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All posts by Anne Hill

What are the Current Concerns and Challenges of an Wholesale Operator ??

Last week I spoke at the GSC conference where an august  group of carriers convene to discuss the problems they face and best practices within their organizations.  So apart from being in Windsor one of the loveliest places in the UK and setting aside the fact we had a great treat from a British multinational Operator – a meal at the Guards Museum, Westminster.  What was discussed?

Two interconnected topics ( no pun intended) were top of the agenda item. GIPX and credit control and management.  Here carriers debated whether and how to give smaller players access to their network and how to limit debt liability. British multinational telecommunications services company spoke about their pre-pay component in billing and how that manages debt, predicts traffic and spend and successfully allows (untested) new carriers access. As the provider to them it was great to hear how pleased they are and what practical use the solution gives them.

We had a very interesting talk from the director of the Institute of Credit Management explained his organization’s mission   to educate about the issues of credit, risk and to stress the importance of positive cash flow.  Again this had carriers discussing issues around cash collection and customer management.  Opinion was divided – some leaning backwards in pursuit of the relationship others just pulling the plug when debt became unacceptable. This just reiterates how slightly different this domain is – retail billing  is, you don’t pay – you’re gone ( well there are exceptions in cases of hardship).  This is about carrier relationships and the bi-lateral sessions where carriers sit and negotiate with each other face to face – stresses the complex and often personal nature of the inter- carrier relationships.

The meeting  also  had a great speech from a Belgian Operator discussing Fraud prevention and the problems By Pass and  PBX hacking remain ever constant.

What did I learn?

New technologies offer new opportunities – not really a massive learning point – but more automation, alerting and deeper  MIS gives carriers the capability  to avail themselves  of these new opportunities and as providers of software to them we need to make sure that their days are as easy as possible.

GSC Conference – Meeting Leading International Wholesale Players in Historic Windsor

I’m sitting in the Spring sunshine (it’s the UK so it’s cold) preparing my talk for the GSC conference in Windsor which starts tomorrow. This is a great venue as it gets representation from major carriers globally mostly concerned  with Trading international traffic and the subsequent business processes that support that seemingly simple activity. Few thoughts are paramount, one of them is that I’m presenting on Thursday so there will be a lot of information sharing by then so I hope I would manage to glue the audience to their seats.

The theme of my presentation is Evolution of Partner Settlement.   I think that the apparatus, systems, structures and know how which allows carriers to trade voice minutes will soon be in demand to negotiate, set prices and monitor a whole range of services and not just voice.

One particular area I’m interested in is content settlement. How does the carrier (or a cable company) set a fair price with a content creator?  How does the content owner verify the final payment?   If it’s all about supply and demand, how do providers gauge demand and look at product performance? Who could have predicted that a Danish sub-titled crime thriller, The Killer series, would take the world by storm? ( I guess the writer!)

What strikes me is that what Telcos sell changes, but not how successful business runs.  I once worked in a toy shop in a particularly posh part of London. Our buyer made the company a fortune from buying Japanese pencils ( a bit like Hello Kitty) – everyone thought she was nuts. She also ceremoniously dumped the then unfashionable Kermit the frog.  This released floor space, which she crammed with pencils  and she watched point of sales like a hawk. Nowadays we have sophisticated systems such as  ours to do this. But the core things that buyer spoke about, attractive stock, great presentation, customer experience are all key elements of product management and content distribution.  Managing the content catalogue and getting value for the content creative and the CSP are critical.

So I’m hoping to have a great discussion about Partner Settlement with people this week about all the hot topics  IPX, Content, M2M, Mobile Money – don’t ever let anyone tell you billing is boring.

Blog more later. Have a good week.

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