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CO B R M AN 2 S M D M OO IN N NO N G EW W : M -O AG U AZ R IN E!

PROVIDERS

Deliver the best experience with real-time charging and policy, says Telcordia

TALKING HEADS

OPERATOR CASE STUDY Proactive network monitoring speeds up Interoute’s customer response MOBILE ADVERTISING Personalisation boosts profits FLAT-FEE DATA IS DEAD Power to the People! Webinar Preview Inside MWC CURTAIN RAISER Barcelona’s holding for you... CLOCKING OFF! Outage shows the Customer Care game has moved on

PLUS! ▼

FREE DOWNLOAD: Maximising Content Revenues, Special Report Google biggest threat to CSPs, says Survey • CSG gets Intec for $376m NSN’s Hintikka takes over at Comptel • Synchronica snaps up iseemedia


_ we enable growth real-time convergent billing real-time policy management real-time top-up and voucher

orga-systems.com


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IN THIS ISSUE EDITOR’S COMMENT Farewell from me, and watch out for M2M NOW magazine - coming soon!

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

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CONTRACT HOT LIST Major contracts awarded globally, and the latest Product News.

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TALKING HEADS

TALKING HEADS Paresh Shah, CTO of Telcordia’s Service Delivery Solutions, talks to VanillaPlus about the challenge of legacy infrastructure and business models.

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OPERATOR CASE STUDY: NETWORK MANAGEMENT Interoute accelerates its response to customers, and gets accurate root-cause analysis and alarms. Find out how.

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EXPERT OPINION: MOBILE ADVERTISING A new report highlights the importance of personalisation in unlocking mobile advertising profits.

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MOBILE ADVERTISING Steve Rogerson investigates the much-heralded massive expansion in operators’ mobile advertising revenues.

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IN ASSOCIATION WITH ... THE MMA It’s ‘all change’ at the Mobile Marketing Association following a recent overhaul.

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CONFERENCE REVIEW: FT WORLD TELECOMS Mark Dye is left feeling slightly ‘under-whelmed’ by this year’s conference.

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EXPERT OPINION: MOBILE DATA SERVICES Mobile network operators and users are at the threshold of a new era of data roaming without fear of ‘bill shock’, says Guy Reiffer.

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INTERVIEW: SERVICE ASSURANCE Dan Baker asks Mark Cowan if outdated agent technology is the Achilles Heel of service assurance software.

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SUBSCRIBE: NEVER MISS ANOTHER COPY! And find out if you qualify for a FREE Occasional Subscription.

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WEBINAR PREVIEW: REVENUE MANAGEMENT Learn how to create customer-centric revenue management on Thursday 3 February.

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WEBINAR PREVIEW: MOBILE DATA CHARGING On Thursday 26 January Rob Jones tells how to move towards consumer empowerment.

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SPECIAL REPORT PREVIEW: CONTENT REVENUES VanillaPlus and Moriana Group unveil a new joint report on Maximising Content Revenues - Free to download!

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VIDEO PREVIEW: APP STRATEGIES Interviewed by VanillaPlus, Johnson Agogbua says an App Store is not an App Strategy.

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DIARY & VIDEO REVIEW What’s On; plus Watch Ari Banerjee and David Wiseman on real-time analytics in 4G.

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EVENT PREVIEWS Where to Go and What to See!

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VIDEO REVIEW Learn from James Doyle about getting the best out of your data, at VanillaPlus.com

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EXPERT OPINION: E-BILLING & ANALYTICS Drew Rockwell tells how to differentiate services and remove back-office complexity.

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WEBINAR REVIEW: OSS/BSS TRANSFORMATION A recent webinar hears how to enable cloud services with transformed OSS/BSS.

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WEBINAR REVIEW: NEW OSS/BSS MODELS Your relationship with the end user is changing. You’d better adapt.

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CONFERENCE REVIEW George Malim reports from South Africa that mobile broadband will be a key to Africa’s economic and educational development.

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MOBILE WORLD CONGRESS 2011 A curtain raiser on the major issues bubbling up in Barcelona this February.

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CLOCKING OFF! George Malim finds that an outage at GiffGaff points the way to future customer care.

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Paresh Shah, CTO of Telcordia’s Service Delivery Solutions

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INTERVIEW: SERVICE ASSURANCE

42 MOBILE WORLD CONGRESS 2011

Telcordia is the industry’s go-to expert for solving the most complex communications challenges. As the global leader in mobile, broadband and enterprise communications software and services, Telcordia is known for having the depth of expertise to fully understand our customers’ situation, respond appropriately and deliver as promised. Telcordia enables communications service providers, suppliers and governments to achieve brand differentiation, drive revenue and deploy innovative, advanced services through its consulting, next generation OSS, network and application interconnection, service delivery and charging, industry research, and new technology development solutions. Telcordia has offices throughout North America, Europe, Asia, and Central and Latin America. www.telcordia.com

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Plus ça change ... The French put it more elegantly, but the more things change, the more they stay the same. According to a new report* by Daniel Hong, of telecoms analysts, Ovum, businesses are out of touch with the frustration that customers experience from automated customer service systems and so are jeopardising their loyalty. Hong says that businesses need to utilise automated and voice recognition services for phones Jeremy Cowan, Editor: VanillaPlus to stay competitive due to increasing call volumes. However, according to the report’s findings, most businesses focus on how their systems help them save money and not on the customer experience, making them unaware of the high level of frustration they can cause.

Hong adds: “In a recent Ovum survey, one third of respondents said they found it the most challenging aspect of customer service. Businesses need to optimise their use of automated and voice recognition services to stay competitive, but ... just a two to three per cent increase in automation rates can cause customer frustration and increase customer turnover.”

EDITORIAL ADVISORS

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

Barbara Lancaster, president, LTC International

Gaby Matsliach, general manager, BSS Product Line, Comverse

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

Simon Muderack, COO, Tribold

Olivier Suard, Marketing Director, Comptel

Mac Taylor, CEO, The Moriana Group

Andrew Wyatt, head of Solutions Management, Subscriber Data Management, Nokia Siemens Networks

Cherisse Draper, Business Development Isn’t this where we came in? Director VanillaPlus has been beating the drum for greater customer awareness since we launched the magazine in June 1999, so it’s frustrating that this message still isn’t getting through in all quarters. However, and it’s a BIG however, it is really encouraging to read George Malim’s Clocking Off! column (page 46) to see how a small virtual network operator, GiffGaff, is using Total-Effort customer care to ride out a technical storm, and to differentiate themselves from their more established competitors.

Talking of customer care, I’d like to pay a personal tribute to one of the best customer care exponents I’ve ever worked with, and someone who is leaving VanillaPlus to work with me on the launch of a brand new magazine from this stable, M2M Now. Cherisse Draper joined VanillaPlus in 2001 and since then has been responsible in no small measure for the growing success of the VanillaPlus brand, through a combination of charm, efficiency, tenacity and customer awareness. It’s also a moment for me to step sideways into another exciting role, that of Launch Editor for a new international magazine dedicated to connected devices and machine-to-machine (M2M) communications in transport, logistics, healthcare, retail, entertainment, public service, utilites, ... well, you get the picture. I will still be closely involved in VanillaPlus as Editorial Director, but the Editorship will be taken on for a second time by George Malim (he was Editor from 2001-2005), ably supported by our new Contributing Editor, Mark Dye. Thanks for reading this, I’ve had a blast, and I hope our paths continue to cross.

Chris Yeadon, director of Product Marketing, LHS

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.

* Using task completion rates to understand customer service experiences – A report by Daniel Hong, Ovum. © Prestige Media Ltd 2010

EDITOR & PUBLISHER Jeremy Cowan Tel: +44 (0) 1420 588638 editorial@vanillaplus.com DIGITAL EDITOR Nathalie Bisnar Tel: +44 (0) 1732 808690 nathalie@vanillaplus.com

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BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR Cherisse Draper Tel: +44 (0) 1732 897646 cherisse@vanillaplus.com SALES EXECUTIVE Lydia Harris Tel: +44 (0) 1732 897648 lydia@vanillaplus.com

VANILLAPLUS DECEMBER/JANUARY 2011

OPERATIONS DIRECTOR Charlie Bisnar Tel: +44 (0) 1732 844017 charlie@vanillaplus.com BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER Mark Bridges Tel: +44 (0) 1732 897645 mark@vanillaplus.com

Doug Zone, chief technology officer, MetraTech

DESIGN Jason Appleby Ark Design Consultancy Ltd Tel: +44 (0) 1787 881623 PRINTERS Printed in England The Magazine Printing Company Tel: +44 (0) 20 8805 5000 www.magprint.co.uk CIRCULATION Circdata Tel: +44 (0) 1635 869868

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be copied, stored, published or in any way reproduced without the prior written consent of the Publisher

PUBLISHED BY Prestige Media Ltd. Suite 28, 30 Churchill Square Kings Hill, West Malling Kent ME19 4YU, UK Tel: +44 (0) 1732 844017 DISTRIBUTION UK Postings Ltd Tel: +44 (0) 8456 444137


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Operators feel their biggest threat comes from Google and Clearwire NetCracker Technology used the Management World Americas event in Orlando, Florida to announce the results of an industry survey it had sponsored, covering more than 50 fixed, mobile, cable, and converged communication service providers (CSPs) worldwide. When asked what CSPs see as the top three competitive threats, new infrastructure providers (such as Google and Clearwire) topped the list at 56%, followed by Over The Top (OTT) content providers (38%), and social networking sites (26%). Service providers also identified their main priorities over the next 12

CSG Systems completes its $376m purchase of Intec

months, in order of importance, as: Accelerating network/IT convergence (42%); reducing costs through systems and supplier consolidation (39%); and cutting costs through managed services / outsourcing of networks and services (37%). Well over half of those surveyed said their top growth areas were multi-play services to the home (55%), followed by mobile money and commerce (52%), and mobile video (46.7%). Nearly 70% of the survey respondents were converged service providers (mobile and fixed), followed by wireline providers (13.2%), and mobile operators (7.5%).

Runa Capital makes its first seed investment of US$2m in Russian mobile software start-up Runa Capital, a new Russian venture capital fund, has announced its first investment. The $2 million capital has been placed in OnAir3G, a voiceenabled mobile OnAir3G, a social networking start-up founded platform. Moscowby Andrey based OnAir3G is a Vasilevsky start-up founded by (above), has online and mobile received $2m pioneer, Andrey funding Vasilevsky who also co-founded SmartCom, a developer of navigation software for Symbian, Windows Mobile and J2ME. This is Runa Capital’s first investment since launching in August 2010 with the goal of offering $30 million in seed financing to start-ups in rapid growth technology sectors. These include cloud computing, machine learning, virtualisation, and mobile and

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internet applications. “There is a huge amount of innovation happening in the everexpanding market for mobile software. This is why it is critical to ensure that promising start-ups are given the opportunity to accelerate their entry into this space,” said Dmitry Chikhachev, Managing Partner of Runa Capital. In 2007, OnAir3G founder and CEO, Andrey Vasilevsky sold SmartCom to Yandex, Russia’s largest internet company. The innovative mapping application is now used every day by millions of motorists to avoid traffic jams in a number of major Russian cities. OnAir3G aims to replicate this success with a powerful new voiceenabled mobile social networking platform designed for use on 30 million internet-enabled mobile phones currently used in Russia. OnAir3G will be publicly launched in the second quarter of 2011.

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CSG Systems International, Inc (NASDAQ:CSGS) of Englewood, Colorado, a customer interaction management and billing systems provider, has completed the Peter Kalan acquisition of UK-based Intec Telecom Systems PLC. Intec is a leader in wholesale billing and mediation and is a worldwide provider of retail billing software. The total cost of the acquisition, excluding transaction fees, was approximately US$376 million. As a combined entity, the new product suite will include an end-to-end customer interaction management platform, combining mediation, billing, rating, charging, product catalogue, customer care, web self-service, analytics, interactive messaging, interconnect services, content management, workforce management and marketing services. Peter Kalan, President and CEO of CSG Systems International, said: “Our combined experience in helping fixed, mobile and next generation service providers meet the increasing demands and challenges that they face in providing world-class services to their customers will enable us to help our clients compete and win in this dynamic marketplace.” Synchronica’s 60th MNO win after iseemedia deal UK-based Synchronica plc, the international provider of nextgeneration mobile messaging services, has grown its customer base to 60 mobile network operators following the successful acquisition of its competitor iseemedia, and a group-wide framework agreement with an unnamed panAfrican operator group. Synchronica has currently deployed its solutions to 31 mobile operators. Once all 60 are delivered, Synchronica’s messaging solutions will reportedly be available to more than 990 million end users worldwide.

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NEWS IN BRIEF

Operators must re-evaluate network architecture in face of Apple SIM card, says ADC Reports that Apple has teamed with Gemalto to develop an iPhone with an integrated SIM, permitting users to choose their own mobile networks in areas with poor signal, will upset carriers. Wireless network specialist, ADC believes that this could switch the balance of power from carriers to hardware suppliers, and that operators will have to compete on signal quality. “Apple would be causing significant upheaval in the mobile industry,” said John Spindler, ADC’s VP of Product Management. “As smartphone proliferation and demand for bandwidth-hungry apps continues to grow, networks are already struggling to provide the coverage and capacity that users require. Poor in-building coverage, as a result of 3G frequencies ineffectively penetrating physical barriers, results in dropped calls and slow data downloads.” “Microcellular technologies like Distributed Antenna System (DAS) can assist mobile operators. By using smaller cells, DAS increases the capacity and extends signal to exactly where the service is needed, ensuring that users receive the best customer service,” he added.

Allot and BroadHop demonstrate integrated policy management Allot Communications Ltd, a supplier of service optimisation and revenue generation systems for communication service providers (CSPs), and BroadHop, Inc, a worldwide provider of policy management and control systems, have completed a series of product integration and interoperability tests. The tests cover Allot Service Gateway (acting as an intelligent Policy and Charging Enforcement Function, PCEF) and the Quantum Network Suite, which is said by BroadHop to be the industry’s first fully virtualised policy management application acting as the Policy & Charging Rules Function (PCRF).

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Allot and BroadHop are committed to providing both fixed and mobile service providers with the most advanced technology solutions that allow them to quickly and easily move from networkcentric bandwidth management to more application-centric interactive services. The combined offering, based on the latest 3GPP® release 9 policy enforcement standards for mobile networks, will reportedly enable service providers to: • Offer tiered services and personalised service packages • Better manage and prioritise VoIPrelated traffic • Enforce sophisticated Fair Use policies based on 3GPP release 9’s Gx Usage Monitoring • Dynamically adapt to changing subscriber and quality of service (QoS) conditions mid-session, including network congestion, changing subscriptions or depleting quotas

The result is an integrated solution that is designed to fully meet the demands of joint service provider customers who are looking to empower subscribers with greater control of their services. The solution also enables service providers to provide enhanced user experiences through better management of bandwidth,

MATRIXX launches Charging Engine 1000 to help CSPs ‘move quickly to real-time rating and charging’ MATRIXX Software of California, a developer of next generation online charging and policy management systems, has now made its MATRIXX Charging Engine 1000 commercially available.

Aito analytics allow Anritsu clients to see an accurate, holistic subscriber view Finland’s Aito Technologies Oy, a provider of customer experience analytics (CEA), has entered a strategic partnership with Anritsu A/S, a global provider of testing, monitoring and management systems for advanced and converged networks. The partnership will allow Anritsu to offer sophisticated CEA tools integrated with its existing MasterClaw™ service assurance suite. This will reportedly provide operators and service providers with an accurate and holistic view of subscribers, based on their experience, service usage and profitability.

VoIP, video and fair use policies.

• Predictability and stability – Its architecture allows MATRIXX Software to guarantee performance, independent of operator size or complexity of pricing, service offerings, and business models. • Configurability and Flexibility – MATRIXX Charging Engine provides a configurable business platform while guaranteeing performance, stability and carrier grade high availability. • Best Price Performance – By achieving its breakthrough performance on off-theshelf Linux servers, MATRIXX claims the best price performance of any online charging product on the market.

