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All posts by Debolina Ray

How the Power of 5G will Redefine Partner Management

For an industry struggling and grappling with the speed at which new technology innovations are gaining relevance, 5G promises to be a serious game changer and the claim is completely merited. But nevertheless, telecom operators and their partners are very optimistic with the promised power that 5G will bring but are wary of the super-organizational efforts it will take to have real bottom line impact. 5G will change the equation for the industry much like the advent of cellular phones and services did when they shook the world with its possibilities.

One Promise, Myriad Applications

With adjacent technologies like Multi Access Edge Computing and Network functions virtualization to AR/VR that will thrive, the emergence of 5G promises to increase the number of connected smart devices.

The use cases are many, and some are life changing. Video delivery and adverts are two areas that will significantly gain from enhanced speed, making the experiences highly personalized. The Quality of Service and SLA for each of these use case will depend on the criticality, and the acceptable thresholds will be adjusted based on the services. Quality of Experience (QoE/QoX) models will evolve for newer applications.

 

With the ability to service numerous connected devices, the levels of quick and agile responsiveness are going to shake up the current equation. 5G will provide low latency needed for AR/VR enabling high speed data transfer. The impact of all these of course is a significant improvement in quality and experience!

The impact of 5G thus, affects telecom operators of course, but also sees a lot of across industry use cases. The discoveries of new use cases will lead to the rise of modern partnerships in areas such as IoT, AR/VR, smart homes, virtualized networks, distributed cloud amongst others. So, hospitals as enterprise partners for remote surgeries, augmented reality shopping experience for brands, collaboration apps that are reinventing mainstream games – these are just some of the possibilities that will impact enterprise business as well as retail.

However, as we move ahead, there are two aspects that need to be clear:

  • The basics of what this promised change is in terms of technology, capability and regulations
  • What operators need to do to fully optimize the powerhouse performance that is expected from 5G

Yes, they could both be moving targets and rapidly adapting is the need of the hour.

A Careful Hope

The reason why caution must be exercised though it is easy to get carried away in the excitement is that the basic systemic problems remain unchanged. Tightening regulatory norms and increased compliance requirements, the global debate on privacy and data breaches, intense competition translating to depreciating profit – all these are very much alive.

5G must be embraced by operators but there needs to be a method of adoption. There is greater scope for perimeter security and 5G will mean increased efficacies, but all of this will only come to fruition if these exercises are balanced with understanding the now-more-than-ever-importance of data analytics, AI and machine/deep learning and understanding how all of these components will be needed to offer improved service. What this means is that network operators finally have a chance to take somewhat of a centre-stage in ascertaining more control over two critical aspects

1) Re-building their customer experience so there is a shift in perception and hopefully loyalties and

2) Finally finding a way to ensure monetization is addressed

Changing the Paradigm with 5G

The journey towards 5G implementation is going to be a long and arduous one. While 4G is not something that operators can ignore entirely and shouldn’t, there must be a re-look into the operators’ own business models and relationships with key stakeholders. They need to see where deeper relationships can be forged to understand the customer’s somewhat limited yet exaggerated expectations of 5G.

For the 5G promised change to make a significant difference, industry require alertness towards the variegated forms that disruption and transformation are going to take. The definite actions to make this happen will simply make all the difference between success and failure for the world’s telecom operators.

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¿Estás listo para descifrar el laberinto de Facturación Digital?

¿Alguna vez has adivinado quién será tu próximo socio digital, OTT o de venta al por mayor? Al ver el ritmo en que las asociaciones están creciendo a lo largo y ancho de la industria, parece que no obtendrá una respuesta fácil a esta pregunta. En esta carrera, contar con socios es una necesidad de la hora, y eso también en las categorías de entretenimiento, seguridad, juegos y más; no habrá mucho tiempo para analizar los antecedentes del socio o trabajar en la lógica empresarial. Pero estará seguro de que su viaje digital va por buen camino, con nuevas oportunidades de negocios e ingresos … ¡Hurra!

Ahora, las cosas se ponen patas arriba cuando se da cuenta después de unos días de que hay una dificultad con la administración de la cuenta del socio o contenido defectuoso entregado a los suscriptores, disputas derivadas de los acuerdos, o descubre que hay un problema grave en la forma en que se están ejecutando los términos comerciales. ¿Por qué sucede esto?

Bueno, el problema podría deberse a la falta de preparación y previsión; tampoco se debe culpar a nadie, el panorama empresarial en rápida evolución arroja una bola curva. Con miles de compañías digitales formando un complejo laberinto de asociaciones, los desafíos son ciertos. Estos desafíos podrían surgir de todos los sectores, no solo de sus socios, sino también de sus clientes o fuentes externas.

