T-Mobile’s excellence in Revenue Assurance with Subex’s Managed Services

T-Mobile USA, Inc. is rewriting the rules of the wireless carrier game with the “Un-Carrier” strategy. As a result they are currently the fastest growing wireless company in the USA and are now supporting 50.5 million customers. Michael Rimkus, T-Mobile USA’s Vice President, Internal Audit & Risk Management, will be presenting how his skilled Revenue Assurance Team has been supporting T-Mobile’s explosive growth and the benefits they have realized by taking advantage of Subex’s Managed Services to support his team’s increased mandate and growth.

Challenged by manual based methods, about 9 years ago, T-Mobile selected and deployed Subex’s ROC-RA solution. This powerful tool immediately delivered results to the Revenue Assurance team; and, with the several audits and controls initially created, T-Mobile’s core revenue stream was secured. However, with the dynamic nature of the wireless business, change was constant. The RA team matured and took on many more revenue based investigations and grew into discovery on cost leakage. As the company’s revenue and cost assurance requirements increased, the team responded to meet the needs from a discovery perspective. Passed up was the operational side, which didn’t have the right resources to advance the tools at the same rate as the dynamic nature of the RA team and company. Nearly 2 years ago, T-Mobile introduced Subex Managed Services (MS) and the advancements are impressive.

By adding Subex’s Managed Services to the Revenue Assurance Team, T-Mobile now has the expertise to match the speed of change and advancements in the world of revenue and cost assurance. The Subex tool is powerful, and with a staff that can automate, optimize, creatively configure, monitor and analyze multiple streams of information and data, the combined RA team brings increased value to the company. Michael will discuss: the evolution of the tool; the RA team; and the introduction of MS into the environment, which is taking T-Mobile to the highest levels of revenue assurance excellence.

Michael Rimkus
Vice President, Internal Audit & Risk Management at T-Mobile US, Inc A results-oriented leader with over 25 years of experience and responsibility in accounting, consulting, internal audit, and risk management. He currently leads the Risk Management group, which includes Internal Audit, Retail Audit, SOX 302 & 404 Compliance, Enterprise Risk Management, Revenue Assurance, Business Continuity/Crisis Management, Safety, and Corporate Security.

Network Transformations – From Survive to Thrive

Riding my bicycle near Boulder, Colorado where I live can be a humbling experience.  Not only are there steep climbs and high altitude (over 1600m) to contend with but these are the proving grounds of pro-cyclists and world-class triathletes.  I often feel as though I’m riding a stationary bicycle in a gym as another flash of brightly colored spandex goes whizzing by.  So I decided that it was time to “transform” my ride, and now have a new carbon-fiber bike.  Will this make me faster and more efficient?  Perhaps psychologically!  It’s fitting that transformation has been on my mind in other ways recently.

Transformation has always been part of the telecom experience.  What is interesting to me now is not simply the pace of change, but the fact that it is occurring on so many fronts concurrently.  For starters, operators are transforming their core networks and related transport services.  Legacy TDM technologies such as PDH and SDH/SONET are being replaced by next generation optical.  To get there, many operators are planning to retire “old iron” ADMs and DACs, reaping not only network efficiencies but tremendous cost savings in real estate exits and lower energy consumption.  In mobility, the transformation experience is not only about the 2G-3G-4G upgrade path but about phasing out the traditional separation of voice and data services.  And of course, the compelling economics of commoditization and virtualization are moving to the network and network functions in the form of SDN and NFV.

Regardless of the technologies involved, transformation is almost always a messy endeavor.  Among the questions operators need to ask themselves when planning or executing a network transformation are:

  • Do we know enough about how existing services are routed through the network to confidently move them to the new network?
    • Even one customer outage can be costly
  • How do we best realize value from assets we fork-lifted out of the network?
    • What can be redeployed?
    • What can be sold for reuse or scrap?
    • Can we account for every asset that is decommissioned?
  • How do we assure the significant levels of new Capex investment are generating a suitable ROI?
  • What are the unique Opex and Capex risks when operating a “hybrid” network that is in a transition state?
  • What are the plans for legacy B/OSS?  Will they complement and enable the network transformation or serve as a hindrance?

Riding a bike is certainly easier than transforming a network, so I know my metaphor only goes so far.  However, having worked for many years at operators and experienced such transformations first hand, I know at least one aspect of the metaphor holds.  Falling off a bike and missing business targets for a delayed or failed transformation both hurt!  Fortunately, the Subex Network Analytics portfolio of products is engineered to answer the above questions—and many others—to help ensure a better transformation experience.

Andy Jacobs
Director of Business Development for Network Analytics - Andy has 20+ years of experience in engineering management, business operations and IT, primarily with Tier 1 operators including Level 3, MCI and GTE. His responsibilities included leading IT development teams that built mission-critical network management, provisioning and inventory systems with thousands of users. Prior to joining Subex, Andy was a Senior Manager overseeing a Data Governance organization at a major Internet Services provider. Andy graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with degrees in Electrical Engineering and Economics (Wharton). He holds an MBA from the University of Colorado.

“A cup of coffee commits one to 40 years of friendship” – Turkish Proverb

Istanbul is a city of seeming contradictions, a confluence of the old and the new.  Scratch slightly beyond the surface and one would be awed by the profound depth of culture and the warmth and hospitality of the Turkish people.  Istanbul has been described as a magical bridge between the east and the west and we can see the diversity to this day in this beautiful city. This is a city which has ingrained the best of all, and became more prosperous for it. I cannot imagine a better place for Subex to host its annual User Conference.