Dave Labuda, MATRIXX Software

Underpinning the new product are patentpending technologies for online transaction processing (OLTP), rating and clustering. For communications and media service providers looking to migrate to real-time charging MATRIXX is said to offer: • ‘Unmatched’ performance – Processing 30,000 events per second on a single rack, the engine is claimed to outperform all other commercial charging systems.

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“Until now, the technology behind realtime charging could not provide the performance, flexibility and efficiency to process data usage profitably,” said Dave Labuda, CEO, MATRIXX Software. “By taking an innovative, new approach, we make the move to real-time much more affordable and, therefore, immediately valuable to the business.”

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SON resource management launched for better LTE performance, says Eden Rock Eden Rock Communications, a provider of 4G wireless self-optimising network (SON) systems, has launched Eden-NET™ for realtime, co-ordinated, multi-node resource optimisation, and disclosed its most recent performance benchmarks. Eden-NET is said to offer operators “substantial” gains in the performance of their Long Term Evolution (LTE) networks through advanced scheduling of radio resources among multiple neighbouring wireless access nodes or eNodeBs.

network deployment are targeted to be 40% in network system capacity and 200% in cell edge performance. This enables wireless operators to increase LTE deployment revenues via higher data rate service offerings and increased numbers of subscribers. “If efficiency – spectral and network – has driven the interest in LTE, there can be no denying the importance of SON as a part of the equation,” noted Peter Jarich, Service Director with Current Analysis. “Yet, while the standardisation of SON ensures its appearance in most LTE network portfolios, innovations such as those in Eden Rock’s Eden-NET solution, will be key for getting the most out of the technology.”

Based on LTE network deployment simulations in Eden Rock’s 3GPP-compliant system simulator, the system performance gains from Eden-NET in a typical LTE

New device intelligence helps MNOs launch improved mobile marketing campaigns the lack of software to define all the features, functionality and screen sizes of customers’ devices. As a result, one-for-all mobile marketing campaigns have often generated poor results.

Denmark’s Mobilethink A/S has launched a system for mobile network and mobile virtual network operators to determine for the first time the full profile of every feature phone and smartphone in their networks. Operators can now reportedly strengthen their segmentation, develop "rifle" marketing campaigns to targeted device users with resulting improvements in demand for phone upgrades, new internet services and content, and improve customer retention.

Mobilethink’s software can analyse data on thousands of feature phones, smartphones and superphones at the click of a mouse. In addition, network operators invest tens of thousands of dollars each year in human resources to keep data on new mobile phones and their features up-to-date. Through its relationships with device manufacturers the cost centre can be eliminated.

Mobile marketers have struggled to include mobile marketing in the crosschannel campaign mix, mainly because of

End-to-end IP resource, service and device management system released by Incognito Following successful broadband deployments in Europe, Canada’s Incognito Software, a global provider of device provisioning and network management systems, introduced its endto-end IP resource management, service activation and device provisioning solution at the 2010 Broadband World Forum in Paris.

new services by supporting technologies and standards, such as PON, IPv6, TR-069 and Ethernet in the first mile. Its end-to-end system facilitates the coordinated operations of disparate systems, centralised management of IP address resources, and implementation of zero-touch provisioning. The result is increased efficiencies, higher customer satisfaction and decreased OpEx.

Incognito helps service providers offer

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Orga Systems opens support services and consulting centre in Argentina ... Germany’s Orga Systems has opened a new Delivery Center for Consulting Services and Support in Argentina, to establish closer Ramez ties to current and Younan, CEO, Orga Systems prospective customers in Latin America. Orga Systems now has more than 25 real-time based installations in Latin America, serving more than 230 million subscribers. Adding to its hub in Rio de Janeiro, Orga Systems has chosen Buenos Aires, and will have more than 200 employees there in two years. According to CEO, Ramez Younan, "Orga Systems' solutions will help Latin American operators to prepare for a successful future, as dynamic policy management with real-time charging and billing enables mobile operators to maximise their mobile broadband and data revenues aligned with real-time cost control to avoid bill shock." ...and establishes a close fit with Tieto in real-time charging and billing Already partners for more than eight years, Orga Systems and Tieto have reported that Tieto Signaling is now an integrated component of a widely-deployed Orga Systems' product, its SCP system. This is pre-integrated with its real-time billing system, OPSC Gold. The SCP supports all pre-paid call types as well as roaming services. In systems such as real-time charging and billing, where stability and reliability are missioncritical, SS7 stacks over both E1/T1 and SIGTRAN carriers provided by Tieto are now being used in Orga Systems' Messaging Systems and SCP (Service Control Point) for advanced Intelligent Network (IN) services.

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NEWS IN BRIEF

Bulgaria’s VIVACOM goes live with Clarity’s OSS

Afghan Wireless asks NSN to boost its network capacity and coverage Afghan Wireless Communication Company (AWCC) plans to increase coverage, particularly in rural areas, and provide a range of new mobile services. Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) will modernise and expand the operator’s 2.5G (GSM/GPRS) network and provide subscriber data management and charging and billing platforms. As a result, more people will be able to access mobile services across the country.

network to build additional capacity and introduce new technologies, we also had to protect our existing investments,” said Daniel M Florentine, Member, Board of Directors at AWCC. “Nokia Siemens Networks ... will prepare us for a seamless transition to next-generation technologies.”

With almost 17 million subscribers, Afghanistan’s mobile penetration is around 57% (NSN estimate). This contrasts with 2002 when there were no phones in the country (Statement by Afghanistan’s Minister of Communications & IT, June 2010). However, there remains a clear opportunity to expand into under-served parts of the country and to reach more of the rural population. “We are committed to improving the mobile network for our people across Afghanistan. While this demanded overhauling our

NSN will upgrade the radio network with its energy-efficient Flexi Base Station and Flexi Base Station Controller to deliver increased capacity, connectivity and uninterrupted services. In addition, the operator’s energy costs will be reduced by swapping outdated mobile switches with state-of-the-art mobile softswitches. Nokia Siemens Networks will also roll out its subscriber data management system, including its One-NDS centralised subscriber repository, so that AWCC can develop services to meet the needs of different users. And its charge@once billing platform will improve AWCC’s time-to-market for new and targeted marketing campaigns.

Subex to provide ROC™ for fraud management and revenue assurance to Palestinian provider Subex Ltd, a global provider of operations and business support systems for communications service providers, is to deploy its revenue operations centre (ROC) for fraud management and revenue assurance for an operator that provides wireless services to individuals and businesses in Palestine. In a competitive bid for services, Subex was chosen for its flexibility and understanding of the local environment.

processes and productivity, monitor staff performance, and ensure compliance. “Subex is pleased to have been chosen once again to offer its ROC for Fraud Management and Revenue Assurance to help enhance our customers’ operational efficiency,” said Sudeesh Yezhuvath, Chief Operating Officer of Subex Ltd.

The ROC for Fraud Management incorporates differentiators which drive fraud prevention in any telecom environment, including wireless and across all service types including post-paid, prepaid, value-added service (VAS), multimedia messaging service (MMS), m-commerce, IPTV, and Triple/Quad Play. The solution also provides flexible, user-enabled workflows that incorporate notifications and escalations to improve operational

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Sudeesh Yezhuvath, Subex’s COO

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Jon Newbery, Clarity’s CEO: “Incumbent operators are under pressure from new competitors, able to exploit local loop unbundling.”

VIVACOM, Bulgaria's incumbent telecom operator and the country’s fastest growing ADSL provider, has gone live with Clarity’s Unified OSS platform in Plovdiv, southern Bulgaria, according to Australia’s Clarity, a provider of unified telecoms systems.

Initially concentrating on VIVACOM’s fixed line networks, Clarity’s operations support system (OSS) aims to strengthen the operator’s competitiveness, while improving its flexibility and ability to adapt quickly to change. VIVACOM will also be able to reduce costs by increasing operational efficiency through management of service level agreements and key performance indicators. VIVACOM reportedly selected Clarity’s system based on the platform’s ability to deliver a quality OSS within a challenging implementation deadline. Clarity’s pre-integrated suite was key to meeting these deployment timescales. The systems supplied include: • Inventory Manager - unified inventory management for the access network • Service Manager - service provisioning and network activation • Ticket Manager - problem tracking, diagnostics, isolation, restoration and repair • Field Service Manager scheduling field engineers for provisioning and problem resolution tasks. The next phase of the project, rolling out the solution to all Bulgaria’s regions, is now underway.

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

Comptel appoints NSN’s Hintikka as its new Chief Executive

Recruit brilliantly I recently watched a great movie, The Social Network, telling the story of Facebook’s creation. The crux of the story is, take a great idea and then hire wisely. One scene shows a number of applicants competing face to face for a job with Facebook. While they are bashing away on their computers, knocking back tequila, a jeering crowd watches on.

Comptel Corporation has appointed Juhani Hintikka, M.Sc. (Eng.), as its new President and CEO, starting on 3 January, 2011. He is currently the Global Head of Operations Support Solutions Business Line at Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN). Since 1999, at Nokia and NSN, Juhani Hintikka has held management and executive positions in research and development, operations and sales, leading global organisations with sites in India, China and several European countries. He was a member of Comptel’s Board of Directors during 20072008. “The global OSS market for telecoms is undergoing significant structural changes and I am convinced that Juhani has the exact right competencies to accelerate Comptel’s transformation in this growing market”, says Olli Riikkala, the Chairman of Comptel’s Board. Mikko Hytönen, M.Sc. (Engineering), has been nominated as the new Chief Financial Officer, replacing Markku Pirskanen, who is to join another employer. Suard joins VanillaPlus Advisors VanillaPlus is pleased to report that Olivier Suard, Director of Marketing at Comptel Corporation, has agreed to join the Editorial Advisory Board of VanillaPlus.

Olivier Suard

Jeremy Cowan, the Editor, said: “We are delighted to welcome Olivier to the Board, bringing as he does enormous experience within communications BSS and OSS. VanillaPlus has added many new services in the past year – including Video Talking Heads, webinars, and more frequent online news – that we will be leaning heavily on the expertise of the whole Board in 2011 to sustain this growth.”

Jason Bandy

Now, this extreme interviewing method may not suit most companies, but it shows there are many ways to skin the recruitment cat. Over the last few years I’ve been fortunate enough to recruit for Facebook, and I believe they’ve raised the bar when assessing potential new hires and treating candidates well. I see little reason why the OSS/BSS world can’t learn from this success. Here are some suggestions: • • • •

• • Neustar names Lisa Hook as CEO The Board of Sterling, Virginia-based Neustar, Inc. (NYSE-NSR) has elected Lisa Hook as President and Chief Executive Officer of the company. She is currently President and Chief Operating Officer, and succeeds Jeffrey E Ganek, founding CEO of the company, who remains as Chairman of the Board.

Lisa Hook

Sandro Dionisi

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Since joining Neustar in 2008, Lisa Hook has helped the company become an important partner to the content and media industries. “Her experience at AOL brought to us a powerful understanding of the internet, the needs of the Internet Protocol markets and the role Neustar can play,” Mr Ganek said. Telecom Italia takes NGMN Chair The NGMN Alliance meeting in Frankfurt has elected 10 new Board Members for the period 2010 – 2012. They are: Olivier Baujard, Deutsche Telekom; Thierry Bonhomme, France Telecom – Orange; Sandro Dionisi, TI Lab, Telecom Italia; Jong Tae Ihm, SK Telecom; Mitsunobu Komori, NTT DOCOMO; Li Zhengmao, China Mobile Communications Corp; Andy MacLeod, Vodafone Group Services; Kristin S Rinne, AT&T; Bruce Rodin, Bell Canada Enterprises; and Vicente San Miguel Maza, Telefónica. The Board’s first task was to elect as its new Chairman, Sandro Dionisi.

VANILLAPLUS DECEMBER/JANUARY 2011

• •

Make recruitment a high priority: It’s key to your success. Embrace it. Be critical of the current process. Analyse what’s worked well/badly in the past. Take a worst case scenario and plan ahead. The more time you allow yourself to hire, the more likely you are to succeed on time. Reduce the number of suppliers and look for improved fees and additional services in return for greater volume and improved relations. Only use best-of-breed specialist agencies. Work hand in hand with your recruiters, involving them early, openly and fully. Explore how to improve the recruitment process, from a candidate perspective as well as your own. Treat candidates like customers - Always! Take advice – Talk to others who can share experiences and present innovative solutions.

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 Thank you to Kineticom, sponsors of VanillaPlus People News

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Proven blend of experience & expertise



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Global customer footprint – 40+ installations in 20+ countries



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Over a decade of on-time, on-budget Revenue Management deliveries

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...just some of our many satisfied customers learn more at www.ConnectivaSystems.com


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VanillaPlus Hot List: December 2010 / January 2011 - by Nathalie Bisnar, Digital Editor 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

Alcatel-Lucent

TalkTalk Group, UK

3-year agreement to build a Content Delivery Network

10.2010

Amdocs

Transatel, France

Use of Compact Convergence expands to support 3 new pre-paid MVNOs

10.2010

Amdocs

Optimus, Portugal

Amdocs OSS to underpin NGN infrastructure deployment based on FTTH

10.2010

Basset

Djibouti Telecom, Djibouti

Roaming billing & revenue assurance systems for network upgrade

11.2010

Bridgewater Systems

Yota, Latin America

Service Controller in Nicaraguan WIMAX network, expansion to Peru 2011

10.2010

Broadhop

Multiple CSPs, Global

Four installations of virtualised policy management platform

Clarity

VIVACOM, Bulgaria

Deployment of Unified OSS platform in Plovdiv, southern Bulgaria

Comverse

TMN, Portugal

MMS-based, visual voicemail system roll-out

9.2010 11.2010 9.2010

Convergys / IP Integration

NHS, UK

Multiple voice support products installed via channel partner

9.2010

Convergys

Vodacom, South Africa

System upgrade to Convergys Rating and Billing Manager product

9.2010

Convergys

Alltel Wireless, USA

End-to-end replacement of legacy BSS system stack

Convergys

Orange, Austria

Rating & Billing Manager upgraded to meet EU 'bill-shock' regulations

10.2010 10.2010

Convergys

SmarTone-Vodafone, Hong Kong

5-year contract, upgrade to next-gen Rating & Billing Manager Smart App

11.2010

Incognito

Sunrise Communications, Switzerland

Broadband Command Centre to automate delivery of services

Intec

Vivo, Portugal

Completion of mediation system upgrade

10.2010

Intec

Unnamed CSP, Colombia

Standardisation of ops with Wholesale Business Management Suite

10.2010

Intec

Unnamed CSP, USA

Replacement of legacy mediation system with Inter-mediatE

Intec

Unnamed CSP, Mexico

InterconnecT roll-out to manage domestic wholesale billing & settlements

9.2010

9.2010 10.2010

Ixia

Midcontinent Communications, USA

IxRave SLA Assure to monitor enterprise customer service delivery

10.2010

Ixia

Mindspeed, USA

IxCatapult testing to validate Transcede system-on-chip processor performance

11.2010

Mi-Pay

FRiENDi Group, Dubai

Top-up Payment Platform to host recurring and low balance top-up services

11.2010

NetCracker

Telepak Networks, USA

Telecoms & Operations Management to underpin NGN roll-out acceleration

11.2010

Nokia Siemens Networks

Telefonica O2, Czech Republic

Implementation of NSN's security-as-a-service online environment

10.2010

Openet

Unnamed CSP, Africa

Policy and Charging Controls architecture to replace legacy system

10.2010

Redknee

Freedom Wireless Holdings, Canada

License signed to underpin multiple launches of pre- and post-paid services

10.2010

Subex

Emirates Integrated Telecoms, UAE

Implementation of Revenue Operation Centre now complete

11.2010

Subex

Unnamed CSP, Palestine

Chosen to provide ROC for Fraud Management and Revenue Assurance

11.2010

Subex

Unnamed CSP, Africa

Implementation of Revenue Operation Centre now complete

11.2010

Subex

Unnamed CSP, India

Implementation of Revenue Operation Centre now complete

11.2010

Synchronica

Claro Dominicana, Dominican Rep

Mobile email and synchronisation service launched

10.2010

Tribold

BSKYB, UK

Products and Sales Programme deployment agreed

10.2010

Key: FTTH = Fibre to the Home MVNO = Mobile Virtual Network Operator OSS = Operations Support System

ROC = Revenue Operation Centre WiMAX = Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access

T T C S U E D T O LA R P S EW N

Mobile Moments 4.0 tackles service provider challenges in smartphone proliferation and boosting IP profitability The Now Factory, based in Dublin, Ireland, has launched its new Mobile Moments 4.0 suite, several integrated applications that deliver a holistic view of the subscriber data journey across the service provider’s key business and operational functions. Enabled through The Now Factory’s Sourceworks IP probes and the Active Subscriber Intelligence (ASI) platform, the suite aims to help CSPs to increase profitability across their IP networks as well as optimise the subscriber experience. With the emergence of new smart devices such as the iPhone, data usage has grown rapidly as subscribers demand more interactive and personalised services. While this represents an

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opportunity for CSPs to generate incremental revenues, it also throws up challenges in preventing negative network performance impacts, delivering on subscriber throughput expectations, and profitably delivering and managing IP services.

