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All posts by Sunil Subrahmanyam

Gestión de acuerdos de socios en la era digital

La digitalización ha abierto una gran cantidad de oportunidades para que los proveedores de servicios de comunicación (CSP) en todo el mundo transformen sus ofertas de servicios tradicionales, pasando de la telefonía a las empresas basadas en contenido y alcanzando el estado de proveedores de servicios digitales (DSP). Hay un cambio de paradigma en el ecosistema de telecomunicaciones con la entrada de disruptores tecnológicos (como los jugadores OTT) que resulta en una cartera de servicios con modelos de precios competitivos. El agotamiento de los ingresos de voz y el aumento de los servicios de datos ha cambiado la dinámica de las asociaciones comerciales.

El proveedor tradicional de servicios de telecomunicaciones ya no está aislado en el mercado y tiene múltiples colaboraciones para audio, video, contenido, análisis, nube, etc. Además, debido a la reducción de los márgenes, los operadores esperan tener contratos / acuerdos con sus proveedores y socios, lo que creará una situación de ganancia para ambas partes involucradas. Según una encuesta reciente realizada por TM Forum, los DSP tienen una oportunidad de ingresos de alrededor de $ 142 mil millones de servicios digitales. Ya sea que AT&T adquiera Time Warner por $ 85.4 mil millones o que Reliance Jio se integre con Saavn para crear la aplicación JioSaavn, las empresas de telecomunicaciones buscan implementar contenido exclusivo para sus clientes finales. Teniendo en cuenta que hay mucho que ganar, un DSP sin una oferta de contenido fuerte en el escenario actual es casi inimaginable.

Un DSP a menudo tiene cientos de contratos de proveedores de contenido (en su mayoría con agregadores) para administrar, y hay una gran diversidad de socios que van desde un desarrollador de garaje hasta Google.

Construyendo factores de éxito:

El fenomenal aumento en el consumo de datos por parte de los suscriptores y el contenido gratuito está impulsando la mayoría de los negocios principales de las empresas de telecomunicaciones en la actualidad. Además de esto, pocas empresas de telecomunicaciones se están asociando con jugadores OTT para proporcionar contenido exclusivo y servicios especializados en forma de paquetes premium. Las suscripciones OTT dirigidas por operadores se han convertido en el nuevo modelo de negocio que genera ingresos y segmentos de clientes.

Building Success Factors
Fuente : IHS Markit

Impulsar nuevos modelos de negocio: el creciente nivel de complejidad

Inicialmente, se intercambiaron hojas de tarifas entre socios para facturar el uso de los servicios. Más tarde celebraron acuerdos bilaterales para liquidar los ingresos entre ellos. Ahora, las empresas de telecomunicaciones se están moviendo a contratos digitales al asociarse con proveedores de contenido y otros jugadores OTT. Estos contratos digitales implican calificaciones de nivel o bandas / junto con exclusiones / descuentos. Los compromisos y la calificación basados ​​en parámetros específicos han aumentado el nivel de complejidad con respecto a la calificación y el cobro a sus socios.

Pasemos por 3 tipos de acuerdos que se ejecutan entre socios en estos días:

Existen varios escenarios de acuerdo (acuerdos) entre el operador y el socio de contenido basados ​​en diferentes modelos de negocio. Además, los modelos de ingresos compartidos han evolucionado desde un esquema de porcentaje fijo a en un enfoque basado en niveles o bandas a traves de los distintos escenarios de productos.

1. Un acuerdo basado en nuevas suscripciones

Número de nuevas suscripciones   Participación en ingresos

0 – 500                                            P %

501 – 2000                                     Q %

2001 y más                                     Q % y % adicional T % por número de suscriptores >2000

Según el acuerdo del socio, si las nuevas suscripciones son negativas para un mes en particular, no se realizará ningún pago al socio para ese mes.

2. Un acuerdo basado en promociones

Los ingresos compartidos entre las partes serán mensuales. El período de promoción puede ser de unos pocos meses o puede ser continuo. Si el usuario se suscribe al contenido de

Meses                  Participación en los ingresos

1 mes                           P %

2 Meses                       Q %

3 meses y más             R %

3. Un acuerdo basado en la penetración en el mercado.

En este escenario, el operador puede compartir los ingresos en función de la penetración de los suscriptores en un área. La complejidad involucrada aquí es que el nivel de penetración de cada mercado es diferente del otro. Además de esto, hay ciertas áreas donde el radio se define con respecto a un punto de referencia. A los suscriptores dentro del radio se les cobrará una prima y, en consecuencia, la participación en los ingresos.

