer benefits because their service is maintained versus being terminated, while they are offered different top up options. Happy Hour This is a popular service being offered by many operators today to provide free unrated access to the data network during specific times of the day or day of the week – typically when the network is not congested. It provides service differentiation and improves customer loyalty. Increasingly, operators are looking at applying unrated or discounted access by encouraging access based on dynamic parameters such as congestion events. In this example, when a customer is in a noncongested cell site, policy control can associate those customers attached to the cell site, and push notifications to the customer advising them of availability of a service promotion based on their location. The operator leverages real-time network intelligence around subscriber location and congestion events to offer value-based services to their customers.

The author, David Sharpley, is senior vice president of marketing, product management and channels, Bridgewater Systems

Operators need sophisticated services to improve market differentiation and keep customers captivated with offers that are relevant to their needs at a specific point in time. Policy control, coupled with dynamic network intelligence and value-based charging, extends service innovation across all types of service models including prepaid and post paid and enables attractive offers that keep customers engaged.

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M A N A G E M E N T

e r s a c i t t ha poli y? W e lic th po of In managing their networks, communications services providers must ruthlessly exploit every trick the BSS book in order to monetise their network. Nick Booth explores how they can maximise their margins, without marginalising consumers. “Few operators

Marketers often talk about the democratising effects of technology. Actually, the politics of the mobile market are far more brutal than democracy. Democracy only gives citizens a vote every five years, and the choices are so unappealing half of them don’t bother. In the mobile world, the subscribers get to elect a new service provider at least once a year, even more often if they’re pre-paying.

have built an information system around the customer”

Unlike politics, the mobile constituents are rarely partisan. Despite what the marketing managers might say, few genuinely want ‘a relationship’ with their mobile operator. They want good service at the best price or they’re off. Customer loyalty is only ever achieved by making it hard for subscribers to leave, but number portability destroyed that easy lock-in.

Good service is the only defence

That’s why the mobile operator’s tools for policy making, under pinned by their business support systems (BSS) are so granular and reactive. But are they sophisticated enough? A recent focus group, conducted by policy software vendor Acision, suggests not. As a developer of software that helps network operators to finetune the service they deliver on their BSS, the vendor has an interesting perspective on the challenges communications services providers (CSPs) face.

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Acision recommended that network operators develop policies for three areas. At the content layer, operators should aim to optimise specific content services such as video or browsing. At the control layer, BSS managers should install intelligent components that enable real-time and

VANILLAPLUS JUNE/JULY 2011

Gordon Rawling: CSPs must understand customers better

Acision’s recent poll of subscriber opinion and subsequent report, 'Seizing the Opportunity in Mobile Broadband', investigates the relationship between the quality of experience (QoE) and the willingness to pay for possible value added services (VAS). The biggest complaints were slow speeds (62%), bad network coverage issues (39%) and long pauses in video services (74%).


complex decision-making. It also called for higher performance from network operators at the data layer, recommending new components to improve the handling of network traffic. “Operators need to develop services that consumers understand and can relate to,” concluded Steven van Zanen, Acision’s senior vice president of marketing. Gordon Rawling, Oracle’s director of marketing, agrees. The software vendor, most of whose campaigning has been carried out in the IT industry, says that in comparison CSPs aren’t good enough at understanding what customers want and what the customer experience is like. It’s partly because operators have silos of information that were designed for a different era. The data are all technically focused with separate databases on lines, billing, call duration and tariffs. Few operators have built an information system around the customer. “They’ve spent a lot of time thinking about who the customers are and what they want them to do,” says Rawling. But the vendors haven’t done enough to investigate how the customer experiences the network. Any BSS manager should have a clear priority, according to Rawling – to devise policies for creating a better customer experience. In some cases, that might mean re-engineering the structure of data in order to create a platform for innovation. Be careful what you do with those tools, warns David Knox, senior product manager at CSG International. Users don’t like heavyhanded government. Too often policy for users has been devised which is too authoritarian and off-putting. Kicking the people off the network, when they have exceeded their data limits, is counterproductive. “Policy is often about restricting users and can give a negative impression. We try to encourage users to use a more positive approach,” says Knox. CSG International has developed policies that allow operators to, for example, give passes to subscribers for roaming, to enable users to buy additional bandwidth by increments or to carry over quotas to next month. As with politics, the problem constituents such as bandwidth hoggers can be converted into your best allies if you devise the right policies for them. “The subscribers that use all the bandwidth are often the early adopters,” says

Gary Rieschick, director of wireless solutions at Openet. These are the pioneers who will encourage others to emulate them. Policy needs to be more flexible with these thought leaders. “If they’re hogging bandwidth at two in the morning, it’s not a problem,” adds Rieschick, “operators need to devise more sensitive responses.” New automated responses to users need to be more nuanced. A policy could be designed so that bandwidth hoggers are initially sent gentle reminders about their usage of the system. The system might then be programmed to send errant subscribers a graduated series of responses, each slightly more assertive than the last in order to resolve the issue.