Mobile Moments 4.0 is designed to give a holistic view of the subscriber data journey across the service provider’s key business and operational functions. Its key strength lies not only in its wide range of applications but also in the way it automatically adapts to changing subscriber and network behaviour across all devices and services.

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Deliver the experience with real-time charging and policy Paresh Shah is CTO for Telcordia’s Service Delivery Solutions Business Unit. Previously, he has held senior positions with Comverse, Siemens, Cyberpath and Techion. Paresh Shah has an M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology and a B.S. in Electrical & Computer Engineering from the University of Wisconsin. Here VanillaPlus talks to him about the challenge of legacy infrastructure and business models.

VanillaPlus: Since the theme of this year’s Mobile World Congress is ‘Leading the Transformation’. How should communication service providers view the challenges of transformation? Is this a life or death struggle – or are the threats to them sometimes overplayed? Paresh Shah: Transformation is the only constant; it seems, in the ever-evolving telecommunications market. Standing still is simply not an option and hasn’t been for a long time. The pace of change and the influx of technologies, services and applications has long caused sleepless nights for the telecom CxOs who are focused on delivering the experience du jour that fickle subscribers will continue to pay for. Interestingly, a lot of time and discussion is spent on infrastructure and technology debates. But to truly embrace change, CSPs need to don their marketing hat and reconsider long-standing processes and culture. Those, more than technologies or applications, will be what truly trigger meaningful transformations in the industry. If you think about this for a moment; throughout recorded history, it’s clear that any significant change that threatens the status quo will be perceived as an existential threat by the establishment. When the first major wave of change hit the telecoms sector – the erosion of long-established monopoly models – it was only in hindsight that we saw the benefits in the wave of investment, innovation and creativity that brought lower prices and new and better services. The companies that have survived had to learn to adapt quickly to new conditions. Those that didn’t went under, and the same holds true today. VP: So, what’s leading the transformation today?

“Players from

The second major issue is the erosion of traditional boundaries between different technologies and industry sectors. Driven in large part by the unique flexibility of IP, different players from different sectors are eagerly trying to muscle in to dominate the new shared terrain of our offices, factories, front rooms, pockets and purses. And with this change comes a naive expectation that all communications services should now be magically free.

in on the new

different sectors are trying to muscle shared terrain of our offices, factories, front rooms, pockets and purses.”

Meanwhile, CSPs face financial uncertainty by having to offer highly competitive ‘all you can eat’ packages at uneconomical prices. Even mobile service providers that once prided themselves on having a personal and intimate relationship with their customers could find their strategic dominance eroded by free WiFi or 4G connectivity – especially in high-density urban areas where they typically get the most returns from their infrastructure investment. When you look at the emerging BRIC nations (Brazil, Russia, India and China) and how they’re responding to change; transformation takes on a new light. But the basic tenet for CSPs to deliver a communications experience that gives them a growing portion of the communications wallet remains the same. While growth in these sectors is still huge – India alone is adding around 18 million new mobile subscribers each month – many of the most successful CSPs in these regions have grasped the importance of marketing right from the word go and based

PS: The first and most basic factor is the discontinuity brought by the wholesale adoption

of IP as a near-ubiquitous protocol, that’s capable of carrying speech, data and video at ever higher levels of speed, quality and reliability – and at ever lower cost.

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“Presence and location – with appropriate privacy controls – are two prime building blocks for a range of enhanced services.”

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their business plans on intelligent segmentation – understanding that ‘one size does not fit all’ is the key to stand out from the crowd in this highly competitive market. VP: What steps should CSPs take now to prepare for their business transformations? PS: As CSPs look to ramp mobile broadband and interactive services, CSPs need to move on from all-you-can-eat, unlimited plans which largely target the higher spend users, to tiered service plans that offer broader and potentially more profitable plans that can be targeted to market segments and devices. The next stage is to up-sell the customer with personalised offers that create additional potential for valueadded services. This transformation depends on the introduction of real-time charging and policy systems with a real-time subscriber registry. Adaptability will be key and that means fully understanding, and indeed anticipating, the changing environment that you’re going to be operating in. Communications services reach far more deeply into consumers’ lives than they ever did before when they were limited to basic speech, data or dialup access, and real convergence happens inside the consumer’s head as they increasingly move between different screens, devices, content and applications. In this context, understanding the social aspects and the experience are vital if the relationship between customer and CSP is to become truly ‘sticky’. In a world of apparently evershortening attention spans and where links with ‘friends’, sources of content or trendy applications change faster than fashions, keeping any kind of traditional brand loyalty to the underlying service enabler is going to be difficult.

However, with the right identity or subscriber management, charging, policy and personalised advertising systems and processes in place, the service provider has a potentially very powerful role to play 14

VANILLAPLUS DECEMBER/JANUARY 2011


as a two-sided service delivery enabler – between the customer searching for a good deal and the advertiser looking for eyeballs and pockets to target. With the right experience, a compelling proposition will spread rapidly through the social network and can fast become ‘viral’. Some important caveats do, however, apply here where the issue of identity – with all its subtle facets – are involved. Real-time subscriber management will be key to realising this service delivery. Against this backdrop, respect for a customer’s privacy must be seen as an essential brand value by CSPs – and one that can differentiate them from the ‘fly-by-night’ insecurities of much of the web environment. Ownership and control of the pipe and at least parts of the value chain also allows CSPs to begin to exploit some of the other information assets that they either hold already or can extract from the wider value chain. Presence and location – with appropriate privacy controls – are two prime building blocks for a range of enhanced services that could prove as attractive to customers as to advertisers. VP: As services converge, how can CSPs ensure that their customers enjoy a truly interactive experience? PS: Any strategy involves a greater exploitation of customer data. That is where the keys to the financial kingdom lie. One way around the flatfee, all-you-can-eat model is to give customers options that enable them to decide what is valuable and, by association, what they are willing to pay for such as the ability to control their own services – offering bandwidth tiers that enable subscribers to turn bandwidth or qualities of service up and down as their requirements or budgets allow. Perhaps for others it is personalised services with packaged bandwidth and usage controls, for an email service or access to social networking or media site. Real-time charging and policy management systems and processes are essential if appropriate levels of control are to be delivered to the customer in order to give them the communications experience that fits their preferences, lifestyle and budget. Indeed, subscriber management, policy and charging are assets that CSPs can deploy to their very real advantage. Surveys often highlight that CSPs are trusted by their customers to act as safe intermediaries for international roaming, or for providing access to mobile money and remittance services. That trust can also be reflected in service features that allow users to control access to content or services, and it gives CSPs the opportunity to monetise that access in partnership with third parties. Traditional, business models that only offer one form of payment for services, need more flexibility in this new Interactive World.

VP: It’s all very well knowing that your BSS, OSS or SDP needs to adapt to change – but how do you achieve this flexibility?

“Flexible service delivery, policy, charging and

PS: If we’re to properly exploit all these assets and turn them into the building blocks of viable new business models then there are a number of hurdles that must be overcome – fortunately the technologies to resolve these are already here. The first issue and one that’s been an implicit part of the ‘new’ revenue management environment for over a decade involves the need to move to a truly real-time basis and bridge the traditional gap between supposedly ‘real-time’ IT and the harsh and unforgiving ‘real’ real-time network environment.

revenue management solutions will enable new business models to compete.”

If we’re talking about putting decision-making powers and real choices into consumers’ hands and devices then those transactions must be carried out in real time, they must scale and be highly available, even during maintenance windows and software upgrades. This is especially true in the pre-paid world, where offering all services including high added-value content and applications must be supported by real-time disciplines and real time data to avoid potential frauds. That said, the fast and reliable aggregation of distributed data assets – such as identity, policy, charging, location and presence, – require an equally real-time focus in the post-paid sector if mobile broadband and content services are to be successfully monetised. Closely tied in with these issues of speed and responsiveness comes the need to find ways to deal with the huge volumes of data across multiple systems and networks that must be stored, managed, massaged and accessed to support these new advanced services. In a world of increasingly blurred boundaries, that data must also be protected (or anonymised where appropriate) as customers become more aware of their digital vulnerabilities and legal penalties begin to be reinforced. Similarly, that openness also needs enablers and here we have both the enablers – Service Oriented Architectures (SOA) – and, increasingly, processes through which to apply these disciplines to resolve real world problems, such as the TM Forum’s Frameworx initiative. Realising next generation operations and service delivery is key to assuring services, managing capacity and monetising services on next generation networks. Ultimately, the biggest challenge for CSPs in “Leading the Transformation” comes not from legacy infrastructure and systems, but legacy business models and processes. An industry built on inflexible pre-paid and post-paid system needs to open up with flexible service delivery, policy, charging and revenue management solutions that will enable the new business models required to compete in the race for mobile broadband and interactive services. VANILLAPLUS DECEMBER/JANUARY 2011

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NETWORK

MANAGEMENT

OPERATOR CASE STUDY:

Interoute proactively monitors its IP network to speed the response to customers A leading European provider of bandwidth and transmission services, Interoute is also focused on enabling cloud computing across Europe.

Interoute describes its infrastructure as Europe’s largest next generation network. It also connects to the USA, Middle East, Africa and Asia via eight subsea landing stations. Its network encompasses 55,000 kilometres of lit fibre, connecting 100 cities in 29 countries and includes 21 metropolitan area networks, eight data centres, 32 co-location centres and has local operations in the 26 largest cities in Europe.

Chris Pinnock, Interoute: Accurately determining the underlying problems

Interoute’s full-service next generation network serves international enterprises from a broad range of sectors including aerospace, automotive, finance, pharmaceutical and retail, plus every major European incumbent, as well as the major operators of North America, East and South Asia, governments, universities and research agencies. These organisations use Interoute for hosting content, providing bandwidth and transit services, connectivity or creating new services.

As Interoute drove its business strategy with ongoing investments in new networking technology, the company knew that continued growth and increased market share would heavily rely on network availability and performance. So, the operator decided to invest in a network management system to proactively monitor the infrastructure and root out the real causes of service-affecting network problems.

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Software Development, Interoute. “In addition, the company needed a tool that would determine which services and customers were affected by network problems.” Interoute has been an EMC customer since 2001, when it began using EMC Ionix Operations

“At Interoute we are constantly looking for innovations that will help us provide a better service to our customers. In this case we were looking for a suite of IP Network Management tools to proactively manage our network and accurately determine what the underlying problems were,” said Chris Pinnock, Director of


Intelligence (powered by the patented Smarts™ Codebook Technology) for IP Network Management. Accurate root-cause analysis The top criterion for the new management solution was automated, real-time, and accurate root-cause analysis. Following preliminary evaluations, Interoute came up with a shortlist of two solutions, one of which was based on EMC Ionix Service Assurance Manager software. As Interoute has grown throughout the past decade, so too has its IT infrastructure. EMC products have therefore had to be able to scale to the increased size and complexity. Pinnock adds: “One of the reasons we chose Ionix was for its root-cause engine which can rapidly identify the underlying problems on the network. In our selection environment, Ionix was providing events about the health of the IP network and using its root cause engine to identify the real problems on the network. And it was able to do this with very little customisation.” Interoute issued a request for proposal (RFP) in 2001, after which EMC began working with the operator. The RFP called for an IP Fault and Repair tool which the company could use. A demonstration of EMC Ionix was set up and was polling Interoute’s network within a day. This resulted in Interoute purchasing EMC Ionix IP Availability Manager, IP Performance Manager, and Service Assurance Manager. Two server farms today Today, Interoute requires two EMC Ionix server farms to manage its advanced and densely connected pan-European network: one primary server farm and one back-up. Each farm runs Service Assurance Manager and IP Availability Manager. The IP Availability Manager provides proactive monitoring and real-time, automated root-cause and impact analysis. The Service Assurance Manager integrates and correlates events and topology from multiple sources, to provide end-to-end management of the Interoute infrastructure. As the platform for Interoute’s comprehensive management solution, the EMC Ionix software interfaces with several tools. One is a proprietary inventory system that exports to EMC Ionix the information about what customer services are configured into what network devices.

A second uses a proprietary IP statistics collection tool that sends performance fault information to the EMC Ionix Service Assurance Manager. The solution also works as a discovery and monitoring tool along with managing the domain. These Ionix products work behind the company’s firewalls, virtual private networks (VPNs) and switches to ensure that every day practices are not affected.

“Equally importantly, the system has enabled Interoute to meet and often exceed SLAs.”

Interoute has a transmission network based on three vendors. The company was able to aggregate the network events from these systems into the Ionix system. The EMC Ionix Open Integration adaptor allows Interoute to integrate other alarm systems into Ionix out of the box, which in turn has enabled Interoute to open a network trouble ticket for a problem and automatically cascade tickets open for each customer that is affected. Implementation of the system was said by the operator to be fast and problem-free, allowing for a more rapid return on investment (RoI), and EMC Ionix Professional Services helped expedite the Interoute customer database integrations. Accurate alarms The system reportedly provides high-quality, accurate alarms. It pinpoints the business impact of network problems, so that the operator can immediately differentiate between sympathetic alarms and root-cause problems that affect service. The software’s automated root-cause analysis functionality has addressed a major requirement for Interoute – the ability to manage its large, pan-European network, while keeping costs in check. Plus, the ability of EMC Ionix software to adapt automatically when the environment changes also reduces the time, people, and expense required for system maintenance. Equally importantly, the EMC Ionix system has enabled Interoute to consistently meet and often exceed SLAs. “EMC Ionix allows Interoute to proactively monitor its IP network and respond to customer issues fast. Interoute has leveraged its investment in Ionix by using it as an alarm aggregator for all its network events,” says Pinnock. “Because of its design, Interoute has been able to easily extend EMC Ionix and integrate it with its CRM system for ticketing, its inventory system for impact and, more recently, its business intelligence system for reporting. This work has largely been done in-house and at low cost.” Interoute believes that the ability to boost infrastructure availability and customer satisfaction, while lowering operations costs through automation, will be key contributors to its growth and success.

A pan-European telecoms company, Interoute has grown rapidly over the last eight years. The company provides a single enterprise and wholesale ICT network platform to ensure services are integrated on a single infrastructure, which reduces cost and optimises security, performance and efficiency.

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M O B I L E

A D V E R T I S I N G

EXPERT OPINION:

Personalisation essential to unlocking mobile advertising profits According to a recent Amdocs Interactive Study and Report The heightened interest in more relevant advertising and the raft of recent consumer surveys — revealing people would appreciate (and hence be willing to accept) mobile advertising aligned with their preferences – combine to underline the pivotal importance of personalisation. The excitement in mobile may be relatively new, but players in the online space are well aware of the business benefits personalisation delivers. In the online space personalised recommendations (similar to the Amazon model) – once a source of competitive advantage – are in fact becoming table stakes. The real edge is in strategies that personalise the whole experience, from advertising to purchase.