Veamos algunos de los típicos desafíos que puede enfrentar en sus compromisos con nuevos tipos de socios:

  • Hay un proveedor de contenido y un socio que se ocupa de una variedad de tipos de contenido, incluyendo video OTT y aplicaciones móviles, pero le resulta difícil integrar todo tipo de servicios en una plataforma.
  • El contenido ofrecido por su socio está incompleto o corrupto, y los cargos deben revertirse a un cliente. ¿Cómo resolverá el acuerdo en este contexto?
  • Un cliente se involucra en actividades fraudulentas; Por ejemplo, después de descargar el contenido, él / ella no realiza el pago argumentando que el contenido es de baja calidad.
  • La Acuerdo de socios se vuelve difícil a medida que su socio se involucra en prácticas poco éticas, como usar una plataforma fraudulenta para rastrear el número de descargas o las impresiones.
  • Un fraude de phishing afecta a sus clientes, lo que le obliga a compensar masivamente.
  • Una violación reglamentaria inadvertida por su parte conduce a complicaciones legales graves, lo que lleva a pérdidas financieras y daños a la reputación.

Y la lista continúa…

¿Dónde está el problema? ¿Quién será responsable? ¿Cómo superar estos desafíos?

El problema de fondo con la mayoría de las empresas de telecomunicaciones que buscan oportunidades digitales es a veces la falta de preparación tanto en términos de tecnología, infraestructura y conciencia. Con los constantes cambios en el panorama digital, la presión regulatoria y el aumento de CAPEX, anticipar todo lo que podría salir mal es una espiral descendente. Una actualización de su sistema de soporte comercial y de operaciones (BSS / OSS) podría ser una solución, pero ¿hasta qué punto y en qué medida debería llegar la actualización? La mayoría de las empresas de telecomunicaciones ya han iniciado la transformación BSS / OSS, pero aún no han alcanzado el nivel de madurez digital que se supone que deben. ¿Por qué?

Bueno, los escenarios discutidos anteriormente indican que la infraestructura tecnológica que está construyendo para proteger su negocio digital debería ser capaz de abordar no solo los desafíos actuales sino también los eventos futuros que probablemente surjan. En otras palabras, debe ser capaz de predecir los escenarios futuros hasta cierto punto y abordar los problemas antes de que afecten al sistema, y que además sea compatible con el futuro para que pueda adaptarse rápidamente.

En términos generales, una estrategia integral de OSS / BSS que aborda diferentes aspectos como la Gestión de ingresos, la facturación y la Gestión de socios y la experiencia del cliente de manera proactiva es la necesidad de la hora.

Estén atentos para comprender cómo Subex puede ayudarlo a desarrollar una estrategia de facturación digital que lo ayude a alcanzar el estado de un proveedor de servicios digitales (DSP) de nivel 4 exitoso. Si desea saber cómo las soluciones de Subex pueden ayudarlo a construir un ecosistema digital que aumente sus flujos de ingresos y mejore el valor para el cliente, contáctenos.

Are You Ready to Unravel the Digital Billing Maze?

Ever guessed who will be your next partner in wholesale, digital or OTT? Seeing the pace at which partnerships are burgeoning across the length and breadth of the industry, it seems you won’t get an easy answer to this question. In this rat race, growing partners is the need of the hour, and that too across categories of entertainment, security, gaming and more; there won’t be much time to analyze the partner’s background or work on the business logic. But you are confident that your digital journey is on track, with newer business and revenue opportunities.… Hurray!

Now, things turn upside down when you realize after a few days that there’s a difficulty with managing the partner account, faulty content delivered to subscribers, disputes arising from agreements, or you find out that there’s a serious problem in the way business terms are being executed. Why do these happen?

Well, the issue could be arising from a lack of preparation and foresight; no one is to be blamed either, the rapidly evolving business landscape throws a curve ball. With several thousands of digital companies forming a complex maze of partnerships, challenges are certain. These challenges could arise from all quarters, not from your partners alone, but your customers or external sources as well.

Let’s look at some of the typical challenges you may confront in your engagements with new types of partners:

  • There is a content provider and a partner who deals with a variety of content types including OTT video and mobile apps, but you find it difficult to integrate all types of services on one platform.
  • The content offered by your partner is incomplete or corrupt, and the charges need to be reversed to a customer. How will you settle the deal in this context?
  • A customer engages in fraudulent activities; for example, after downloading the content, he/she defaults the payment arguing that the content is of poor quality.
  • Partner settlement becomes difficult as your partner engages in unethical practices like using a fraudulent platform for tracking the number of downloads or the impressions.
  • A phishing fraud affects your customers, forcing you to compensate massively.
  • An inadvertent regulatory violation from your end leads to a serious legal complications, leading to financial loss and damage to reputation.

And the list goes on…

Where does the problem lie? Who is to be held responsible? How to overcome these challenges?