Gary Rieschick: Hogging bandwidth at 2am is no problem

“Kicking the people

In today’s trading environment, policy should be aimed at keeping the customer. Openet’s Dynamic Context Router, which was used to help AT&T to devise a policy for the launch of its iPad service, provides the foundation for formulating user policy and monetising, argues Rieschick.

off the network

There are many vendors to chose from who can provide sophisticated tools for devising policy. Bridgewater Systems, Comptel, Tekelec, Broadhop, Openet, Sandvine and Volubill can all create the foundation for devising policy.

productive”

Rieschick argues that their many features can lure a policy manager into creating a dangerously complex policy that actually drives subscribers away. There's a lot to be said for a really simple plan, such as a cheap service tariff, he says. It worked for PlusNet which became the UK's fastest growing ISP on the basis of its pricing. Arguably, PlusNet’s success was not based on price, but because its service proposition was simple to understand. Tony Jackson, director of telecoms strategy at Convergys, says operators can avoid alienating customers, create a sophisticated system and hide the complexity. “They need to be creative with the customer intelligence they have, like history and current usage patterns,” he says. The litmus test is whether they can target ‘addons’ in such a way that it encourages a sale, first time.

when they have exceeded their data limits is counter-

Tony Jackson: CSPs must be creative with the customer intelligence they have

As the old adage has it, a week is a long time in politics. In terms of policy, it’s an eternity. Mistakes in policy can be fatal, and there are few opportunities for U-turns. Operators devising their monetising policies must get them right first time.

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Intelligent BSS – How to unlock the potential for market growth for CSPs Over the past few years service providers have found themselves faced with high manpower costs due to lack of automated process flow-through; poor time-to-revenue due to rigid and inflexible business processes, saturation of the communications market in developed countries, and a continued danger of being relegated to purely ‘bit-pipe’ providers in increasingly competitive markets. A recent VanillaPlus Thought Leadership webinar explored the issues. As communication service providers (CSPs) look to gain a greater share of customers’ communications spend, they need to differentiate themselves and move away from competing purely on cost, and make the most of the impetus to retain existing customers and extend the lifespan of customers, driving up the lifetime value. With the move towards convergence, there is a great opportunity for CSPs to unlock the potential that Unified Communications provides and identifying what customers truly want from their communications services. That involves a unified view of their estate and a single bill with corporate hierarchy support ability to make the introduction of new services simpler and quicker. Address each step of the value chain However, there needs to be the back-office capabilities in place for CSPs to be able to successfully provide these offerings to customers, and ensure their BSS capabilities address each step of the Order-Cash-Care value chain. To successfully navigate through to these new

offerings, CSPs need to implement a ‘lighttouch transition’ in phases. The first step is the implementation of a standalone BSS platform, requiring minimal integration with existing IT infrastructure, which also enables CSPs to design and validate service delivery processes for best practice. Secondly, CSPs need to ensure deeper integration into existing infrastructure, where CRM, billing, order management and business analytics systems are linked to ensure consolidated data management across wireless and wireline platforms. This enables customers to have a ‘single view’ and enables the introduction of more sophisticated offerings, as well as improved customer experience. Finally, business processes must be optimised for performance management of convergent offerings and devices that enable the rollout of Fixed-Mobile Convergence and Unified Communications packages for business customers. The introduction of these ‘intelligent’ platforms provides a great opportunity for CSPs to expand their offerings, and to build credibility as well as ensure long-term growth potential.

The webinar can be viewed at www.vanillaplus.com and also at www.martindawessystems.com/media/webinars.php

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VIDEO REVIEW

Cost of design errors skyrocketing with increasing complexity of solutions In a recent VanillaPlus video Netformx CEO, Ittai Bareket and COO, Steve Bamberger discussed the multibillion-dollar problem the communications industry faces. New research from Heavy Reading shows communications service providers (CSPs) can incur roughly US$18m to US$19m in unnecessary, wasted costs with every one million MPLS orders processed. Advanced IP-based solutions and increasing deployment options in the cloud as well as on-premise are having a major impact on the business operations of CSPs. In todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s era of increasing complexity, CSPs must thoroughly understand their customersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; requirements and then design solutions that can be fully implemented. It is within the pre-sales part of the process that critical errors are introduced which open CSPs to unnecessary costs. However, innovative CSPs are discovering that automating the requirements-to-order process is a key solution that has a major, positive impact on the bottom line. Best-of-breed designs involve architecting multivendor solutions, which is adding even more complexity and time-consuming tasks resulting in a higher potential for errors. Within one

proposal, expertise in routing, switching, VoIP, IP phones, video over IP and other areas will require intense and knowledgeable collaboration among many participants. AT&T, for example, identified US$100,000 in wasted equipment costs and US$100,000 in human capital consulting costs tied to inefficiencies in one order alone. Through the use of Netformx DesignXpert, AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, Bell Canada and many others CSPs around the world are automating their requirements-to-order processes and significantly increasing productivity and customer satisfaction. The solution enables CSPs to instantly validate specifications for more than 338,000 devices via the Netformx KnowledgeBase, which maintains up-to-date data with regular revisions provided by the equipment vendors such as Cisco, Juniper, Avaya, HP and numerous others. Watch the Talking Heads interview with Netformx at either www.vanillaplus.com or www.netformx.com.