The contributing authors are Matt Anderson, Head of Product Marketing, Amdocs Interactive (top) and Peggy Anne Salz, Chief Analyst, MSearchGroove

The opportunity Advertisers increasingly view mobile as a viable channel. It gives them access to more eyeballs – there are over 5 billion mobile subscriptions globally as of Q3 2010. It offers an opportunity for advertisers to engage with consumers more frequently and intimately, as handsets are a highly personal medium that consumers carry with them wherever they go. The ability to harness subscriber intelligence and locate consumers’ whereabouts also offers a potential goldmine for targeted advertising. On the flip side, mobile advertising platforms are still relatively immature and lack the metrics that advertisers have come to expect from the online world. Furthermore, it’s uncertain how consumers will accept advertising within this highly personalised medium, and consumer privacy laws will require subscriber opt-in for accessing subscriber intelligence and location for targeting. So, what is mobile advertising and what does it mean to operators from our perspective?

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Mobile offers a number of channels for advertisers – messaging, on/off-portal banners, sponsored search, video, in-game and apps and idle screen. Messaging is by far the largest channel today, capturing over 80% of revenues. The primary business models are similar to the web. Cost per thousand impressions (CPM) are in the low single digits for advertising networks to as much as US$20 to $40 for operators and branded publishers – on average CPM is sub $20. Cost per click (CPC) ranges from $0.10 to $0.50 in the US. So how big is the market potential? According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, global wired and mobile advertising spend is forecast to grow from approximately $59 billion in 2009 to $87 billion in 2013. Gartner forecasts global mobile advertising revenues to grow from $532 million in 2009 to $13.5 billion in 2013 – that could mean that mobile would account for approximately 16% of total internet ad spend in 2013. Growth will be driven initially by ads on mobile websites, but search and map services and downloadable applications will also become strong contributors. And the proliferation of smartphones and affordable data plans are key

Mobile advertising is a channel through which marketers can advertise via mobile operators’ portals and messaging networks, and off-portal

sites. It offers mobile operators an opportunity to generate new revenue streams from two primary ways. First, it allows them to capitalise on the growing mobile advertising market by selling ad inventory on their portals and delivering ads via their messaging networks. Second, it enables them to sell more premium content and apps on their storefronts and capitalise on off-portal commerce by enabling personalised ads, recommendations and searches.


to growth as well. Gartner predicts that Asia will lead, primarily because people use their mobile phone to access the internet, North America will be second due to its high propensity to promote advertising, followed fairly closely by Western Europe, and more distantly by the rest of world. Amdocs mobile advertising and relevance report People want what they want – and they want marketers to get to the point. It’s even more important not to waste our time when we are on our mobile phones. Mobile advertising should therefore be closely aligned with our preferences. This is where permission-based marketing (asking people straight out if they want to receive advertising and interact with marketers) has obvious advantages. However, personalisation technologies can also significantly increase the relevance of mobile advertising. This is the key takeaway of a recent report from Amdocs Interactive based on an analysis of over 200,000 users over a four month period. Amdocs Interactive, part of Amdocs, Inc. and focused on the value added services market, has developed a suite of solutions in areas such as content recommendation, mobile search and mobile advertising. Sitting at the core of this platform is a profiling and personalisation engine that is capable of capturing subscriber intelligence by automatically monitoring the implicit behaviour of how users use and navigate the mobile web. The solution has been deployed by more than 50 mobile operators around the world. The personalisation engine leverages subscriber intelligence to develop a comprehensive model of a user’s interests and those of other like-minded people (known as UCP – User Community Profile). This model is also harnessed by the Amdocs Interactive Ad Personaliser, a solution that combines the learned preferences of mobile users to identify, select and deliver more relevant advertising. By looking at individual profiles, and profiles of like-minded people, the Ad Personaliser builds up an Ad Signature. In simple terms this signature is what users (UCPs) find interesting about a specific ad and which characteristics drive users to click on a given ad. Because the system learns in real time, it can change the ads shown to people on the fly. It can also pick up on important clues regarding what people like/dislike to determine which audience is right for the message.

Better than demographic targeting The Amdocs Interactive study compared the user response to Ad Personaliser Ads (ads shown because they match the UCP) and ads targeted according to ordinary demographics (age group, for example). The findings: Ad Personaliser targeted adverts were, on average, almost twice as effective as the other adverts. Average % improvement relative to benchmark per targeting strategy 120%

“Successful Mobile advertising needs relevance”

Floor Shows Click Rate of Non-Targeted Ads

100% 80% 60%

5x

40% 20% 0% CRM: Top 3 CRM: Top 2 Locations Ages

CRM: Top Age

CRM: Signature

UCP: Signature

CRM: +UCP Signature

A study of Relevance in Mobile Advertising

The bottom line: targeting according to demographics does not significantly improve user click-through. In fact, ads that matched the UCP Ad Signature achieved five times the improvement in click-through. Our take on mobile advertising The growth potential for mobile advertising is significant. Advertisers are accepting mobile as a viable channel. Mobile operators can capitalise on the opportunity by selling ad inventory on their portals and delivering ads through their messaging networks – as well as realise more premium content revenues by directing consumers to relevant content on and off-portal.

“Gartner predicts that Asia will lead, primarily because people use their mobile phone to access the internet.”

People have come to expect (demand) that their interactions with marketers are efficient and convenient. This trend is driving companies to revamp their online approaches to deliver consumers relevant advertising and retail experiences. On mobile – the fiercely personal device we take with us everywhere – the requirement for relevancy is even greater. Marketers can glean a lot from user demographics. However, personalisation and solutions such as Ad Personaliser go a huge step further. They pave the way for marketers / mobile operators to be potentially more effective by arming them with the analytics and insights to determine (even predict) what audience is right for a marketing message. VANILLAPLUS DECEMBER/JANUARY 2011

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A question of clicks Many are predicting a massive expansion in operators’ mobile advertising revenues over the next few years. Steve Rogerson talks to some of the companies involved to see how realistic are those expectations.

With the massive penetration of mobile phones, it was thought that by now mobile advertising would have taken off in a similar way as advertising on the internet did a decade or so ago. But while some companies are using mobile advertising with success, others are finding it a difficult market to break into as they struggle to exploit the medium to its fullest. Andy Bovingdon, Bango: More advanced than fixed internet

Yet early signs are that consumers respond well to advertisements on their mobile phones. Recent research from the Mobile Consumer Briefing in France, Germany and the UK found that 45% of consumers noticed mobile advertising and of those 29% responded to it. More importantly, of those who responded nearly 40% went on to make a purchase.

Mobile operators have a lot of data that can be used to fine tune information about the identity of their customers, including location and call behaviour. This can allow advertisers to target the adverts directly at particular users, yet still many are just putting the adverts out there for all to see and not getting the responses for which they hoped.

This suggests a huge potential market that can be exploited – yet the actual take-off, with

Ads must be targeted “One of the things that is happening is that

VANILLAPLUS DECEMBER/JANUARY 2011

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some exceptions, has been slow. One reason, believes Andy Bovingdon, VP of Product Marketing for mobile billing and analytics company Bango, is a lack of understanding of the mobile market. “This is not just about the smaller screen size but about the way pages are delivered,” he said. “It is not the poorer cousin of the fixed internet, it is more advanced. And key to this is that all mobiles have an identity.”


the consumers are getting ads that are not targeted, so they are not clicking through,” said Kelaine Olvera, Director of Product Marketing at mobile marketing and advertising company Velti. “What is needed is for the mobile users to be segmented by age, location and other profiles, and you can do this for the different types of ad. Until companies make adverts relevant to the consumer, we will not see mass adoption.” But Matthew Anderson, Product Marketing Manager at Amdocs, believes that tracking a user’s behaviour on a mobile device and analysing it using artificial intelligence technology brings up far better targeting results than just using age and gender type data. “Behavioural technology is more effective than demographics,” he said. “A study of 200,000 people over four months a year ago found it five times more effective.” He said artificial intelligence can be used to track what users are browsing and what they are consuming, and this can be combined with the wealth of data owned by operators to target the ads far more specifically. Amdocs is said to be working with an operator in Latin America that plans to roll out such a system across 18 countries, starting with Mexico. “This will show just how effective this can be,” he said. “We haven’t yet seen this on a big scheme because they have to work out consumer privacy issues. We have to be careful that the data the operator holds are not handed to the advertiser but kept in the network. This will be key in Europe where there are huge consumer privacy laws.” Will operators exploit data? Mark Slade, Managing Director of mobile advertising company 4th Screen Advertising, added that operators themselves should exploit this data more. “For operators, the value to them is the data they hold on the consumer for targeted adverts,” he said. “3 is the best example of an operator that has embraced this and tried to get a handle on its user base and let the advertisers target that.” Using social network sites such as Facebook and MySpace can also help boost clickthrough and conversion rates. For example, adverts can encourage consumers with invitea-friend promotions via Facebook with rewards, such as extra goes in contests or discounts if the invited friends click through or convert. “This is using the engagement of people to people that is spreading mobile networking,” said Olvera. “We want people talking about adverts on social network sites and getting other people to take an interest as well.”

Harald Neidhardt, Chief Marketing Officer for mobile advertising company Smaato, agreed. He said: “Social networking is one of the biggest things on mobile, and the intensity of how people use sites such as Facebook is much higher on mobile than online.” Another problem, according to Bovingdon, is that the case being presented to potential advertisers was lacking in terms of the statistics on click-through and follow through. “People put money into mobile and a lot of the basic things you get on the PC are not being delivered,” he said. “The reporting is inconsistent. You may know how many people click on an ad but the conversion rate is not there. This is the main thing that is holding advertising back. People are not getting the data they need to make them feel confident and spend more. They just get basic stats.” He said the assumption that all the PC measuring tools would work on mobile was wrong. And he said that those that appear to work often give false results, especially as a lot of mobiles block third-party cookies by default.

Kelaine Olvera, Velti: Consumers are getting untargeted ads

Harald Neidhardt, Smaato: US will take $1bn in 2011

What was needed, he said, was for many of the largest established companies to follow Google’s lead. Google bought AdMob in May to bring in expertise in this market. “That was smart,” he said. “Other companies need to do similar things to build up their specialist knowledge.” Already a $1bn market in Japan Neidhardt believes this has already started and the mobile advertising industry is already seeing the fruits of its efforts. “Mobile advertising made a big leap this year,” he said, “and will continue growing over the next two years. It will have a big lift. Japan already takes US$1bn in mobile advertising per year. The US will have $1bn (in 2011). It is already a huge market.”

Matthew Anderson, Amdocs: Track behaviour and use artificial intelligence

But Slade believes that mobile advertising has only really scratched the surface so far. “I don’t think it has taken off yet,” he said. “It is still only a small percentage of digital spend, let alone the total advertising spend. I disagree with those who think the market is already here, but it will catch up.” He said with the internet there was a period of six years when it did not grow less than 70% a year and that mobile advertising would eventually follow a similar growth pattern. “It might even be quicker,” he said. “They have done it before with online so they understand the challenges.”

Mark Slade, 4th Screen Advertising: Mobile advertising only scratched the surface so far

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I N

A S S O C I A T I O N

W I T H

. . .

EXPERT OPINION:

The Mobile Marketing Association Considering the groundswell of mobile marketing initiatives and paying business in recent years it’s surprising we aren’t all more familiar with the MMA or Mobile Marketing Association. But following a recent “re-positioning” that may soon change. Here Paul Berney describes the new look of The Mobile Marketing Association.

Paul Berney, Chief Marketing Officer and Managing Director for EMEA, Mobile Marketing Association. To discuss its work or MMA membership, email him on Europe@mma global.com

“We will launch the UK’s first Mobile Marketer Certification Programme after success with the initiative in North America.” - Paul Berney, MMA 22

The Mobile Marketing Association is the premier, global not-for-profit trade association representing all players in the mobile marketing value chain – from agencies, advertisers and brands to handheld device manufacturers, operators, retailers and software and service providers. With more than 750 member companies from all over the world, the MMA is an action-oriented organisation with global focus, regional actions and local relevance. The MMA spent its formative years as an organisation focused on building a new global industry; creating standards and guidelines to support its growth. Now that the mobile marketing opportunity has taken hold, our focus is on getting brands and agencies to increase their spend on the mobile channel. Marketers understand the need to include mobile in their plans, but still need support to find the right role for mobile in the marketing mix. The MMA is therefore working to make mobile an indispensible part of that marketing mix. We’re doing this by working on five building blocks: • Promote the channel, the industry and individual member companies to brands and agencies in order to create more commercial opportunities for MMA members, demonstrating that membership creates a competitive advantage. • Educate brands, agencies and consumers on the full scale and scope of the mobile marketing channel, highlighting its advantages and benefits. • Measure by creating and developing authoritative measurement, metrics and insight into the size, growth, trends and effectiveness of mobile marketing. • Guide by continuing to create and develop guidelines, best practices and standards designed to ease the planning, purchase and implementation of mobile marketing.

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• Protect the opportunity, by representing the industry before regulators and legislators and by managing industry self-regulatory programmes to maximise public and industry confidence in mobile marketing, lower barriers to entry and minimise non-economic costs of doing business. From events to educational programmes, guidelines and best practice publication to industry research, we have a range of initiatives lined up from which the industry can benefit. Later this year, for example, we will launch the UK’s first Mobile Marketer Certification Programme after success with the initiative in North America; equipping marketers in the region with the recognised skills required to compete on a global level. We have also just made the results of our monthly research project available to members, examining the opportunities afforded to marketers by the mobile internet. Past topics have included m-commerce, mobile giving and mobile response to advertising. Meanwhile, in EMEA we have just hosted our Mobile Marketing Association Forum (MMAF) at which a host of big name global brands such as BestBuy, BMW, CNN, Coca-Cola, Electronic Arts, ITV, Kraft Foods, Marks & Spencer, Microsoft, Pepsi and The Guardian shared their thoughts, experiences, challenges, learnings and successes in the mobile marketing field with attendees. Under the theme of ‘now and next’, the programme included speakers from many different vertical sectors including automotive, banking, charities, food and drink, entertainment, FMCG, media, and sport and technology. Information on future Mobile Marketing Association Forums, and all the initiatives discussed above, can be found on the MMA website: www.mmaglobal.com


CONFERENCE REVIEW

FT World Telecoms Conference:

Smart moves for changing times While the FT World Telecoms Conference drew the headlines for two main reasons this year, the event itself failed to live up to the standards of the past, writes Mark Dye, as some presentations did not take into account just who their audience were. But amongst these there were key points of interest for VanillaPlus. On the first day, Ed Richards, CEO, Ofcom (the UK communications regulator), outlined his vision of the global opportunities and challenges for ICT and set out a timeline for the award of that crucial 800MHz and 2600MHz spectrum in the UK.

customers," he said.

Those interested in running 4G networks like LTE will take part in a bidding process that is expected to result in UK licences for these bands being awarded in the second quarter of 2012. With the spectrum itself expected to be available in 2013, it is hoped the networks will be up from 2014 onwards.

Meanwhile, back at the conference, content wasn’t always king, with some glaringly obvious statements being made by vendors, particularly around cloud computing.

Google has already been among those to voice its concern about this, believing the move may harm future growth if ISPs begin to discriminate in delivery of content.

Yet with cost cutting and transformation talk rife, Rick Halton, VP Worldwide Marketing for Communications and Media Solutions, HP, described this as ‘an era of customer choice’ where a tsunami of data was hitting operator networks right now.