En el escenario competitivo del mercado actual, las asociaciones se han convertido en una necesidad para los operadores de telecomunicaciones y avanzan mediante la firma de contratos innovadores y complejos. Los ejemplos mencionados anteriormente de contratos / acuerdos digitales son algunos de los modelos que hemos tratado recientemente. En el futuro, veremos muchos de estos modelos con mayor complejidad y definiciones de contratos digitales innovadores.

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Las 5 razones principales por las que los operadores de telecomunicaciones deberían explorar contratos de socios innovadores

La industria de las telecomunicaciones ha evolucionado a lo largo de los años en la economía digital a través de innovaciones tecnológicas. El cambio entre la generación de redes está progresando rápidamente, y eso tiene un impacto en los casos de uso de negocios y los sistemas BSS / OSS que son parte de este ecosistema. Si bien hoy hay un gran revuelo sobre 5G, el lanzamiento de 4G todavía está en progreso en ciertas regiones. 5G ha abierto una serie de nuevas oportunidades de negocios con realidad aumentada, autos autónomos, transformación de la atención médica y más. Con este ritmo y agilidad sin precedentes en el negocio, las asociaciones desempeñan un papel muy importante para los proveedores de servicios de comunicación (CSP), y necesitan estar bien equipados para gestionar la complejidad de contratos mayoristas y así lograr el éxito.

Estos son los 5 impulsores para que los CSP firmen contratos con innovadores modelos de precios económicos:

  • 1. Ecosistema cambiante de la industria de las telecomunicaciones.

La industria de las telecomunicaciones está experimentando un cambio radical en el escenario actual con múltiples socios en el ecosistema digital. Un CSP ya no está aislado en el mercado, sino que es una parte integral de un ecosistema vital. Están colaborando con diferentes proveedores y socios para proporcionar productos diferenciadores y con contenido innovador para servicios digitales de la nueva era, como la transmisión de audio y video a pedido. Todo esto coloca a los CSP en el meollo de toda la acción. Con una infraestructura robusta y la capacidad de procesar datos en grandes volúmenes, esta es una posición única que se puede aprovechar en este escenario cambiante.

  • 2. Nueva Liga de Clientes y Socios

La dinámica cambiante en la industria ha dado lugar a una nueva liga de clientes que son agresivos y precisos. Es necesario que haya transparencia en todos los aspectos del negocio. Los plazos de los contratos son cada vez más cortos y exigentes, mientras que los modelos de negocio de los CSP no se han adaptado para satisfacer estas demandas.

Las asociaciones son muy variadas, ya que la demanda de contenido mejor e innovador sigue creciendo, y esto podría variar desde un canal, una empresa de juegos hasta un creador de contenido individual. Las alianzas estratégicas son clave, y la transparencia también es esencial aquí. Con socios no tradicionales para estos nuevos tipos de contenido, el modelo de negocio debe ser adaptable y receptivo.

  • 3. Abrazando la digitalización

Atrás quedaron aquellos días en que los CSP se centran simplemente en intercambiar hojas de tarifas entre socios para facturar el uso de los servicios. El precio se ha vuelto cada vez más competitivo. Los márgenes se están reduciendo más rápido de lo que puede crecer la nueva CAGR empresarial. Darse cuenta de las devoluciones lleva más tiempo de lo habitual. Entonces, ¿cómo está reaccionando el mercado? Bueno, la reacción ha sido explorar contratos no convencionales impulsados por volúmenes de datos. La complejidad de la calificación, ha aumentado en los contratos digitales con calificaciones de nivel slab/exclusiones / descuentos y compromisos.