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Upcoming Events Customer loyalty & churn 4-7 July, 2011 Riviera Marriott, la Porte de Monaco www.iir-telecoms.com Webinar: iCDR: The next (r)evolution in service monitoring! 6 July, 2011 15:00 London | 10:00 New York | 16:00 Madrid 18:00 Dubai | 16:00 Cape Town http://workcastemail.net/IN/F/gthJ3fkpnhu4qLpIbUV4Ai/ 4G International Forum July 11 - 12, 2011 Sheraton Taipei Hotel, Taipei, Taiwan www.magenta-global.com.sg/4g2011 2nd Mobile Payment China 2011 July 12 - 13 Shanghai, China www.mobilepaymentchina.com/mobilepayment

2nd Annual Telecom Fraud Management & Revenue Assurance 2011 16 September, 2011 Hilton International Mumbai, India www.cerebralbusiness.com/tfm2011 Cloud Mobility Summit 20-21 September, 2011 NH Barbizon Palace, Amsterdam http://www.cloud-mobility.com Management World Africa 20-21 September Hilton Sandton, Johannesburg, South Africa www.tmforum.org/Conferences/ManagementWorld Africa/8617

SDP Global Summit 21-22 September Radisson Blu, Berlin, Germany www.sdpsummit.com

Mobile Forum: Backhaul 20 July, 2011 Sunnyvale, California http://telecomcouncil.cvent.com/events/mobile-forumbackhaul 2nd Annual 3G Summit 2011 22 July 2011 Shangri-La Hotel, New Delhi, India http://virtueinsight.com/site/Telecom.aspx

LTE Asia 5 - 7 September, 2011 Suntec, Singapore http://asia.lteconference.com

OSS-BSS World Summit 27-28 September Sheraton, The Park Lane Hotel, London, UK www.ossbssworld.com Broadband World Forum 27-29 September, 2011 CNIT, La Defense, Paris, France http://broadbandworldforum.com Carriers World 2011 27-29 September Guoman Tower Hotel, London www.terrapinn.com/2011/carriers

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O F F !

Want to see who owns iCloud? Oh, there’s an App for that… Mark Dye grows weary of seeing big companies bully smaller brand owners and sees storm clouds brewing for Apple. ‘It never rains but it pours.’ Isn’t that how the old saying goes? You know, just when you’re thinking things are going nicely someone throws a spanner in the works and then things just spiral out of control. Well, for Steve Jobs and Apple things just got a bit cloudier following a lawsuit from iCloud Communications. Although, given previous form on that front I’m not sure if they really care. The author, Mark Dye, is associate editor of VanillaPlus and a freelance technology journalist

You’ve probably seen or heard about Apple’s new iCloud service which was launched to the world’s press with great fanfare back on 6 June. iCloud stores users’ music, photos, apps, calendars and documents, pushing them wirelessly to all devices automatically with Apple describing the service as the “cloud the way it should be: automatic and effortless”. With that in mind you’d be forgiven for thinking that somebody might have checked if anyone had a trademark on iCloud already. However, that honour belongs to Phoenix-based iCloud Communications which is suing Apple for its use of the name. A lawsuit, filed in Arizona District Court in the US by iCloud Communications, notes that the iGiant’s use of iCloud is trademark infringement on the name of iCloud Communications, a VoIP company founded back in 2005. It seems inexplicable that Apple could have missed this fact and perhaps it didn’t, something iCloud notes in its suit. "Although Apple aggressively protects its trademark rights, Apple has a long and well known history of knowingly and wilfully treading on the trademark rights of others – a history which began as early as the 1970s when Apple was first sued for trademark infringement by the Beatles’ record label, Apple Corp," says iCloud.

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Perhaps not surprisingly, iCloud Communications is asking the court for a preliminary and permanent injunction against Apple, as well as undisclosed monetary damages and legal fees as the firm believes Apple's iCloud has similarities with services it provides. This was based on the worldwide media coverage generated by the announcement of Apple’s new service and the advertising campaign that followed. iCloud also feels that both the media and general public have quickly come to associate 'iCloud' with Apple, rather than iCloud Communications. So, while iCloud Communications is smarting, believing the Apple association is causing confusion and consequently damaging its business is Apple just carrying on regardless? As iCloud argues in its suit, this sort of territory is nothing new for the makers of the iPad. How could we forget that Macintosh computer, Mighty Mouse, iPhone and iAd have all caused the company troubles in the past – they’re all names used by other firms until Apple decided it wanted a piece of the action.