In what he described as ‘difficult times’ Richards said that, “innovation and entry – in networks generally, but especially at the edge and over the top – offers as much potential for change as at any time.” While he admitted the timetable itself was stretching, Richards reaffirmed his desire to hit the timescales set because of the spectrum’s significance and the part it would play within the economy and society. “It is clear that we are talking about a very significant step forward,” he added, “not only the most significant release since the 3G auction in 2001, but spectrum which is the raw material that will fuel an explosion in next generation mobile broadband.” UK lagging behind Europe? He sees this as an ‘essential ingredient’ for innovation, for widening choice and developing new services. That said, Ofcom says it is considering roll-out obligations and spectrum caps for UK operators wishing to roll out services in the 800MHz and 2600MHz band. There are already accusations that the timetable to award spectrum in these is putting us some way behind our European counterparts, with Matthew Key, Chairman and CEO, Telefónica

That, of course, is being driven in no small part by the burgeoning tablet and smartphone market which is in turn placing huge demands on networks and eating away profits.

Property of Financial Times Global Conferences

Europe, adding his two penn’orth in telling those gathered that it’s all taking “simply too long”. Net neutrality? Further controversy came by way of UK Communications Minister Ed Vaizey, who, on the second day, highlighted plans that would see internet service providers (ISPs) like BT being allowed to abandon net neutrality and prioritise users' access to certain content providers as long as customers were kept informed. "Under the new provisions providers must present information about their service, including the nature and extent of their traffic management policies and their impact on service quality in a clear, visible and easy to understand form for all their

“We’re going through a kind of transformation here, and identity crisis in terms of service providers who are trying to look into themselves and see what they really want to become in the future – whether it’s a machine to machine player or just a lean pipe,” he said. But before you get out your violin and start having a cry, it wasn’t all bad news for operators. While discussing a strategic approach to cost optimisation, Hannes Wittig, Telecoms Analyst, JPMorgan, came out with a little nugget. He said that in Europe he believes customers are not pricesensitive, something which should be music to carriers’ ears. “Customers are willing to pay and it’s about operators being able to take advantage of that,” he added. www.ftconferences.com/telecoms

VANILLAPLUS DECEMBER/JANUARY 2011

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D A T A

S E R V I C E S

EXPERT OPINION:

Monetising mobile data growth – Challenges and opportunities Today mobile network operators are increasingly facing up to the realities of constrained networks and an impending capacity crunch; it is easy to forget there was a time when most of the world’s UMTS networks were under-utilised. As Guy Reiffer, VP Marketing at MACH writes, following the years of spectrum auctions and network build, there were some who wondered whether the long-promised killer app would actually emerge and justify the huge amounts of capital spent on making 3G a reality. Just a few years later and we have a situation no-one could have predicted: thousands of applications sit on the network and are drawn down into data-hungry devices owned by consumers who increasingly consider internet connectivity to be a human right.

The author is Guy Reiffer, VP Marketing at MACH

“The growth of data services has been encouraging for an industry facing flat to declining voice revenues.”

Domestic challenges Mobile network operators (ably assisted by content and handset developers) have been undeniably successful in the push to encourage data use on their networks, but the results have not been without unintended side-effects – the current overburdening of networks being the most notable example. Regardless of these side-effects, however, the growth of data services has been encouraging for an industry facing flat to declining voice revenues and increased regulatory pressure. For the benefits of the current data gold-rush to be realised though, mobile network operators need to address how data should be monetised. After the vast amounts they invested in 3G, network operators opted for simple pricing strategies in order to encourage rapid take-up of data services. The fixed-rate or flat-rate plans that came to dominate phone bills were a direct result of this strategy.

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The roaming market International data usage has a long way to go before it reaches the levels of uptake seen on home networks. Cost is still seen as prohibitive and pricing structures can be extremely complex, stifling the growth of data usage. MACH statistics show that around 40% of enterprise customers switch off their data capabilities while abroad, so fearful are they are running up expensive bills. For voice, enterprise users have traditionally been at the heart of the roaming business, generating between 70 and 80% of total usage. For data these users are approximately 90% of the total revenue. In a world in which the user expectation is to be able to connect seamlessly regardless of national boundaries, there is a huge potential to take data roaming into the mainstream and boost revenue for network operators. The successful exploitation of this opportunity, however, rests heavily on introducing alternative pricing modes with lower costs for end users while evolving charging and delivering service innovation via specialised platforms. It will also prove vital to convince users to adopt data applications while

This plan succeeded in accelerating the adoption of data-centric applications, most clearly seen in the runaway success of smartphones and their associated app stores. The heady combination of innovative end user apps, simple pricing and the lower price points of feature-rich smartphones has changed user behaviour irreversibly. The current state of affairs has left mobile network operators in a challenging position.

Their networks are congested, the cost of service provisioning has become disassociated from their revenue models and there has been a loss of control of the end user (this relationship increasingly being forged at the apps store). The domestic market is, therefore, presenting a very challenging environment for mobile network operators, and one that could not be more different than that seen in the international roaming market.


roaming and giving them a sense of control on cost. Charging evolution Some of the biggest changes will take place in the way that network operators charge for international services. The most obvious methods of increasing take up of data services lies in lowering cost points and simplifying pricing models, but this is only a part of the answer. The key lies in gaining an intimate understanding about customer behaviour. If data roaming is to be a success, network operators will need to achieve a granular view of subscriber roaming behaviour right, down to the IMSI or even the equipment type (IMEI) level. This is a level of business intelligence granularity that is only now becoming available to network operators, and it will see a new age of micro-segmentation for mobile roaming tariffs. A further evolution lies in providing end users with greater visibility and control of the amount of data they are consuming. By introducing a pre-paid for post-paid (pay-asyou-go) approach to roaming, data use management can effectively be carried out by the subscriber via self-care portals or phone applications, allowing them to monitor closely how much data they are consuming. In addition, operators need to communicate more with their customers. This could take the form of an intervention when a certain data threshold is reached (be this a warning text message or the cessation of service). Such approaches are designed to enhance consumer confidence that there will not be a nasty bill awaiting their return – they are kept abreast of how much they are spending almost as they spend it in near real-time. Service platform and innovation Once consumers have been reassured over the price points of data roaming, the next consideration lies in service enablement. By ensuring the most seamless and comprehensive data roaming solution, mobile network operators will be able to deliver an optimum customer experience that further encourages take-up. For a truly global roaming platform, interstandard roaming will be necessary. The ability to roam between competing network

standards, over either pre-paid or post-paid, will open new roaming markets for network operators and further grow revenue. Nor will this simply be a matter of roaming between GSM and CDMA – canny operators should also look to provision services over any technology be it WiFi or even fixed line (FMC) to offer consumers a complete roaming experience.

“The ability to roam between competing network standards, over either pre-paid or post-paid, will open new roaming markets.”

Embracing alternative standards in a roaming strategy further benefits operators, by allowing them to optimise the costs of carrying data through offloading it to alternative access technologies rather than building out additional base stations to cope with growing capacity demands. By offloading via WiFi operators can save money while keeping standards of quality high, as well as making it faster and cheaper for the end user. Hosted platform services Mobile network operators are at the threshold of a new era of data roaming; one in which services are consumed without the fear of bill shock and optimised to work across any standard. Services will be effectively monetised and pricing will become more flexible. But these changes will require hugely complex operational changes and ongoing maintenance. This can be costly for operators and distract them from their core business processes. For many, the best option will be to outsource aspects of their roaming processes to thirdparty specialists in order to enjoy both economies of scale and product innovation. MACH today is supporting mobile network operators as they look to offer a seamless retail approach to international roaming, as well as helping them more effectively monetise their domestic apps business through payments innovations that are driving flexibility and ease of use. By so doing we are helping to enable operators to most effectively leverage core assets – such as billing, location and subscriber interaction – and maintain a presence in the data value chain. In the final analysis, therefore, the monetisation of data is an important part of the wider story of Telco 2.0, and will prove vital in enabling operators to evolve their business models to the rapidly changing world of mobile data.

VanillaPlus Jargon Buster FMC = Fixed Mobile Convergence IMEI = International Mobile Equipment Identity IMSI = International Mobile Subscriber Identity

VANILLAPLUS DECEMBER/JANUARY 2011

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ASSURANCE

Is outdated agent technology the Achilles Heel of service assurance software? “IBM, for one, paid A swan floats serenely across the pond and we marvel at its majesty. Yet under the an astounding water's surface, there's an ugly duckling paddling like crazy to move forward. Business is a lot like that, says Dan Baker. When we see a large company's elegant website, US$850 million for advertisements, and revenue growth, we believe there's great order and stability in the Micromuse.” business world. In truth, every good business must constantly transform itself to stay relevant.

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VANILLAPLUS DECEMBER/JANUARY 2011

workforce may be let go to keep the mothership on an even keel. As an industry analyst, I'm always curious where the key people go after such mergers. Often, the firms they join or the new companies they create are the next generation of innovators. Recently, I

Oracle Corporation is one of the greatest high tech companies of all time, in part, because it's found a way to continually renew itself. To complement its organic growth, Oracle has acquired dozens of innovative companies over the years. And with each merger, Oracle employees know that a certain percentage of the


met a start-up billing and charging company, California-based MATRIXX Software, and many of the executives there are Oracle alumni. Only four to five years ago, the network / service assurance (NA/SA) sector went through a massive transformation and renewal as companies like HP, IBM, CA, and EMC acquired innovators like Wiley, Micromuse, and Smarts. IBM, for one, paid an astounding US$850 million for Micromuse. So what's the result of those transformations? Well, according to Mark Cowan, CEO at Abilisoft, there's a problem: the big assurance firms are not investing enough to grow the technology they acquired, and in the process they're slowing innovation. These are bold words, but Mark speaks with some authority. After all, he co-founded and ran, Abilitec, one of the leading European suppliers of IBM / Netcool services, consultancy, support and training until he and his partner Andy Onacko sold the business in 2007 to Innovise Enterprise Service Management (ESM) for $10 million. Abilitec did lots of work for BT's 21st Century project, Vodafone, Deutsche Telecom, the Dutch telcos and many financial institutions, primarily in Europe, but also Asia, Singapore and Australia. Now Mark and Andy are at it again, seeking new opportunities to add value through a new assurance company they've formed and selffunded called Abilisoft. My discussion with Mark ran the gamut from management layer integration problems and agent intelligence to changing licensing models and the need for NGOSS plug-and-play. Dan Baker: Mark, I'm curious why guys like you who have successfully sold their B/OSS companies don't retire to the Bahamas, kick off the sandals, and enjoy Margaritaville?

“…the lower layers

DB: Tell me, what's your beef with the way the large assurance firms are handling their product portfolios?

One of our

were neglected. customers was rolling out 130Mb

MC: Dan, the products in the monitoring and OSS/BSS space are largely the same ones that existed at the end of the last century. In the last few months I've seen 4 to 6 RFIs which are asking to refresh toolsets in assurance.

agents within its monitoring package.”

The incumbent software vendors have also raised prices substantially. I've got a customer who was quoted UK£15,000 (€17,700) per server for a management platform when the value of the server is only £3,000 (€3,540). That's crazy. The big players will try to sell you a framework product from the bottom up, but they have multiple generations of product heritage in these larger SA packages. The name on the box may be Big Brand X, but the products underneath are all different legacies and often not glued together properly.

- Mark Cowan, Abilisoft

DB: Now, I understand you sell a service called Monitor the Monitor, which does what the title suggests: monitors monitoring systems. But why is such a service needed in the first place? It sounds redundant. MC: You wouldn't think managing a management system made sense, but consider this real-world scenario. A couple of guys were in the NOC and experienced a very quiet night on the network. But what they didn't notice is that the event collection system had crashed. The management views were still alive so nobody noticed! The system was down for 8 hours and coincidentally a major customer suffered an outage during that period resulting in a costly SLA breach. That's why we developed a product that looks under the covers to see if monitoring systems are working as they're intended. We have created a business model whereby our integrator partners sell this service as an add-on to a support contract.

Mark Cowan: I’d be bored! Maybe in 10 years or so, but the market is too exciting a place to be

right now, so it’s too soon to even contemplate retirement.

As Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Abilisoft, Mark Cowan is responsible for the company’s strategic direction and growth. Prior to this, Mark was CEO at Abilitec, Europe’s largest Tivoli Automation Services partner; a company that consistently delivered double-digit growth year-on-year. Abilitec was acquired by Innovise Plc in 2007, and for the next two years, Mark managed Innovise’s ESM division and successfully integrated a number of businesses within that structure.

Dan Baker is the Principal Market Synthesizer and Co-founder of Technology Research Institute (TRI). He is also research director of a new online community, the Revenue Assurance Roundtable.

VANILLAPLUS DECEMBER/JANUARY 2011

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SERVICE

ASSURANCE

The key issue here is a failure in the event collection or agent layer of the system. And much of the current agent technology is quite old -- 15 years old in many cases. The major vendors are delivering the management layer and service views very well, and that's been their publicity front in the past few years, but it's just not good enough if the bottom data collection layer is not robust.

“Every technology market needs a safety valve.” - Mark Cowan, Abilisoft

DB: Mark, what you're saying must be causing a bit of a stir. The network / service assurance software business was supposed to be mature: the big guys swallowed up most of the little guys – end of story. And the battle for leadership was all about leapfrogging competitors to become the Manager of Managers. That's the trump card Micromuse played so well. But now you're saying these well-entrenched products are vulnerable at the data collection layer? MC: Micromuse Netcool was a great product. And I’m not casting doubt over the other major players in the market. That's not the point. The problem – and this is what I hear from all of the new business opportunities that we are working on – is that these manager of manager solutions are often built on legacy products at the lower layers. Good dashboards and visibility at the service management layer are important, but if the underlying infrastructure is weak, it doesn't mean a thing. It's fundamental. And as these large companies acquired smaller companies to build market share, the investment went into the upper layer interfaces while the lower layers were neglected. To give you an idea, one of our customers was rolling out 130Mb agents within its monitoring package. That's very clunky technology and a nightmare to manage. By contrast, the agent we offer is at most 30Mb and uses minimal CPU and memory. Even though the price of memory has come down, having a small footprint is key to keeping the agent layer light, nimble, and lightning fast.

VanillaPlus Jargon Buster NGOSS = Next Generation Operations Support System RFI = Request for Information

28

But having a small footprint is only one of the issues. Another critical innovation is agent intelligence. When Abilisoft deploys agents on existing systems, they are designed to call back on their own to a central web server. So, if you want to update instructions to all the 2,000 agents that our customer has deployed, then the agents go back to the web server automatically – say every month – and ask the central web server if it has an update. So, it's a very simple mechanism for updating all your agents. And it doesn't involve customer interfaces and a lot of expense in updating. The newer agents can do things autonomously. They know what's around them too, so if an event

VANILLAPLUS DECEMBER/JANUARY 2011

comes in, they can also take some local action in response. Another issue is the ability to make changes in the agent layer. For example, you might have a bunch of servers that are always running at 95% CPU, but the standard monitoring protocol is to send an alert at 75%. Now, so you're not flooded with alarms, Abilisoft enables the local team responsible for those servers to set the threshold at 96%. In other words, the local IT team can self-provision their agent technology to suit their local business needs. And this also reduces the workload on the OSS teams. You’re not just saving time and enabling a more nimble organisation, you're also radically reducing maintenance costs. DB: How disruptive is it to insert new agent technology in an existing monitoring system? MC: It's relatively pain-free to implement our agent technology. One of clients, a major Swiss bank, has acquired dozens of different data collection technologies over the years. For them we installed a new, more robust agent that goes directly to the EMSs and network elements and rolls up the data to whatever management platform the customer chooses. So we've automated a lot of the bank's processes, which in fact, was a major requirement. In addition, the Mean Time to Repair is now rapid, plus the customer realises even more cost savings from self-healing. Abilisoft's philosophy is to replace the bottom agent layer and leave everything above the same. DB: Finally, Mark, I'm curious about your plans for growing Abilisoft . . . MC: In the UK market, we certainly can help carriers do things better at the agent layer. But emerging markets are probably a bigger opportunity long term because there we can go straight in and put newer and better solutions in from scratch. Our key message is: "We don't care who you choose for the upper service management layer, just install our agent technology underneath it all to make sure the overall solution performs." It all goes back to the NGOSS idea of connecting various independent components to deliver a best of breed solution. Every technology market needs a safety valve to prevent a few big companies from gaining so much market share that they can dictate prices and get away with delivering an inferior product. Even still, powerful incumbents are useful in one way: they provide a golden opportunity for challengers like Abilisoft to prove their mettle.