  • 4. El contenido es el rey

Bill Gates no se equivocó a fines de los años 90 cuando escribió un artículo prediciendo cómo se ganaría dinero real al compartir contenido en línea. La última década ha visto una incursión masiva por parte de los CSP en el espacio de contenido con el pretexto de la diversificación. Hace unos años, NBC Universal (adquirido por Comcast) y Time Warner Cable (adquirido por AT&T) se consideraron más como un cambio para el mercado del video que para las telecomunicaciones. Pero con la nueva tecnología digital para distribuir contenido, y no solo los canales de medios tradicionales, los CSP han ganado importancia allí. Los CSP se están asociando con los jugadores OTT para proporcionar contenido exclusivo y servicios de audiencia especializados en forma de paquetes premium. Las suscripciones OTT dirigidas por operadores se han convertido en el nuevo modelo de negocio que impulsa los ingresos a través de segmentos de clientes específicos.

  • 5. El ascenso del Edge Computing

Dado que se espera que miles de millones de dispositivos IoT se usen en todo el mundo en los próximos años, la informática Edge jugará un papel fundamental para aprovechar la conectividad de datos de alta velocidad. Las asociaciones se volverán vitales con una mayor colaboración de proveedores en las áreas de dispositivos de borde como sensores, almacenamiento, computación y alimentación, etc. Los CSP se convertirán en la columna vertebral de esta red al proporcionar la conectividad requerida a todos los socios involucrados en el ecosistema.

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Debolina Ray

Debolina is a seasoned professional who specializes in Telecom Partner Settlement, Route Optimization, Interconnect Billing and Order Management/Provisioning. She has over 10 years of experience in the Telecom industry and has a vast exposure to customers from all regions. Debolina currently works as a Technical Product Manager where she manages the product management for the Cost Analytics Portfolio of Subex. She is an active contributor on various forums like Actuate, QlikTech, and is also a voracious reader and an active blogger.

Top 5 reasons why telecom operators should explore innovative partner contracts

The telecommunications industry has been evolving over the years in this digital economy through technological innovations. The shift between the generation of networks is progressing swiftly, and that sees an impact in business use cases and the BSS/OSS systems that are part of this ecosystem. While there is a huge buzz about 5G today, the 4G rollout is still in progress in certain regions. 5G has opened a host of new business opportunities with augmented reality, self-driven cars, transforming healthcare and more. With this unprecedented pace and agility in the business, partnerships play a very significant role for Communication Service Providers (CSPs), and they need to be well equipped to manage complex wholesale contracts to succeed.

Here are the 5 drivers for CSPs to sign contracts with innovative economic pricing models:

  • 1. Changing Ecosystem of the Telecommunications Industry

The telecommunications industry is experiencing a radical shift in the current scenario with multiple partners in the digital ecosystem. A CSP is no longer isolated in the market, but an integral part of a vital ecosystem. They are collaborating with different vendors and partners to provide differential products, innovative content for new age digital services like on-demand audio and video streaming. All of this puts the CSPs at the crux of all the action. With robust infrastructure and ability to process data in huge volumes, this is a unique position that can be leveraged in this changing scenario.

  • 2. New League of Customers and Partners

The changing dynamics in the industry has given rise to a new league of customers who are aggressive and precision-driven. There needs to be transparency in every aspect of the business. Contract timelines are getting shorter and demanding, while CSPs’ business models have not adapted to meet these demands.

Partnerships are very varied, as the demand for better and more innovative content keeps growing, and this could range from a channel, a gaming company to an individual content creator. Strategic partnerships are key, and transparency is essential here as well. With non-traditional partners for these newer types on content, the business model needs to be adaptive and responsive.

  • 3. Embracing Digitalization

Gone are those days when CSPs focus on merely exchanging rate cards among partners to bill the usage of services. Pricing has become increasingly competitive. Margins are shrinking faster than new business CAGR can grow. Realizing returns is taking a longer time than usual. So, how is the market reacting? Well, the reaction has been to explore unconventional contracts that are driven by data volumes. The complexity of rating has increased in digital contracts with tier/ slab ratings, exclusions/discounts, and commitments.

  • 4. Content is the King

Bill Gates wasn’t wrong in the late 90s when he wrote a paper predicting how real money will be made by sharing content online. Last decade has seen massive foray by CSPs into the content space under the pretext of diversification. Few years back, NBC Universal (acquired by Comcast) and Time Warner Cable (acquired by AT&T) were seen more as a change for the video market than for telecommunication. But with new digital technology to distribute content, and not just traditional media channels, CSPs have gained prominence there. CSPs are partnering with the OTT players to provide exclusive content and niche audience services in the form of premium bundles. Operator-led OTT subscriptions have become the new business model driving the revenues through targeted customer segments.