So, where’s it going to end?

iCloud Communications says that many people are wondering if the firm is now owned or affiliated with Apple – now there’s an idea – as confusion reigns. As such in its suit it asked that Apple ‘deliver for destruction all labels, signs, prints, insignia, letterhead, brochures, business cards, invoices and any other written or recorded material or advertisements in its possession or control containing the iCloud name.’ With the VoIP also asking for payment for damages and profits Apple is already making from iCloud this looks set to run for a while yet. Maybe iCumulonimbus was a better idea.


VanillaPlus Video Talking Heads Reach a global audience with your interview streamed from www.vanillaplus.com

For more information contact: cherisse@vanillaplus.com Tel: +44 (0) 1732 897646


CLOUD SUPPLEMENT JUNE / JULY 2011 VOLUME 13 ISSUE 3 C O M M U N I C AT I O N S S E R V I C E P R O V I D E R S A N D T H E C L O U D O P P O R T U N I T Y

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TALKING HEADS

CommuniGate Systems' Scott Stonham explains how CSPs can win the cloud services battle

CLOUD-BASED OSS/BSS

Are cloud-based systems fiction or reality for CSPs?

MOBILE CLOUD COMPUTING CONSUMER CLOUD PROPOSITIONS Can networks take the strain of iCloud and others' traffic?

The network monetisation opportunity


cloud

Revenue Intelligence On Demand

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S U P P L E M E N T

C O N T E N T S

CONTENTS

CSPs see the cloud opportunity more clearly

George Malim, Editor: VanillaPlus

SUPPLEMENT CONTENTS

Cloud services represent a hugely attractive opportunity for communication service providers (CSPs) as they look to replace commoditised, trafficbased revenues by providing value-added services. However, time is against them if they are to carve out a strong position in the market. Others are already active and CSPs face the challenge of inserting themselves into the value chain.

The good news is that they are not unarmed in this battle. They have a customer base, particularly in the enterprise and SME market, to sell cloud services to and, critically, they know how to charge for services and already have billing relationships in place. That won’t necessarily be enough, though. There is a real danger that CSPs will find themselves confined to providing the commodity elements of cloud services – the connectivity and the storage, perhaps bundled with charging – to other providers.

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Intoduction and Contents

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Talking Heads Scott Stonham, vice president of marketing, CommuniGate Systems

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Consumer Cloud Services Nick Booth asks whether the iCloud and other consumer services will put too much stress on networks

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Consuming OSS/BSS in the cloud Nava Levy examines the prospects for CSPs to consume OSS/BSS in the cloud

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Mobile Cloud Computing Michael Crossey explains the value CSPs can bring to the mobile cloud environment

They could find themselves replicating the mistakes made a decade ago in the data centre market by investing heavily in a commoditising sector yet again. CSPs are certainly keen to avoid this and accelerate into the market. Recent moves, such as Verizon’s acquisition of Terremark, a cloud provider with real customers, illustrate the level of their interest in and commitment to cloud. Terremark is a company with real customers and real skills and that explains why Verizon was willing to pay US$1.3bn for it.

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TALKING HEADS

In addition, cloud isn’t a one-way proposition. By using cloud computing for their own operations CSPs have the potential to strip substantial operating costs from their businesses, as Nava Levy points on p.S9.

Scott Stonham CommuniGate Systems

CSPs therefore need to assess their cloud strategies in two directions. Externally, in terms of what they can sell, and internally, in terms of what efficiencies they can use cloud services to drive in their own operations. They must act now to reap the rewards of either approach. Conversations about the need to move rapidly such as those held at the TM Forum’s Management World event in Dublin in May need to move on. There simply isn’t the time for CSPs to still be having the same discussions in two year’s time. By then, the cloud opportunity will have dispersed and CSPs will find themselves the provider of the network and a few ancillary services rather than the provider of the high-value services they so desperately need to make sense of their network investments. The clock is ticking and urgency is needed if CSPs are going to get in the game before it moves away from their sphere of influence. I believe that – and the cloud market’s potential for CSPs – is better understood than ever before. Enjoy the supplement George Malim, editor, VanillaPlus

CommuniGate Systems specialises in white-label carrier-grade software that enables telecom operators and MVNOs to deliver over-the-top communications solutions in the cloud. www.communigate.com

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PUBLISHED BY Prestige Media Ltd. Suite 28, 30 Churchill Square, Kings Hill, West Malling, Kent ME19 4YU, UK Tel: +44 (0) 1732 844017

© Prestige Media Ltd 2011

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Scott Stonham, vice president of marketing at CommuniGate Systems

Communications in the cloud, the operator opportunity Communications Services Providers (CSPs) recognise the cloud presents them with an opportunity to jump out of the commoditised dumb pipe business. Doing so requires agility and a willingness to embrace new ways of doing business. Here Scott Stonham, vice president of marketing at CommuniGate Systems, explains the significance of the cloud opportunity for CSPs and MVNOs and cable providers in particular. Profitable businesses can be made out of being either a pure network operator, or a value-added service provider, they require different strategies, different organisations and different management.