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WEBINAR PREVIEW

Customer-centric revenue management Over the last few years, most service providers worldwide have established internal competencies for revenue assurance and fraud management to identify and fix the most common and traditional sources of revenue leakage and fraudulent abuse. Webinar Date & Time Thursday, 3 February, 2011

07.00 hours Los Angeles • 10.00 New York • 15.00 London 16.00 Madrid • 19.00 Dubai • 23.00 Singapore To Register for this Free Webinar go to: www.vanillaplus.com

The key speaker is Anandan Jayaraman (AJ), Chief Product & Marketing Officer, Connectiva Systems

However, with the explosion of content and interconnect partnerships, the evolution of two-sided business models, the expanding repertoire of fraudster tricks and increasing subscriber demands for a seamless experience, there is a dire need for revenue management to break out beyond conventional techniques and cater to the needs of the next generation telco. The notion of customer-centric revenue management is built around the core idea that mapping subscriber events across varied touch points, and sensing disconnects and anomalies over the subscriber life cycle, can be a far more effective way to optimise revenue vs. taking a systems / internal perspective. It also paves the way for developing a cohesive and unified subscriber analytics strategy to address the requirements of the CFO, CMO and CCO organisations using a common platform and methodology. A ‘How to’ agenda In this latest free webinar in VanillaPlus’s Thought Leadership Series, we will discuss how to:

Independent analysis will be given by Dan Baker of the Technology Research Institute

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1. Monitor, manage and measure revenue leakage over the lifecycle of every subscriber including lost opportunities 2. Transform revenue assurance (RA) orientation from reactive (recover lost revenue) to proactive and preventive (avert losses) 3. Discover the "unknown unknowns" in hitherto unseen patterns of fraudster activity and new sources of revenue leakage 4. Identify disconnects in customer experience that can have a serious impact on satisfaction, adoption and retention 5. Calculate and assure margins per subscriber activity by mapping activities across the entire revenue and cost value chain 6. Correlate events across time, channel, service and network to derive meaningful insight and translate them to immediate and purposeful action?

VANILLAPLUS DECEMBER/JANUARY 2011

The Speakers Anandan Jayaraman (AJ), is the Chief Product and Marketing Officer, Connectiva Systems. He has worldwide responsibility for corporate and product strategy, product management, marketing and business consulting. Based in Silicon Valley, California, AJ has extensive management experience in leading change, transforming go-to-market models and driving revenue growth for telecommunications and media companies around the world. Prior to Connectiva, AJ was Vice President of Industry Strategy at SAP where he played a pivotal role in acquiring and building a vertical solution portfolio for communications and media, and previously Head of Industry Solutions at Epiphany where he managed all industry segments. AJ is also a regular speaker at telecom, media and CRM events worldwide and has published extensively in trade journals. With Independent Analyst comment by Dan Baker, Senior Analyst, Technology Research Institute 5 Key reasons to attend this Free webinar 1. Learn about the core tenets of customercentric revenue management 2. Learn how to transform the orientation of revenue assurance and fraud functions from reactive to proactive and preventive 3. Hear real-life Customer Case Studies and ‘War Stories’ on next generation RA and fraud management 4. Learn how to leverage synergies across customer experience management, revenue assurance and fraud 5. Learn how to establish win-win business models with vendors and systems integrators that can minimise risk and align pay-outs with performance


W E B I N A R P R E V I E W : M O B I L E D ATA C H A R G I N G

A move towards the consumer empowerment cycle in the post-unlimited data era Flat-fee failure The explosive growth of mobile data services and applications has been one of the defining industry trends of the past 12 months. While the increased uptake of mobile broadband has created a new revenue stream for mobile operators, it has also added the headache of increased mobile network congestion and declining ARPU (average revenue per user) due to increasingly competitive flat-fee data packages. Recently, we have seen the British government announce spectrum auctions for 2011 and ABI Research predict that between now and 2015 mobile data usage will increase at compound annual growth rates of 42% in Western Europe and 55% in North America. The principal challenge operators currently face is realising the revenue potential of mobile broadband in the face of network bandwidth strain. While many operators have chosen to scrap unlimited ‘one-size-fits-all’ mobile data plans, signalling a positive change – the alternative may be considered somewhat of a U-turn by effectively reverting to volume-based and capped pricing plans. It is worth pointing out that it is exactly these types of charging schemes that previously caused consumer confusion over mobile data charges and hindered initial uptake of the first wave of mobile data services in the early 2000s. An alternative model: the cycle of consumer empowerment Operators’ key priorities surround stimulating subscriber growth, ensuring competitiveness and securing return on investment from network investments (1). In terms of charging, operators have tended to rely upon three principle pricing strategies; volume-based, speed-based and timebased, however, each has distinctive flaws. Volume-based pricing strategies often present challenges around consumer understanding (i.e. “What is a Megabyte?”), while speed-based pricing strategies pose difficulties in terms of the inability to guarantee advertised speed levels (e.g. variation at peak/off-peak times). Finally, the transparent nature of time-based models makes rival operator’s packages easily comparable and encourages the ‘race-to-the-bottom’ culture. These disadvantages reinforce how a ‘one-sizefits-all’ approach to mobile data pricing is ineffective. Central to revolutionising the mobile data charging cycle is to empower consumers with greater flexibility to tailor their data packages as their needs change, while providing

operators up-sell opportunities that drive economies of scale. This cycle incorporates the following core elements: 1. Control & Choice Consumers must currently choose from broad tariff packages which do not take into consideration the variety of individual users’ needs. There often appears to be limited awareness of the potential add-ons that can provide users with enhanced value and, in turn, benefit operators’ bottom line. If subscribers had the capability to build and adapt their own package as and when their needs evolve, this in turn could provide operators with additional revenue. 2. Trust Consumers have limited control over their awareness of spend and their trust can be eroded by ‘bill shock’. Subscribers want to pay for what they get value from. Research (2) conducted by Acision last year illustrated that 50% of subscribers said having a real-time indication of spend would encourage them to spend more. By enabling real-time spend control and notifications, operators can turn the fear of bill shock into a positive sales opportunity. 3. Targeting & promotion Moving towards a charging per use model which incorporates more effective targeting and the creation of rewards and promotional campaigns will not only increase customer loyalty and drive more value from the customer base, but also drive new revenue streams. Charging into the future The move towards a cycle of consumer empowerment is essential to developing and delivering mobile data pricing strategies which are more compatible with the services being provided. Only through the introduction of more targeted and flexible pricing can operators fully realise the true potential of mobile data services, while building a loyal subscriber base and ensuring customer satisfaction.

Rob Jones, VP of Product Marketing and Business Development, Mobile Data Charging, Acision, outlines the need for operators to roll out alternative pricing strategies which will generate new revenue streams and enable the delivery of an enhanced user experience

WEBINAR DATE Thursday, 26 January 2011 9.00 hrs New York; 14.00 London; 15.00 Paris; 18.00 Dubai.

[1] Informa Telecoms & Media, 2008 [2] Acision/Toluna EU roaming legislation research (2009)

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SPECIAL REPORT PREVIEW

A VanillaPlus & Moriana Group Special Report sponsored by Intec:

Maximising Content Revenues As our world becomes increasingly digital, the demand for content consumed on the move is becoming mind-boggling. Industry forecasts suggest that mobile data volumes will more than double every year through 2014 and reach a level of 3.6 Exabytes per month – the equivalent of 2.5 billion 90-minute movies. (Free Report at www.vanillaplus.com) Movies, streaming video, games, other entertainment, messaging and social networking – not to mention plain old voice communication and the increasingly important enterprise application usage – will all drive this usage in their own way. The simplest digital content eco-system model has four primary facets: the creators and distributors of content; the networks that transport the content; the device manufacturers who enable content discovery, download and consumption; and finally the users themselves. The studios and content developers are delighted to reach their audience via as many channels, and over as much time (think Long Tail), as possible.

Register online to download this Free Special Report at: www.vanillaplus.com

“The operator is in

Device manufacturers are thrilled to tap into a vibrant and growing market demand for the latest and greatest gadgets. Consumers are the ultimate benefactors; able to personalise their digital world to access the content they want, when they want it, wherever they want it, and on the devices they want (TVs, PCs, mobile phones or tablets). The eco-system is teetering at an inflection point: ‘typical’ usage patterns and throughput have not yet been established, but will emerge as the user experiments and achieves the optimal mix of content, time and place to suit both his personal and professional use. App stores and more Recent commentary has centred on content consumed through the hundreds of proliferating app stores: music, games, photos and educational, enterprise or productivity applications. A significant percentage of content, sourced from app stores or elsewhere, will be paid for. The earlier movie example was selected purposefully: by 2014 up to 66% of all mobile traffic will be video. The importance of video has already been established, with 35% of all US television viewers today watching online video, to supplement rather than replace their traditional sofa-sitting TV consumption.

a position to offer It is widely recognised that the network operator is the odd man out in this eco-system. The

great value.” broadband network capacity required to deliver

all of this content to users and their multiple devices is significant; yet a typical content transaction involves money changing hands directly from user to content provider or store. The imperilled service provider faces the prospect of getting no revenue from the transaction, and thus declining profits from which to fund the capacity build-out necessary to keep the model functioning. 2010 has seen interesting developments, as network operators attempt to re-insert themselves into the value chain. Tiered data price plans are helping to shape traffic as they align price points with usage patterns; the consumer benefits are clear, but the ultimate impact on network operator profits remains to be seen. Look upstream, too To further assert their role within the value chain, network service providers must cast their sights beyond the consumers to the upstream players as well. Their long-established business operations have developed assets that are highly valued by the purveyors of content. Some of these include having access to an extensive subscriber base, real-time knowledge of network activity and consumer behaviour, and a robust sales and distribution platform. Further, and of primary importance, is the ability to manage service agreements for a longstanding relationship, and not just a single, ad hoc transaction, with extensive built-in capabilities for multiple pricing options, bundling, payments and settlement. The death of the service provider may have been widely predicted but will turn out to be, as Mark Twain wrote, “an exaggeration.” With several critical assets, precious to both upstream and downstream customers, the operator is in a position to offer great value.

More than just a pipe... ...Maximising Content Revenues A Special Report from VanillaPlus, Moriana Group & Intec 32

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VIDEO INTERVIEW PREVIEW

An app store is not an app strategy Single operator offerings are leading to increased industry fragmentation and stifling innovation, according to Johnson Agogbua of Alcatel-Lucent. Here, we preview a video conversation with him, coming soon on www.vanillaplus.com In the bricks and mortar world, setting up a store and opening your doors is not a recipe for retail success. In the app world, as in the real world, it's the products you offer that define whether an enterprise will attract customers or not. Operators have learned this lesson as their app store initiatives have had limited success, or even withered – to date only one app store has truly thrived, and while it does support multiple devices on a single operating system, it is essentially a ‘closed’ eco-system locking out many service providers. So, why are dedicated operator offerings largely showing disappointing results? The answer is "fragmentation." Industry fragmentation is the biggest obstacle to applications innovation. Thousands of devices, hundreds of service providers and a growing community of app stores impose limitations on app developers, who are forced to make tough choices about the devices on which an app will run and which networks to target. Selecting an app store is equally challenging, as developers must satisfy the store requirements to certify an app before it can be sold. These factors drive up development costs and slow time to market. This fragmented approach limits service provider access to talented developers and innovative apps for their stores, so they often miss out on business opportunities while absorbing increased investments that support ‘over the top’ players. Putting app stores at the centre of their strategy may not be the best way of ensuring app success. Application Enablement There is another option for service providers, however, that can help them to reverse this course – exposing some of their key network assets to application developers, a strategy that Alcatel-Lucent calls ‘Application Enablement’. This strategy aims to reduce the fragmentation in the industry by creating new business models that promote greater collaboration between service providers, application developers and content providers. By focusing on the secure exposure of networks assets, service providers can attract developers and accelerate that creation of apps that combine trusted network capabilities with the speed and innovation of the web. This results in richer service experiences for consumers and businesses.

Telecom networks offer developers significant advantages as an apps platform because they can meet the requirements for cutting-edge services that are highly personalised and interactive. They can seamlessly blend voice, data and video capabilities – and deliver them to all types of devices. Helping developers to more easily and affordably build applications that work on multiple device platforms broadens telecom apps stores. In addition, telecom networks offer valuable subscriber data that is not otherwise available, enabling developers to personalise new applications. By enabling developers to easily grab network APIs (application programming interfaces), such as presence, that can be mashed up into new applications, service providers create value for all the players in the value chain. This also can create a dynamic where service providers, app developers and content providers can establish new kinds of revenue-share models, leading to win-win-win scenarios. Developers can extend application scale, reach and discoverability. Service providers can generate new sources of revenue and grow their app store content. And a continuous stream of new services can be enjoyed by consumers and businesses.

ON VIDEO Johnson Agogbua, President, Application Enablement & Enterprise Solutions for Alcatel-Lucent, is driving the solutions associated with Application Enablement. It’s a vision that combines the trust in which service providers are held with the speed and innovation of the web to create a richer and more trusted Web 2.0.

Applications Enablement lays foundations for the inter-dependent community of service providers, enterprises, app developers and content providers to prosper by providing the end-to-end tools and incentives to bridge today’s fragmentation barriers. For this approach to be successful, service providers need to expose their networks in a common, standardised fashion, so that app developers become participants in a truly open eco-system. Fortunately, industry standards bodies are now laying the foundation for this eco-system, and early results are promising. Think of Application Enablement as a business plan for app success – ensuring that consumers and business users have access to a rich variety of multimedia services and personalised experiences that leverage the unique capabilities and assets of service providers. It’s a proven formula for driving traffic, revenue and customers to your door.

VanillaPlus Jargon Buster API = Application Programming Interface

VANILLAPLUS DECEMBER/JANUARY 2011

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Upcoming Events VanillaPlus Thought Leadership Webinar 3 February, 2011 – Connectiva Systems Customer-centric revenue management

GSMA Mobile World Congress 14-17 February, 2011 Fira Convention Centre, Barcelona, Spain www.mobileworldcongress.com

07.00 hours Los Angeles 10.00 New York • 15.00 London 16.00 Madrid • 19.00 Dubai 23.00 Singapore www.vanillaplus.com

VanillaPlus Thought Leadership Webinar 26 January, 2011 – Acision Real-time charging and spend control - empowering the consumer in the post-unlimited data era 09.00 New York • 14.00 London 15.00 Paris • 16.00 Dubai 22.00 Singapore www.vanillaplus.com Customer Experience Management in Telecoms 24-27 January, 2011 Le Meridien, Piccadilly, London, UK www.customerexperienceevent.com

VIDEO REVIEW

Real-time analytics in 4G 4G networks will create new opportunities for operators and service providers to develop differentiated wireless services that generate new revenues. But the 4G era will also bring fresh challenges, including the complexity of delivering services across different wireless evolutions (2G, 3G, and 4G) and the pressure to deliver bandwidthintensive applications to the satisfaction of demanding customers. As we discover in a new video featuring Ari Banerjee, of Heavy Reading and David Wiseman of Sybase, customers will only spend more money if they perceive value and enjoy the experience. To deliver revenue-generating services that customers want, without overloading networks and losing control of costs, operators must find new ways to manage their operations. For this level of control they will require in-depth understanding of operations and the ability to react in real time. Business intelligence (BI) will play a pivotal role in their ability to manage the balance between customer experience and cost. Telcos have traditionally operated with a complex set of data silos, with useful information residing in CRM, billing, inventory, provisioning and fulfilment, and service management systems. Just extracting the data from individual point solutions has been challenging to do in real time, let alone using real-time analysis to identify important patterns across and between those sources. Real-time analytics and BI play a critical role in 34

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determining service provider profitability in 4G services, by assigning probability to future events, predicting future value on service launch and profitability, and catalysing advanced customer segmentation. With decision-makers and frontline personnel demanding ‘live’ information, analytics and recommendations, operators are now seeking a more rapid, cost-effective approach to analyse quickly-changing data from various touchpoints. Real-time analytics provides the ‘brains’ to produce new, high-level events that can trigger a response as well as high-level information on the current state of the business. Sybase IQ processes complex queries against massive data sets within seconds, allowing CSPs to mine operational systems and historical data to support smarter business processes and customer services.