When we think of user conferences, we think of warm, open spaces. We think of sharing, collaboration and evolution. We think of inclusive growth. All of these are feelings and thoughts I associate with Istanbul. The roster of industry leaders who have so graciously decided to share their time, knowledge and wisdom with all of us is truly humbling. The number of operator registrations this year has been a record high (over 150), and in this we as Subex feel the weight of responsibility to deliver value to our customers.

Of course, delivering value becomes a significantly easier task when you have esteemed guests like:

Gerd Leonhard (Futurist, Author, Keynote Speaker, Think-Tank Leader & Strategist)
Alex Leslie (Publisher & Editor – BillingViews)
Eric Priezkalns (Co-founder – TalkRA.com)
Michael Rimkus (Vice President, Internal Audit & Risk Management at T-Mobile US, Inc)
Dave Huras (President – CFCA and Manager Toll Fraud and Voice Operations – MTS Allstream)

The best part being that the above is a small part of the overall roster. I for one am very excited to hear from old friends like Amit Agrawal (Group Director – RAFM Etisalat) and Sanjay Batham (GM – Design & Implementation Reliance Jio) about highly relevant topics like the challenges around group RAFM design, advent of 4G and associated challenges, social network analytics, demystifying asset assurance and various other topics.

It is always a wonderful thing when we get an opportunity to learn from the experiences of others. When I look at the list of topics for this event, I’m glad to note that there is a welcome balance between the lessons of the past as well as a peek into the future. Given that these views are being given by our friends and colleagues in the Telecom world, I am sure that the level of meaningful interaction would be at an all-time high as well. The number of case studies this time around tells me that our telecom friends have been busy at work innovating solutions and are eager to share practical experiences with a larger audience. Much like Istanbul itself, the overall agenda is a rich amalgamation of practical knowledge, challenges and solutions from across the world.

So here’s to old friends, respected colleagues and industry leaders. If you’ve registered for the meet, let’s catch up for a glass of Türk kahvesi in beautiful Istanbul – and cheer to 40 more years of friendship!

Ashwin Menon
In his current role as Associate Director - Business & Solutions Consulting, Ashwin leads the team responsible for business consulting for Subex’s solution portfolio in Middle East, Africa and APAC. Ashwin joined Subex in 2006 as a part of the Implementation team for Revenue Assurance & Fraud Management. Over the years, he has worked with cross-geographical teams to drive value discovery and creation for telecom operators across Middle East, Africa and APAC. Beyond his work in Subex, he has been involved in some of the most seminal Revenue Assurance public domain centers (both in terms of his work on popular RA blogs as well as his co-authored work on Revenue Assurance for Telecom Operators). He regularly speaks at various industry events in the MEA/APAC region on areas pertaining to Business Optimization.

A Weekend Warrior’s Guide to Capex Reduction

As a recreational athlete, I’m by default a numbers guy.  Being a wee bit past my prime competitive years, those numbers don’t look quite as good as they used to.  For example, I know that my rate of decline in a 10K running race is approximately 4 seconds slower per klick per year.  This motivates me to become more efficient.  With my training.  With my nutrition.  With my body mechanics.  I want to get as much from my aging athlete’s body as I can!

You’ve probably guessed where I’m going with this.  Operators universally strive to “sweat” as much from their networks as possible.  Consider a key metric found in many operator financial statements: Capex-to-Sales ratio.   It’s an indicator of how efficient an operator is at translating network investments (approximately 80% of overall Capex) into revenue.   From my reviews of operator financials, I typically see this number in the 13-20% range, with a mean of ~15%.  Compare this to Retail (4%), Transportation (8%) and Pharma (6%).   The Communications sector leads the pack.

Sure, we all know that Telecom is Capex-intensive.  This just puts a number on it.   But there are further pressures on operator balance sheets.  Most operators cannot maintain the required investments in their networks with cash from operations alone (as evidenced by declining EBITDA margins), so they pile on debt.  This becomes a vicious cycle.  Proceeds from bond sales yield more working capital,  but debt service requires free cash.   What’s the best way for an operator to increase free cash flow in the business?  Reduce Capex!  And around and around we go.

Hence it becomes imperative for operators to seek innovative ways to address seemingly contradictory goals  – reducing their Capex burden, while supporting increased bandwidth demands and new product/service rollouts.   For this I advocate turning to the numbers.  For example, do you have a metrics-driven understanding of:

  • Your asset utilization rate?
  • Which deployed assets have not carried traffic in the past 60 days?
  • Mean time from asset purchase to revenue contribution?
  • Sparing levels vs. industry best practices?
  • Detailed asset movement history for assets in your mobility RAN?
  • % alignment between your fixed asset register or ERP and your network?

An asset assurance program addresses these questions and many others to drive measurable improvements in Capex efficiency.  One final point—there is change looming on the horizon in the form of large scale network transformation programs.  These programs are only accelerating Capex pressures on operators.  I will explore this topic in my next post.  Right now I’ve got my running shoes laced-up and I’m headed out the door.  I’ve got to get my numbers back on track!

Andy Jacobs
Director of Business Development for Network Analytics - Andy has 20+ years of experience in engineering management, business operations and IT, primarily with Tier 1 operators including Level 3, MCI and GTE. His responsibilities included leading IT development teams that built mission-critical network management, provisioning and inventory systems with thousands of users. Prior to joining Subex, Andy was a Senior Manager overseeing a Data Governance organization at a major Internet Services provider. Andy graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with degrees in Electrical Engineering and Economics (Wharton). He holds an MBA from the University of Colorado.

Press & Analyst Contact

Sandeep Banga
E-mail : sandeep.banga@subex.com