Scott Stonham: Agility is the bane of the telecoms industry today. Like many other industries, with success and maturity comes complacency and an inability to react. If the past five years have shown us anything, it is that no matter how much the industry tries, it is being out manoeuvred by companies that simply do not have the same kind of operational and political encumbrance. The challenge facing the industry is one of focus and strategy. Whilst profitable businesses can be made out of being either a pure network operator, or a value-added service provider, they require different strategies, different organisations and different management. The issue is that to the date most telecom operators have been trying, ineffectively, to be both, thus allowing over-the-top (OTT) providers to capitalise on the ensuing confusion and hesitance.

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Tomorrowâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s telecom market will consist of network operators that focus on delivering high quality, reliable and profitable network access, and providers of services over those networks. In theory, it is possible for the operators to do both, but it requires significant organisational change to allow the service provider to operate independently of the network operator. Such models are beginning to appear with the network operators gradually increasing their focus on network operations and the beginnings of the realisation that MVNOs can be channels, not competitors. However, I think there is more pain to come before they can realise that model, allowing the OTT providers to entrench themselves more deeply. VP: What makes CSPs suited to delivering cloud services? Are their existing trusted relationships with customers and their ability to charge enough? SS: Yes, but the question is to whom? A recent post in the MVNO Cloud Services LinkedIn group highlighted that if studies are to

â&#x2013;˛

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VanillaPlus: Can CSPs move quickly enough to address the cloud opportunity given that organisations such as Amazon, Google and, more recently, Apple with the iCloud are already bringing services to market?


believed, consumer trust in mobile operators is at an all time low, with them being trusted less than banks. I believe the role of the telecom operators will be as both a network provider, be that a value pipe, a smart pipe or whatever other type of pipe they want to be, and a cloud solution provider. Which role they enact will depend on their audience. I believe the consumer market has been pulled from underneath them by the more attractive, more agile OTT providers such as Apple, Skype and Facebook. Yet there are a plethora of other demographics and communities including enterprise, media, health, and expatriate communities that have requirements that the operators are still best suited to fulfil. Operators should focus on coverage, capacity and localised customer service VP: How attractive is the cloud opportunity for cable operators? How can they provide OTT services in the cloud? SS: One of the traditional pain points of a cable operator is that their customer is only their customer when they are attached to the modem or set top box. As soon as their customer leaves the office or home, they are no longer their customer and use services from someone else like Skype. There are obvious notable exceptions to this including Sky, Virgin and Comcast, but the cloud opens up opportunities for every cable operator to reach their customers wherever they may be, on any network, even their competitors. The opportunity for cable operators is to make their service available to their customers 100% of the time.

Cloud technologies

VP: What cloud-based services could MVNOs provide? How might cloud transform the MVNO business?

can benefit MVNOs both in terms of

SS: Cloud technologies can benefit MVNOs both in terms of reducing capex and increasing flexibility, but also in the services they can offer and their market positioning. MVNOs can capitalise on the cloud trend, positioning themselves as cloud communication providers, providing single number reach across any device and any network. MVNOs can offer turnkey cloud communications solutions that enable their subscribers to use their services across any network, fixed or mobile, with the same package benefits including a single phone number that can be used whether the subscriber is using a mobile phone, a PC or a fixed phone. They could offer cloud services that can be easily tailored by the end user for their exact requirements with little to no cost to either the operator or user, allowing their customers to choose exactly what they need for their purpose.

reducing capex and increasing flexibility, but also in the services they can offer and their market positioning.

VP: How big is the cloud opportunity? How does it help CSPs set up syndicated services?

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SS: The size of the cloud opportunity is particularly difficult to grasp because of its nebulous nature and layered definitions. However, let's take it from another perspective, that of an existing cloud provider, say Facebook, Skype or even now Microsoft plus Skype. The recent ruling by the Dutch parliament disallows mobile operators from charging additional fees to users wishing to use Skype over their network. This significant

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The white-label decision could mark the beginning of an technology enables operators and OTT providers to extend their customer reach across any network.