Go to VanillaPlus.com to watch Ari Banerjee (above), a Senior Analyst with market research firm Heavy Reading, and David Wiseman (below), Director of Business Development at Sybase (an SAP company), being interviewed by the Editor, Jeremy Cowan.


EVENT PREVIEWS

Customer Experience Management in Telecoms 24-27 January, 2011 Le Meridien, Piccadilly, London, UK www.customerexperienceevent.com Are you struggling to differentiate your customer experience management (CEM) strategy? Attend Telecoms IQ’s Customer Experience Management conference to network with CEM pioneers and share tactical approaches to CEM. At a time when every customer is key to maintaining your market share, learn how to develop, justify and leverage a differentiated customer experience management strategy to maximise your revenue.

www.customerexperienceevent.com

VanillaPlus Thought Leadership Webinar 26 January, 2011 – Acision Real-time charging and spend control - empowering the consumer in the post-unlimited data era Join and Acision and VanillaPlus to hear about:

The market forces driving the necessity for real-time charging services The consumer empowerment cycle – how to empower the consumer by adopting targeted, differentiated pricing and spend control strategies

The death of ‘rip and replace’ billing and charging – taking the adjunct approach and finding the value to the operator How the consumer empowerment cycle will alleviate churn, maximise profitability and drive real return on investment (RoI)

14.00 London • 15.00 Paris • 09.00 New York • 16.00 Dubai www.vanillaplus.com

GSMA Mobile World Congress 14-17 February, 2011 Fira Convention Centre, Barcelona, Spain www.mobileworldcongress.com The mobile eco-system is in the midst of an unprecedented wave of transformation. As business models adapt, new verticals and players emerge. Technology evolves, perceptions shift, and lives are improved. At the centre of this transformation is GSMA Mobile World Congress, the annual gathering of the mobile industry. Its participants -- 50,000 senior mobile leaders from 200 countries - enable, accelerate and direct this transformation, leading us into the Mobile Future.

This year's Congress will include: • A conference featuring visionary keynotes and actionprovoking panel discussions • An exhibition with more than 1,300 companies • App Planet - the new centre of the apps universe • An awards programme that highlights the most innovative mobile solutions and initiatives from around the world • Mobile industry networking, finding business opportunities, and making deals.

www.mobileworldcongress.com

More than just a pipe... ...Maximising Content Revenues A Special Report from VanillaPlus, Moriana Group & Intec VANILLAPLUS DECEMBER/JANUARY 2011

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VIDEO REVIEW

How to get the best out of your data Arantech defines customer experience management (CEM) as “the ability to proactively monitor and manage, in real-time, the lifecycle experience of every customer that comes into contact with ... a communications provider”. Founded in 1999 and acquired by Tektronix Communications in 2008, Arantech is a leading provider of CEM systems to communications service providers worldwide. VanillaPlus recently caught up with James Doyle, VP Product Management & Marketing, to hear the company’s latest initiative to enhance user experiences for CSP customers. CEM solutions enable communication service providers (CSPs) to gain an enhanced level of service visibility and a deeper insight into subscriber experience – safeguarding themselves against churn and ARPU decline.

See James Doyle (above) interviewed by the Editor at VanillaPlus.com

Arantech’s widely deployed and awardwinning touchpointTM CEM system does this by building and storing real-time experience customer metrics for every customer in the network which are visualized through a set of rich user interfaces and business intelligence tools. The company’s recent addition to its CEM portfolio, OpenPlatformTM, will facilitate the reach and access of this valuable customer-centric data by external third party applications and other existing OSS and BSS systems. CEM metrics extended OpenPlatform provides the solution through a number of different tailored channels to the data, refining the data for each use case, eliminating the noise and distilling the information down to exactly what is needed. This suite of high-performance applications and interfaces extends the reach of CEM metrics across all interested parties in the organisation – unlocking the value of customer experience data and making the operator’s business processes truly customercentric.

“ProData allows raw data to be extracted from touchpoint and conditioned in different ways.”

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OpenPlatform is about two things: Accepting the fact that they are not going to be able to address all of the needs of CEM across all stakeholders, but also making sure that data is structured to ensure that questions can be answered coming from the business. OpenPlatform is a set of components acting on their data in slightly different ways, depending on needs.

VANILLAPLUS DECEMBER/JANUARY 2011

The first component that Arantech has already delivered on with OpenPlatform, is an element called ProAction. It is the capability to take extreme, real-time data from the heavy-lift aggregation engine, which is the bottom part of touchpoint, and allow the right business rules on top of it for the customer to write business rules and implement what they call the ‘find and fix’, event-triggered use cases. Return on investment (RoI) It had a strong business case and drove good RoI use cases, but no-one could interact with it from a business perspective, they had to write a use case on top of it and write the rules. Driven by this, the next component to be released within OpenPlatform, ProData, is much more business-focused. ProData allows raw data to be extracted from touchpoint, and to be conditioned in different ways to meet the needs of multiple different BSS stakeholders. For example, for a business analyst within the operator with specific reporting needs, ProData supports open business intelligence tools like IBM Cognos or SAP Business Objects. The data will be structured so that a business analyst can interact with it themselves and write reports. Bridging the gap between OSS and BSS functions in terms of the customer data available to each has been a long standing problem for CSP’s. This new approach to customer experience management could finally unlock the business – as well as operational potential – of CSPs’ customer and network data. Operators need to make their data available to all functions of their businesses. The technology is now here to enable them to reap the rewards of their data gathering and repositories.


E - B I L L I N G & A N A LY T I C S

EXPERT OPINION:

Removing BSS complexity while enhancing the business customer experience The level of data, products and services offered by communications service providers (CSPs) has increased greatly in the last 10 years, to the point where complexity is placing unnecessary burdens on customer operations, increasing costs while negatively impacting customer experience. Coupled with new business models and increased focus on communications propositions for particular market segments such as enterprise, the complexity of managing those highest revenue customer relationships has risen significantly, and in turn is negatively impacting the ability to differentiate in business customer markets. In the last few years growth has predominantly come from emerging markets and mobile broadband; high volume, but low profit markets. As the market turns to new segments and new models to drive growth, CSPs are increasingly looking to the enterprise market, where there remains a compelling opportunity for investment in order to achieve profitable, long-term growth. Focus has always been given to high-ARPU business customers and this will continue. But how can CSPs differentiate their services and drive growth from this complex, enterprise customer base while predominantly leaving the existing O/BSS asset base in place without further complex and costly transformation? These are customers that are looking for greater value from their communications services and, in many cases, fewer suppliers. Being able to present a consolidated ‘single view’ of products and services, along with the necessary online care and billing analytic capabilities to help customers manage their businesses, has never been more important. As business customers have more choice and alternatives are easily available, adding value at the experience layer to communications solutions will become an increasingly important selling point. Moving forward, requirements and expectations from business customers will be higher, expecting more analysis on usage, profitability, SLAs, pricing and more online management of their communications services. The burden of proof will be on the CSP; which means looking creatively at greater levels of

enablement across the customer experience layer. Offering these capabilities today is becoming key to meeting customer expectation, and tomorrow it will be a necessity. The role of BSS in customer experience management Most, if not all CSPs are driven by a mantra to be customer-centric. While this makes sense to most, it has proven easier said than done to many. On an operational level, the supporting functions that provision the necessary services for customers are forced to operate across a number of vertical or rather silo systems for billing and CRM. This often results in a focus on improving the individual systems supporting a particular product or the highest revenue generator, rather than enhancing the overall customer experience offering utilising all vertical systems. The challenge for CSPs is to find a horizontal approach that is scalable, enabling a ‘single view’ capability, converged reporting and an enhanced on-line experience for customers. In many respects customer management is in its third-generation from a solution support point of view, and BSS transformation has been predominantly driven by the need to rationalise complex back-end systems to save cost. However, a new online layer driven by unified e-billing and analytics can unify multiple data sources and leave the existing O/BSS asset base in place. E-enablement is seen by many as a way to provide a single view of customers and services, and so a greater focus on e-billing analytics provides a way to offer an enhanced customer experience. Customer experience in the area of e-billing is dependant on information from the existing BSS environment, an approach that utilises the value from existing assets with minimal impact on investment level and resources. Enhancing customer experience through e-billing and analytics adds value to existing customer care, CRM and billing solutions – as well as being agile to new and future customer requirements. www.martindawessystems.com/solutions

Drew Rockwell, CEO of MDS, an awardwinning provider of business customer experience management solutions for CSPs, discusses the opportunities to differentiate services and remove back office OSS/BSS complexity with dedicated enterprise e-billing and analytics.

VanillaPlus Jargon Buster O/BSS = Operations / Business Support Systems SLA = Service Level Agreement

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WEBINAR REVIEW

Transform your OSS/BSS system and processes to enable cloud services Bringing communications intelligence to cloud computing is one key to success for CSPs with their eyes on the cloud service sweet spot. As insight to the business models of communications service providers (CSPs) went under the spotlight, in an exclusive VanillaPlus webinar, data flooded in from delegates around the world responding to questions polled during the session. The results indicate that much of the sector, at present, is still just getting ready to implement cloud strategies. Dan Baker, Senior Analyst and Founder, Technology Research Institute

Hamid Modarressi, Vice President Business Process Innovation Group, Aricent

The reviewer is Georgina Elrington, a freelance telecoms writer

VanillaPlus Jargon Buster SME = Small to Mediumsized Enterprise

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The key speaker, Hamid Modarressi, VP of Business Process Innovation Group at Aricent, was joined by Dan Baker, Senior Analyst and Founder of Technology Research Institute, on 18 November. The discussion was moderated by Jeremy Cowan, Editor of VanillaPlus. Cloud service offerings, already emerging from CSPs in the computing and storage sectors, appear to be a win-win situation for both business customers, looking for better cost control, and service providers laying new revenue streams atop existing relationships. However, high-end competition is already in motion as companies such as Oracle and Microsoft begin to sell such services to their customer bases. In the presentation, Hamid shared some considerations for CSPs looking to become more competitive and generate revenue via the cloud. Through mission-critical service guarantees and end-to-end service propositions, CSPs have an opportunity to become a one-stop communications shop for SMEs. In fact, to all intents and purposes, they could become a virtual CIO to their customers.

Interestingly, responses from delegates polled during the session showed that only a quarter of their OSS/BSS infrastructures were ready to support cloud services. Half were still in the planning stage, leaving 25% not having yet started. Another poll on self-service portal provision indicated partial capability that still requires a human interface at some level. On-demand provisioning flow-through was also identified as one of the most challenging areas of OSS/BSS regarding cloud services. More details on these answers can be found in the podcast of the presentation. True competitive advantage lies in the ability to provide end-to-end performance across the network. Hamid offered an example of the role of the CSP in cloud provision and advised scrutinising three areas when gearing up for cloud operations optimisation. He went into detail about OSS/BSS self-service capabilities, including; utilising existing investments, assessing risk, gaps in architecture and mitigation plans. He also covered user experience considerations regarding the OSS/BSS infrastructure, portal usability and transformation for parallel planning, execution and enhancement.

The challenge however, lies in managing this role effectively. Slick operators need to present a single, bundled bill to each of the thousands of users with mediation on a ‘per use’ capability; the OSS/BSS needs to be able to handle remuneration to hundreds of application providers; and fulfilment needs to enable reliable, online, self-service capabilities in real time across multiple access points. If you’d like to find out more about how to assess, transform, optimise and open OSS/BSS for enterprise-wide fulfilment, you can listen to a podcast of the webinar via www.vanillaplus.com

VANILLAPLUS DECEMBER/JANUARY 2011


WEBINAR REVIEW

Your relationship with the end user is changing New OSS/BSS models for next generation communications, business and user experience By identifying the guiding business principles driving OSS/BSS, operators will be able to discover the architectural transformations required to support next generation communications. VanillaPlus recently spent a critical hour looking into the future role of OSS/BSS in a Thought Leadership webinar (Free to view at www.vanillaplus.com). Chris Yeadon, Director of Product Marketing and Veronika Olsson, Director of Strategic Marketing and Research at LHS, an Ericsson company, gave their views on the need for operators to review current business models and make honest assessments of their assets across three key areas, including core value disciplines. The webinar was moderated by Jeremy Cowan, Editor of VanillaPlus, on 25 November, 2010.

chooses. Another consideration regarding the growth of M2M, for both business to business wholesale and consumer retail, is that the consumer product lifecycle will not be tied so much to the device but to the package of customised services offered.

Chris Yeadon, LHS: Anything that can benefit from an internet connection will have one

The session offered insight to help communication service providers (CSPs) understand the trends driving transformations in OSS/BBS, and the business model choices necessary to thrive. It also highlighted the challenges for operators over the coming years such as top-line growth, increased agility and reducing OpEx. Taking connectivity for granted Recent studies show that, in the not too distant future, 80% of all people accessing the internet will be using a mobile device. What’s more, communications will expand to accommodate machine to machine (M2M), a sector expected to rise over coming years and account for 75% of the market. The extension of devices set to benefit from this type of connectivity, estimated by Ericsson to reach 50 billion by 2020, will likely include: energy meters, vending machines, household appliances, transportation and remote healthcare. In response to these developments, demand will increase for even more transparent charging, and payment flexibility, for any combination of services that the customer

To this end, the presentation goes into detail about how to embolden the customer’s confidence to consume via device management, real-time credit control and dynamic discounting. Currently, connectivity providers deliver on a wholesale basis, while value-added operators bring lifestyle and business applications developed by third parties. There is potential for other players to emerge and offer something in between. The potential developments presented during the webinar only highlight the need for CSPs to consider moving away from the singlesided business model, towards multi-faceted OSS/BSS provision, in order to cope with an increase in applications and content from third parties if they are to optimise what’s in store.

If you missed it, or want to hear this thought-provoking presentation again, you’ll find a link to the New OSS/BSS Models for Next Generation Communications Business and User Experience podcast at www.vanillaplus.com

Veronika Olsson, LHS: OSS/BSS needs to support ARPU and real-time charging and billing capabilities

The reviewer is Georgina Elrington, a freelance telecoms writer

VanillaPlus Jargon Buster BSS = Business Support System OSS = Operations Support System

“Connected devices (are forecast) to reach 50bn by 2020, including: energy meters, vending machines, household appliances, transportation and remote healthcare.” - (Source: Ericsson) VANILLAPLUS DECEMBER/JANUARY 2011

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CONFERENCE REVIEW

Mobile broadband to bridge the connectivity gap Submarine fibre is lighting up the coastlines of the previously dark continent but mobile broadband is set to be the economic and educational enabler for African populations. George Malim reports from Cape Town, South Africa for VanillaPlus on the Africa Com conference, held in November. “Africa has crossed the 500 million subscribers mark.” - Paul Gowans, JDSU

The last two years have seen vast submarine cable capacity land on the east and west coasts of Africa, but much of the continent is still unaddressed by fixed line connections and, in many respects, can be seen to have a hollow centre. Africa also represents something of a two-tier market. There is significant wealth in urban centres, with savvy users demanding – and critically, prepared to pay for – world class services in both the fixed and wireless arenas. However, the vast majority of sub-Saharan Africa’s population is either unserved or unable to pay for premium services.