The underlying problem with most Telcos pursuing digital opportunities is sometimes the lack of preparation both in terms of technology, infrastructure and awareness. With constant changes to the digital landscape, regulatory pressure and escalating CAPEX, anticipating everything that could go wrong is a downward spiral. An upgrade to your Business and Operations Support System (BSS/OSS) could be a solution, but how far and to what extent the upgrade should go? Most Telcos have already initiated the BSS/OSS transformation, but has not yet achieved the level of digital maturity which they are supposed to. Why so?

Well, the scenarios discussed above indicate that the technology infrastructure you are building to protect your digital business should be capable of addressing not only the current challenges but also the future events that are likely arise. In other words, it should be capable of predicting the future scenarios to an extent and address the problematic ones before they impact the system. And be future compatible so that it can adapt quickly.

Broadly speaking, an encompassing OSS/BSS strategy that addresses different aspects like revenue management, billing & partner management and customer experience in a proactive manner is the need of the hour.

Stay tuned to understand how Subex can help you build a digital billing strategy that helps you rise to the status of a successful Level 4 digital service provider (DSP).  If you want to know how Subex’s solutions can help you build a digital ecosystem that boosts your revenue streams and enhances customer value, contact us.

The Evolution of Internet Protocol

In traditional interconnect, every telecom operator has domestic and international partners to terminate traffic, or use hub operators to route the traffic to specific destinations using Time-division multiplexing (TDM) circuits. But with full service IP networks coming into the arena, telecommunication operators can provide video, data and voice using the same backbone network structure. Over the next few years the traditional TDM/PSTN and IP would probably continue to coexist. Interconnection in effect also undergoes a transformation here. Interconnection creates end to end service connectivity and interoperability across providers.

As the industry is transiting into a hybrid model where IP coexists with TDM, the physical infrastructure for call transfer and exchange is undergoing a technological transformation. All new networks are using the IP backbone and this has lesser points of interconnection as compared with the TDM/PSTN network. The need for more bandwidth and to keep up with network trends now, focusing on accurately transport newer types of data, IP is definitely the most cost effective and sustainable solution.

The current subscriber needs and demands are seamless, ubiquitous connectivity of mobile services everywhere, giving them access to information and social data. And while today the focus is on voice and video, voice is rapidly becoming a part of other bundled packages and offerings.

The focus of past bilateral agreements between telecom providers were typically based on commercials and volumes with penalty, shortfall or send/pay clauses associated. Settlements happened at a defined frequency where invoices are exchanged, compared and reconciled in cases of disputes. Quality metrics in the traditional interconnect model were parameters like ASR, NER, etc., which sampled/monitored data to derive the call quality and checked periodically for SLA violations and route failures. At this stage, the IP layer was merely handling transport, while the actual services (be it voice, content, OTT, or web based) would be delivered in any combination. With IP related services becoming a predominant offering, it means the understanding of quality, routing and agreements would change dynamically over the next few years and lead to the need of a ‘new’ interconnection model that would be able to handle these level of agreements, charging and settlement. Quality of service for IP now needs to prioritize data security, encryption and protection of information.

The target being constant connectivity, another challenge in terms of both technology and business is roaming agreements. Initially GPRS roaming required complex agreements between every individual operators and each operator had to maintain dedicated links. GSMA had launched GRX (GPRS Roaming eXchange) technology a few years ago to handle mobile packet delivery and exchange. This started off supporting 2.5G technology and eventually 3G as well. The idea behind this was to ease roaming agreements between GPRS vendors. GRX is typically based on a public IP backbone and used GTP (GPRS Tunneling Protocol) and enabled the GRX operator to act as a hub for the interconnect partners without having direct or dedicated links between them. GRX is making way for IPX (Internet Protocol eXchange) which addresses some of the drawbacks of GRX. Primarily MNOs could leverage the benefits of GRX and this was a model based on best effort, hence QoS, security, acknowledgement were not guaranteed in this method.

IPX on the other hand, has clear quality parameters like Service Availability, Jitter, Packet Loss and Delay. It also has defined traffic classes: Conversational, Streaming, Interactive and Background Class, so any kind of application has to be clearly mapped to a potential QoS class name, for example: Instant Messaging is Interactive, Video is Streaming while File Transfer is Background. Telecommunication operators with backbone network would look at offering an IPX solution to mobile operators, content providers and aggregators by supporting multiple data, video and voice services. Mobile operators earlier had to rely on multiple platforms for voice and data and can now look at a unified synergy. The target market would look at not only MNOs (Mobile Network Operators), but also MVNOs (Mobile Virtual Network Operators), Content Providers, App Providers, Fixed Line Providers.

With IPX built on a secure IPVPN network, a lot of the parameters around security and protection would be eliminated, while all kinds of data can traverse through a standard backbone network. Operators need to focus on sustainable revenue models. A strong settlement and assurance system would be critical in this play to understand the packetized data structure and price based on the CoS (Class of Service).

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