opening up of networks for OTT VoIP services, and with this we could see a rapid convergence of MVNO, cable, and OTT. Consider Skype and its China Mobile-sized user base of circa 600 million users, what if they became an MVNO? What about cable operators? Cox Communications recently launched its MVNO service over Sprint, meaning Cox customers can access their services from anywhere. Communications in the cloud is often overlooked when talking about the cloud, in favour of storage, music or software, yet it stands to be a significant area of growth for both cloud and telecommunications in general. VP: How does CommuniGate Systems help CSPs address cloud services? SS: CommuniGate Systems provide software that powers the SaaS and cloud communication solutions of almost 300 telecoms operators around the world. With CommuniGate 1Number, telecom operators and OTT providers can deploy 'single number reach' communication solutions in the cloud. The white-label technology enables operators and OTT providers to extend their customer reach across any network. The device agnostic client, Pronto! delivers rich multimedia and HD Voice services to Apple and Android smartphones and tablets, and virtually any computer desktop. CommuniGate Systems' technology has been built from the ground up to enable efficient, high performance multitenant cloud communication services that include messaging, HD voice, video, presence, collaboration and much more in one totally reliable platform. VP: Is the cloud environment really as complex as is being made out? The concept seems straightforward. SS: In a word, no. Although now more evolved and refined, the idea has been around for a long time, previously known by an abundance of other terms including Hosted, ASP, SaaS and, I suppose, even mainframe embodied many of the concepts of cloud. What has changed today is availability of affordable, high-speed access. At the turn of the century whilst I was working in one of the large mobile operators we were integrating network APIs and functions into Microsoft

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applications. Apart from the inevitable battle of the brands, the biggest hurdles with that turned out to be ubiquitous access to the network and transparent pricing structures. Like many of the innovations we brought to market back then, it was just too soon. Nine years later, the launch of Google's Chromebook demonstrates the level of device, application and network integration we had envisioned, but now it's called cloud instead of Network APIs or the Service Delivery Platform. VP: Do you think CSPs have got what it takes to make cloud services a core part of their business? SS: Absolutely, but it requires a clarity of focus and stakeholder buy-in that often eludes them in times like this. To successfully provide cloud services you need to have the three A's; asset, access and availability. These are all things operators can do very well, better than any other entity in the market, the biggest question is what will their 'asset' be. On one hand this can be SLA-guaranteed transport, traffic management, malware protection and billing, or could be fully featured turnkey communication packages enterprises and small businesses. VP: How do you see the role of CSPs in cloud services in two years' time? SS: In two years we will be heading in the right direction, with many of the telecom operators having already split their businesses to address both value added services and profitable network operations. The core networks will be operated and supported by the entities we see today, but in much leaner than forms they are today. The market for MVNOs will be more competitive, with the network operatorsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; realisation that once they focus on operating the network, the delivery of value added services becomes the purpose of the MVNO and as such, MVNOs become more of a strategic partner than they are today. OTT providers will be driving consumer usage of the networks. Within the next three to four years I expect to see an OTT launch its own telecom offering, it will be similar to what we call an MVNO today, but more evolved. If Tchibo finds value in offering an MVNO service, you can be sure someone with several hundred million users, like Facebook, can also see a value.


C O N S U M E R

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S E R V I C E S

Will iCloud stress wireless networks too far? As the IT industry clouds over, network operators need to find new models, a new position in the value chain or new ways to meet the demand for broadband, writes Nick Booth. The recent launches of Apple’s new iCloud and similar services from Amazon and Google reflects the trend to store everything online. These are all part of a massive growth in apps, video and now music subscribers, all demanding a heady cocktail of rich content and instant gratification. According to Professor William Webb, a member of UK regulator Ofcom’s advisory board, the operators can expect up to an estimated thirtyfold increase in data in the coming years.

Certainly, the economics of the current arrangement don’t stack up. The rapid growth in smartphones and tablets and a new generation of cloud services will eat broadband quicker than mobile operators can provide, Webb warns. The low cost per gigabyte that is chargeable to subscribers has persuaded operators from Broadcom to Vodafone to seek pricing models that aren’t so difficult to adjust. An alternative strategy to place themselves higher up in the value chain, might be to evolve to offer cloud services themselves. A risky strategy to embark on says Webb.

William Webb: Operators will have to change their production processes

“This exposes them to a similar risk to their current data position,” says Webb. “The risk of moving higher up the value chain is still that they are expected to carry ever more data for no more revenue.”

The amount of strain these cloud-based services will put on already struggling wireless networks is one thing, says Cambridge Wireless, a lobbying organisation for mobile and wireless vendors. The operators’ choice of strategies for coping is another. Coping with the same huge volumes of data, without a rethink of pricing policy, is unsustainable. Now that the margins for operators are slim, should they look at new ways of moving up the value chain? Should

they become cloud operators perhaps? But how?

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If the operators It would be easier says Webb, for the can’t make money from the old model, they need a new one for their next

operators to find a way charge more for data than at present. Nevertheless, there is an argument to be made for operators to develop their own cloud services. The problem being that operators aren’t famously good at doing software service rollouts.

generation of “Well anyone can set up a cloud service - the wireless barriers to entry are relatively small. You set

up a few servers and develop some software,”

technologies and says Webb. infrastructures.