A row of unused public payphones at Cape Town’s central taxi bus station in the evening rush hour

Certainly, there is a massive base of cellphone users and cellular technology has brought digital communications to many African population sectors for the first time. That will continue as more people are addressed by communication service providers (CSPs), and scenes such as the accompanying photograph of a row a public payphones lying unused at Cape Town’s central taxi bus station in evening rush hour will be replicated across the continent. ‘Explosion of new networks’ African markets, especially the South African one, which played host to the 4,000 attendees and 250 exhibiting companies at this year’s Africa Com, are moving rapidly to adopt broadband, according to Stuart Finch, Marketing, CTI Group: “There’s an unprecedented explosion of new networks and data communications traffic to Africa as compared to other regions,” he told VanillaPlus. “The main driving force is the increased adoption of mobile broadband, which is expected to increase from 40 million subscribers now to 90 million by 2015, as well as non-voice services and rural expansion and efficiency strategies.” Guenter Landers, Head of sub-region, Southern Africa, at Nokia Siemens Networks, echoed Finch’s view. “In the South African market the portfolio we are showcasing is all the more relevant since the country has strong mobile connectivity and high literacy levels but weak internet connectivity,” he said. “That means that high quality mobile broadband services, if deployed and run efficiently could well bridge the current connectivity gap.” Finch thinks that the growing broadband access will also require end-user devices that can exploit the bandwidth available and accommodate the growing requirement for mobile purchasing and payment solutions. “To keep pace, deployment of billing and ebilling will be key to ensuring that all revenue is assured, and the end user, whether consumer or enterprise, is confident that what they are being billed for is what they have had,” he added. Finch continued: “In times past, an evolving market attitude would be to develop these solutions in-house rather than outsource to vendors, usually from Europe or the US. In a

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shrinking world, and with requirements for preand post-paid solutions being more sophisticated than in times past, this has all changed. “With growing competition in the vibrant African market, operators need to have the edge over their rivals if they are to keep up with the market growth. Whereas ebilling was formerly seen as a nice-to-have option, it is now seen as a key tool in building subscriber confidence because it brings clarity to myriad products and services now being offered by operators, not only in Africa but in all emerging areas,” added Finch. Lower CapEx and OpEx Others see demand for pre- and post-paid systems that enable operators to differentiate while investing less capital and incurring lower operational expense. “Africa is an area of significant growth for us,” said Dominic Smith, Marketing Director of Cerillion. “Over the last four years, we’ve deployed in Kenya, Gabon, Ghana and Mauritania with a real mixture of solutions from mediation to interconnect and full convergent and mobile billing, along with CRM for pre-paid users.”

Extremes of wealth and poverty are a feature of many African economies, posing challenges for CSPs looking to roll out nationwide services and to meet contrasting needs

“We are now often seeing new entrants want to differentiate their services using CRM,” added Smith. “They want to build a relationship with the customer rather than hiding behind IVR and SMS recharge. We certainly see CRM as a growing concern among operators and a growing opportunity for companies like us. “Customer experience is not a unique requirement to Africa, but in Africa the difference is that the nature of the market and regulation means you are in a multi-SIM environment where people often switch SIMs to get specific tariffs. That’s not a great experience for users,” said Smith. Miguel Geraldes, Managing Director of Namibian operator MTC, also sees the need for operators to enhance the quality of experience they offer to their users. To that end he announced a deal with Convergys for its Intelligent Loyalty system at the show. “With increased competition, we will need both speed and flexibility to launch loyaltydriving offers to retain our market share,” he said. “The Convergys solution gives us the dynamic ability to target our pre- and post-paid subscribers with attractive offers that will help us retain our number one position in the market.” It is clear that improved wireless network technologies will be needed to support the vision of mass mobile broadband consumption. Paul Gowans, Regional Marketing Manager of JDSU, commented that some African operators have already announced commitments to LTE. The technology will, he said, be critical to reducing the cost of communications because of the relative ease of deployment in comparison to alternatives and, ultimately, the speeds and reliability it will offer.

“Overall the African market is growing substantially,” said Gowans. “Africa has crossed the 500 million subscribers mark [and operators] are using mobile to penetrate rural areas and bring both telecommunications and broadband access to all. The evolution to LTE will be key for this geography. Many of the carriers have already committed to LTE and will now need help to manage LTE trials in their labs, as well as guidance on tools to deliver network and service assurance once the system is deployed. LTE will also be important to get the cost per bit down but carriers will be challenged with the growth in data services.”

George Malim is a freelance telecoms journalist and a regular contributor to VanillaPlus. Watch his video interview with Paul Gowans on our website at www.vanillaplus.com

VANILLAPLUS DECEMBER/JANUARY 2011

41


MWC 2011 CURTAIN RAISER

Hot or not, Barcelona beckons As Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2011 comes around again with the speed and subtlety of an oncoming train, boardrooms, R&D labs and marketing departments worldwide are burning the midnight oil in preparation. While some companies are not yet ready to talk about what they’re going to have on show, VanillaPlus did manage to find some who are prepared to tell service providers what’ll be hot – or not – this February. One of the most significant announcements – at least in terms of its impact on those same marketing departments, as well as on the cashflows of a lot of hotels and taxi drivers – concerns the announcement from the GSMA that MWC may be on the move. Six cities – Amsterdam, Barcelona, Cologne, Milan, Munich and Paris – are all reported to be pitching to host the event from 2013 to 2017. The author, Alun Lewis, is a freelance telecoms writer

Kaj Hagros, Tecnotree: Our customers want to add flexibility and choice to their service bundles

For one company, Aepona, itself already closely involved with the WAC and OneAPI projects – this emphasis on applications has to be extended even further into the increasingly hyped realm of the cloud. “True mobile cloud computing is about 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,” says Aepona’s VP Marketing, Michael Crossey.

Functioning WAC devices For the GSMA itself, its Wholesale Applications Community (or WAC – the alliance of nearly 60 companies so far involved in building an open applications platform) is going to be a major focus in Barcelona 2011. As Phil Rawcliffe of the GSMA told VanillaPlus, “MWC 2011 is the event where the WAC finally comes of age. First announced at MWC 2010, WAC has been consistently hitting its self-imposed deadlines on the road towards full commercial launch. These have included the formal launch of the company in July that year and the release of WAC 1.0 specifications in September.

Operators’ untapped value “Operators have valuable assets – reliable comms, billing relationships, customer intelligence – that can be used by third parties such as enterprise solution providers and applications developers. Until now, these assets were difficult to access but mobile cloud computing will allow third parties across many different vertical markets to easily tap into these enablers.” And Crossey can reveal that “at least one of these companies – an Aepona partner – will be launching its mobile cloud service at MWC 2011, with a number of demonstrations showing how mobile network and billing capabilities can add significant value to domain-specific apps and services.”

“Critical news for Barcelona will be the full commercial launch of WAC-enabled application stores – with operators delivering

Radical structural changes are being made to what was once an extremely linear value chain. This is also concentrating Hewlett

VANILLAPLUS DECEMBER/JANUARY 2011

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The chosen city will also be given ‘Mobile World Capital’ status. It will have to broaden the current range of activities to include a permanent venue with various exhibits and programmes, as well as a variety of mobileoriented festivities for the general public.

storefronts, as well as OEMs delivering fully functional WAC devices that support the latest widgets,” Rawcliffe added.


Packard’s mind as well, as Amir Einav, Director, Communications and Media Solutions, explains. “We’re seeing significant changes in the value chain dynamic,” he believes. “Over-the-top-players are gaining customer loyalty and are claiming a larger share of the newly-expanded value. Traditional CSPs – as ‘pipe providers’ – must spend heavily to upgrade networks, but are challenged with the limitations of flat-rate pricing. “To succeed, CSPs must focus on reducing structural cost, increasing operational agility and developing customer-centric approaches. For example, cloud and device applications technologies offer entirely new ways to generate revenues and this might lead some CSPs to reinvent themselves as ‘business exchanges’,” says Einav. “At MWC, we’ll be emphasising this business transformation in our range of solutions.” Abnormal pace of change This recognition of a need for substantial change across a wide number of areas is echoed by Nokia Siemens Networks’ Volker Joksch, “The pressure for change is outpacing traditional renewal cycles and the industry’s transforming as telecom, IT and the web converge. Enablers like customer experience management are making it possible for CSPs to bridge telecom and IT and, in the process, turn manual into automatic, generic into personalised, and silos into cross-domain environments. One of the challenges involves real convergence of the policy control and charging/billing systems that need to be tackled in this context. In addition, value added services such as multi-screen TV are proving to be a very important driver for customer retention.”

Kaj Hagros, CEO at BSS/OSS specialist Tecnotree sees the complex diversity of the service and device mix creating its own perfect storm for the back office. “Smart phones with flat-rate data subscriptions have finally taken the industry to the promise of mobile internet, apps, media and corporate services – but all-you-can-eat is not sustainable as the sole model. Our customers are looking for ways to add flexibility and choice onto their service bundles – for instance separating tariffs for smartphone browsing, lap-top USB modem connectivity, download and streaming services, or peer-topeer – allowing each subscriber to pick and choose the best combination that fits into their lifestyle, without capping all the revenue streams.”

“Some CSPs (might) reinvent themselves as ‘business exchanges’.” - Amir Einav, HP

Amir Einav, HP: OTT players are gaining customer loyalty

Ian Marsden, Eseye: M2M is now enabled in multiple verticals

Also accentuating the need to cope with near infinite flexibility in managing service and product bundles and portfolios at MWC 20111 will be Comptel. Olivier Suard, Marketing Director there says, “The recent announcement from the GSMA that it expects there to be one billion mobile broadband

With more – and higher value – services flowing around the networks, those charging and billing relationships are going to need

supporting in increasingly sophisticated ways. Geoff Reiffer, VP Marketing at settlement hub specialist, MACH comments, “As the world becomes ever more connected, the need to find the right partners to facilitate mobile transactions grows in importance. Leading up to MWC, we expect to see a growing focus on offering retail roaming packages so that operators can take advantage of the revenue potential of the 40% of subscribers who currently turn off their data roaming capabilities when abroad. We also anticipate a continued growth in the outsourcing of key processes such as interconnect billing, financial clearing and settlement, and partner management as operators seek to reduce capital and operating expenditure while freeing themselves to focus on core competencies.”

VANILLAPLUS DECEMBER/JANUARY 2011

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MWC 2011 CURTAIN RAISER

The GSMA is auditioning six cities to be the ‘Mobile World Capital’: Amsterdam, Barcelona, Cologne, Milan, Munich and Paris.

users by 2012 means that service providers are going to have to finds ways to manage this unprecedented usage. A key component of this is the OSS/BSSs which are at the heart of the creation, delivery, control and charging of mobile broadband services – and which need to be brought to market faster and managed and charged for in new ways.” Suard continues, “We’ll be using MWC 2011 to highlight how our Dynamic OSS products and services can help service providers broaden their service portfolios. In addition, we’ll also be referencing our Catalog and SIM Management capabilities to show how fulfilment is about more than just provisioning and activation.” Embedded SIMs for M2M That mention of SIMs raises another recent GSMA initiative that’ll be active at the show. In November 2010, the GSMA announced the formation of a task force of mobile operators to explore the development of an embedded SIM that can be remotely activated. The move is expected to enable the design of exciting new form factors for mobile communications. It is also intended to speed the development of M2M services by making it easier to bring mobile broadband to non-traditional devices such as cameras, MP3 players, navigation devices and e-readers, as well as smart meters.

“A task force of mobile operators is exploring remotely activated embedded SIMs.”

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“The GSMA’s development will become a major catalyst in the explosion of connected devices, not only in 2011 but throughout the next few years,” says Ian Marsden, CTO at M2M enabler Eseye. “As a key M2M enabler, Eseye have witnessed first-hand the challenges ahead of mass deployment for embedded SIMs. Fragmentation in the market has been a key barrier to mass adoption and with the GSMA’s support, this has now been addressed. Connected devices are already

VANILLAPLUS DECEMBER/JANUARY 2011

enabling solutions across multiple verticals as varied as consumer electronics to e-health and security applications, and this is now set to expand drastically.” Along with increasingly diverse services, devices and products comes an accompanying need to understand the customer much better and the communications industry as a whole is seeing a growing interest in analytics. Anssi Tauriainen, CEO of Aito Technologies believes that by implementing the latest customer experience analytics techniques, operators can monitor service usage, identify specific customer segments and profile subscribers far more effectively: “It’s still too early to determine the loyalty of mobile data users as the majority of subscribers are tied in to long term contracts – typically 18 to 24 months. However, data suggests that heavy usage subscriptions are increasing, which would mean that bundles and flat pricing offers are proving to be an attractive acquisition tool for certain segments.” Finally, there are some good signs that the industry is continuing to build on its existing understanding of the importance of mobile communications as a force for positive social change. Under another GSMA initiative – mWomen – Vodafone will be talking at the show about its work in this area. The overall programme aims to bring the power of mobiles to more than 150 million women in developing countries within three years. The winners of the Vodafone mWomen ‘Base of the Pyramid’ Apps Challenge will be announced at the show – demonstrating original customised application solutions targeted at the specific demands of women in developing countries. That’ll make a welcome change from some of the tackier content and apps that have been on show at the event in the past …


C L O C K I N G

O F F !

GiffGaff outage shows it’s gifted at customer service Accidents happen and networks go down across the world many times each year. But, as George Malim points out, less common is a totally upfront explanation of the problem, yet that’s what users of UK virtual network operator GiffGaff’s services received when the fledgling MVNO’s network failed last month. And it’s a warning to old-school operators. The service, which runs using O2’s network, started disconnecting users at around 5pm one day as its billing system was said to have started creating errors. The entire network, along with the company’s website then failed. Both were down for three hours as GiggGaff engineers worked feverishly to address the problem, ultimately resorting to the classic technical fix of switching the system off and then on again.

The author is freelance writer, George Malim.

Using every tool to reach customers The significant point about this is that GiffGaff, the self-styled ‘people’s network’, has been extremely open about the problem and its causes. GiffGaff reported extensively on progress being made with the diagnostic process and the estimated time to fix the problem using social media and its own forum on its website. The forum wouldn’t have been of much use since the company’s website was down but, looking at it retrospectively, it’s clear the company was using every means at its disposal to keep its users informed.

Starting at 17:25, when it initially identified the root cause of the problem as the billing system, GiffGaff updated its customers on progress at approximately half hourly intervals before rebooting the platform at 18:52 and announcing that calls and texts were back up at 19:54. Later that evening, GiffGaff announced that the fault had originated from the network MSC that handles all its traffic and accounts. That failure impacted some of the connected systems, predominantly the text and voicemail platforms, and links from those onto the O2 network. The following day, GiffGaff posted a statement explaining the fault and warning members, what it calls its customers, that the company’s website would have intermittent faults as a side effect of the outage on its back-end systems. The company said it would give £10,000 to a charity chosen by its user community in lieu of compensation which, in any case, it is not required to provide. The company also stated the morning after the outage that its chief technology officer was with the supplier associated with the outage to conduct an ominous sounding end-toend investigation. The CTO will keep users informed of developments following this comprehensive vendor chewing out session. GiffGaff snatched victory from the jaws of defeat The upshot of this non-traditional operator behaviour is that GiffGaff’s users seem delighted with how they’ve been treated. It’s almost as if GiffGaff has snatched victory from the jaws of defeat with its exemplary handling of the problem. Users seem even more pleased to be GiffGaff members than they would have been had no problem ever happened. I should point out I am not a GiffGaff customer but this is what I call customer service, and traditional larger operators should take note. This is the new level of customer care competition and it is being provided by a small, recently started virtual operator that prides itself on offering a cheap service.

“This is the new level of customer care competition.”

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The only criticism that springs to mind is that GiffGaff appears to have initially, erroneously laid the blame at its billing system’s door. Perhaps an apology is in order?


Mobile Data Charging

Real-time charging and spend control Empowering the consumer in the post-unlimited data era Join the Acision/Vanilla Plus Consumer Empowerment Webinar at 2pm (GMT) on 26th January 2011. More details can be found at: www.acision.com/News-and-Events/Events

Delivering the future of mobile data

www.acision.com


http://www.comptel.com/events

Take Charge of Your Services...

Policy Control & Charging

Mobile World Congress Barcelona, Spain, 14-17 February, Booth #1C06


Vanillaplus December - January 2011