Iain Brotherston: Provisioning efficiency must be improved

But the next bit would be a challenge too far for the operators, if past performance is anything to go by. “Mobile operators take forever to roll out software,” says Dan Makin, head of operations at Hullomail, an app developer that supplies mobile operators. “They take months or even years to provision a service. We use a cloud operator that can do it in a few hours.” When BT wanted a satellite service integrated with its own infrastructure, for example, its own estimate was that the project would take nine months. Managed service supplier QiComm claims it completed the project in three weeks. “A telco isn’t always the most efficient company at provisioning new services,” says QiComm’s sales director Iain Brotherston. Operators seeking to offer cloud services could outsource some of the difficult process to service providers, he argues. Well he would. Operators would have to change their entire production processes, says Webb. If the mobile operators were to provision a cloud service, for example, they would need to synchronise all the different devices that might use their service and put the appropriate software on the devices themselves. This is much easier for the device makers like Apple or the OS providers like Google to do, says Webb. “And the track record of operators in introducing services of this form is poor. So I doubt whether many will try. If they do, the question is whether any will succeed against the likes of Apple, Google and Microsoft.” “Everyone in the wireless value chain has a part to play in shaping the new mobile ecosystem,” says Dr Soraya Jones, chief

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executive at Cambridge Wireless. But the mixed topography of networks won’t be without its problems, she warns. And this work all has to be done at a cost that subscribers will want to pay. Webb argues that the network operators don’t have and aren’t suited to develop the systems to manage, secure, charge and operate cloud services. “Operators shouldn't do this. They should concentrate on delivering data wirelessly from device to internet. This is their USP and it is what they do well,” says Webb. If the operators can’t make money from the old model, they need a new one for their next generation of wireless technologies and infrastructures. That will be easier to achieve than getting into cloud services, says Peter Whale, a board member of Cambridge Wireless and director of product management for Qualcomm. Key industry players plan to mitigate the problem by ensuring that the most dataintensive activities are carried out over Wi-Fi instead of a carrier's wireless network, he says. The solution could be a blend of new technologies including multicarrier HSPA+, LTE and femtocells. Whale warns the industry will need to move fast in order to allocate new spectrum in time for the next wave of demand, as well as creating the infrastructure to off-load onto Wi-Fi. Another possible answer would be for the operators to divest themselves of ownership of the physical networks and used their operational talents to be mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs). This would be a step towards creating the seamless links between all the various elements of the patchwork of mobile network pieces that are out there. If service providers could reengineer the networks, that would be perfect, says Webb. “But no operators want to blink first and admit that there is a problem,” says Webb. “The operators can’t solve the problem on their own, because it involves too many painful decisions. It would be like doing surgery on your baby.”


B S S / O S S

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C L O U D

EXPERT OPINION:

Consuming BSS/OSS from the cloud – fiction or reality? Fraud management, mobile workforce management, pricing analytics, order management and even billing are some of the BSS/OSS services that are already being consumed by service providers in the cloud. Is this limited to small providers, or is it a growing phenomenon that will change the delivery and usage of BSS/OSS as we know them? Nava Levy examines this and the conditions that make BSS/OSS ripe for cloud. When Marc Benioff founded Salesforce.com over ten years ago, he couldn’t understand why enterprise software applications were not as convenient to use as buying books on Amazon. Today, we ask ourselves: Why aren’t BSS/OSS applications as convenient as cloud-based enterprise software applications? At the recent TMF Management World conference in Dublin, I chaired a session called “When Will BSS/OSS Applications Migrate to the Cloud?” Judging by the number of attendees – standing-room only – it is easy to deduce that this thought is shared by many business and IT telecom professionals. The promise of cloud computing is just too compelling to ignore. But is this model applicable to telecom or is this just a fantasy? Before attempting to answer this question, let’s first define what we mean by “consuming BSS/OSS services from the cloud”. Gartner defines cloud computing as “a style of computing where massively scalable IT-enabled capabilities are delivered 'as a service' to external customers using Internet technologies”. In our case, “IT-enabled capability” is the BSS/OSS application – for example, fraud management or billing – which is available anywhere anytime ‘as a service’ or ‘on demand’ for a subscription and minimal setup fee. All the user needs is a browser and an internet connection, without having to install hardware or software. Moreover, by using internet technologies, the BSS/OSS service provider enjoys much better economies of scale benefits vs. on-premise software or traditional hosting. It is these drivers that explain why there are already many BSS/OSS applications that are being delivered in the cloud, across the telecom applications map. Even billing is moving to the cloud, as evidenced by the recent announcement of three, albeit small, service providers adopting cloud-based billing. What are the key characteristics of BSS/OSS applications that make them suitable for migration to the cloud?

1. Often, hosting is already an acceptable delivery model. 2. Users come mostly from the business side (vs. IT). 3. Benefits of obtaining access over the web (for example, mobile workforce, network effects and mash ups). 4. As with any disruptive innovation, adoption often starts at the ‘low end’ and then proceeds upstream. It is worth noting that low end is not limited to small operators, it can also mean small departments and new lines of business in very large operators. These customers find the low cost and fast-time-to-market too appealing to justify doing it in any other way.

The author, Nava Levy, is vice president of SaaS/Cloud Solutions at cVidya Networks

However, for most of these applications, adoption is still limited to early adopters, the visionaries and the innovators. To reach mainstream, the key adoption barriers, perceived or otherwise, will need to be overcome, namely availability, security, loss of control and level of customisation. The fact that some of these applications are already going mainstream, for example, salesforce automation and mobile workforce management, provides a clear indication that for some cloud/SaaS providers it is only a question of time before they overcome these obstacles. Since most industries eventually migrate to the most economically viable model, telecom IT, which is gradually moving to a utility model, will not be different. Will there still be traditional on-premise BSS/OSS applications ten years from now? I believe there will be, in the same way that there are still many mainframes out there. However, the overwhelming trend will be that more and more service providers will adopt cloud-based BSS/OSS apps to reduce cost and increase agility. The cloud-based BSS/OSS activities we are witnessing today are just the beginning, and it will be exciting to see how they will evolve our industry.

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EXPERT OPINION:

Service providers’ value added role for mobile cloud computing In a few short years, cloud computing has progressed from marketing hype to a firmly entrenched strategic technology in businesses around the world. However, when it comes to mobile cloud computing, the full potential is yet to be exploited, writes Michael Crossey.

The author, Michael Crossey, is vice president of marketing at Aepona

Cloud computing has carved a path for new business models and transformed the way companies are run, services are provided and customers are served. Now, cloud computing has attracted the attention of the mobile industry, with companies like Google promoting a form of mobile cloud computing where applications running in the cloud are accessed from a thin handset client or even a browser, providing virtually unlimited processing power, huge amounts of storage and the promise of crossdevice platform compatibility.

be clear about the distinction between ‘mobile enablement’ – rendering an existing application for use on a mobile device – and ‘mobile network-enablement’ – embedding on-demand mobile capabilities into a web/desktop-based or mobile device-based application to increase its utility. This combination of a cloud-based enterprise collaboration service being augmented with mobile cloud-based network enablers creates additional value that goes well beyond the simple act of making an existing application portable.

However, this definition of mobile cloud computing is very limiting, particularly for mobile operators, as it does not use the powerful assets of the mobile network itself. What’s more, with initiatives such as the GSM Association’s OneAPI and the Wholesale Application Community (WAC), the mobile industry is beginning to align itself to fully exploit the potential of mobile cloud computing.

So, you could think of a cloud collaboration service such as Chatter being augmented with network-derived location and presence information, allowing members of a group to see each other’s real-time whereabouts and current status and making decisions on the best way to interact with each other based on this information. Then, using the messaging and call control capabilities of the mobile network, set up an instant or scheduled group call without the hassle of booking a conference bridge and distributing dial-in details and passcodes. All of this is possible by extending the service using simple-to-use APIs, provided either by mobile operators or cross-network mobile cloud providers.

The true value of mobile cloud computing lies in extending the principles of cloud computing – such as on-demand access, pay-as-you-go, everything-as-a-service and device-agnostic applications – to the mobile domain, so that the mobile operator’s valuable assets can be fully exploited and monetised. These assets, such as reliable communications, billing relationships and customer intelligence, can be used by third parties, such as enterprises and app developers, to improve their customers’ experience and differentiate their own service offerings.. The real power of mobile cloud computing is perhaps best illustrated by an example. Enterprise collaboration solutions such as Microsoft SharePoint, IBM’s Lotus Live suite, and Chatter from Salesforce.com, all aim to make it easier for employees to collaborate, whether they are producing a document, managing project tasks or simply wishing to communicate in real time as a group. Such enterprise collaboration solutions are prime candidates for mobile network-enablement via the mobile cloud. At this point, it’s important to S10

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What’s particularly interesting is that as well as individual apps companies, existing cloud providers that specialise in different vertical industry segments are looking to add mobile capabilities to the mix of on-demand services they currently offer. Mobile cloud computing has the potential to deliver significant value across the entire mobile ecosystem, not just to the Over-The-Top providers of mobile cloud-based applications. Operators can monetise their network assets and extend their reach into previously untapped market segments; mobile cloud providers can offer new, differentiated services to their clients; and app developers or enterprise solution providers can easily mobile-enable existing applications while reaching and billing customers seamlessly across multiple operator networks.


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VanillaPlus is Europe, Middle East and Africa's leading publication for fixed and mobile network operators. It examines how to drive profits...

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