  • 5. Rise of Edge Computing

With billions of IoT devices expected to be in use globally in the coming years, Edge computing will play a critical role in taking the advantage of high-speed data connectivity. Partnerships will become vital with increased collaboration of vendors in the areas of edge devices like sensors, storage, compute & power, etc. CSPs will become the backbone of this network by providing the required connectivity to all partners involved in the ecosystem.

The last 5 years have been crucial for CSPs in transforming into digital service providers, and this has opened a whole lot of new business opportunities and challenges. Digital transformation had been the buzz word in the industry for almost a decade. In hindsight, it is just an enabler and real transition happens only when organizations embrace & evolve with it.

If you are interested in knowing more about managing complex wholesale contracts

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Debolina Ray

Debolina is a seasoned professional who specializes in Telecom Partner Settlement, Route Optimization, Interconnect Billing and Order Management/Provisioning. She has over 10 years of experience in the Telecom industry and has a vast exposure to customers from all regions. Debolina currently works as a Technical Product Manager where she manages the product management for the Cost Analytics Portfolio of Subex. She is an active contributor on various forums like Actuate, QlikTech, and is also a voracious reader and an active blogger.

Managing Complex Partner Agreements in the Digital Era

Digitalization has opened a plethora of opportunities for Communication Service Providers (CSP) across the globe to transform their traditional service offerings, moving from telephony into content-driven businesses and reaching the status of Digital Service Providers (DSP). There is a paradigm shift in the telecommunications ecosystem with the entry of technological disruptors (like OTT players) resulting in a portfolio of services with competitive pricing models. The depletion of voice revenues and the rise of data services has changed the dynamics of business partnerships.

The traditional telecom service provider is no longer isolated in the market and has multiple collaborations for audio, video, content, analytics, cloud, etc. Furthermore, due to shrinking margins, operators are looking forward to having contracts/agreements with their vendors and partners, which will create a win-win situation for the parties involved. According to a recent survey by TM Forum, DSPs have a revenue opportunity of around $142 billion from digital services. Whether it is AT&T acquiring Time Warner for $85.4 billion or Reliance Jio integrating with Saavn to create JioSaavn app, telcos are looking to roll out exclusive content to their end customers. Considering that there is much to gain, a DSP without a strong content offering in today’s scenario is almost unimaginable.

A DSP often has hundreds of content provider contracts (mostly with aggregators) to manage, and there is a huge diversity of partners ranging from a garage developer to the likes of Google.

Building success factors:

The phenomenal surge in data consumption by subscribers and free content is driving the majority of telcos’ core businesses today. In addition to this, few telcos are partnering with OTT players to provide exclusive content and niche services in the form of premium bundles. Operator-led OTT subscriptions have become the new business model driving revenues and customer segments.
Building Success Factors
Source: IHS Markit

Driving new business models – The increasing level of complexity

Initially, rate cards were exchanged between partners for billing the usage of services. Later they entered into bilateral agreements to settle the revenues between them. Now, telcos are moving to digital contracts by partnering with content providers and other OTT players. These digital contracts involve tier/slab ratings, along with exclusions/discounts. Commitments and rating based on specific parameters have increased the level of complexity with respect to rating and charging their partners.

Let us go through 3 types of agreements that are executed between partners these days:

There are several agreement scenarios (deals) between the operator and content partner based on different business models. Furthermore, revenue sharing models have been evolving from fixed % based to a tier/slab-based approach across product scenarios.

1. An agreement based on new subscriptions

No of New Subscriptions    Revenue Share

0 – 500                                           P %

501 – 2000                                     Q %

2001 and above                              Q % and additional T % for no of subs >2000

As per the partner agreement, if new subscriptions are negative for a particular month, no pay-out will be made to the partner for that month.

2. An agreement based on promotions

Revenue sharing between the parties will be on a monthly basis. The promotion period can be for a few months or it can be ongoing. If the user subscribes to the content for

Months                  Revenue Share

1 month                         P %

2 months                       Q %

3 months and above      R %

3. An agreement based on market penetration

In this scenario, the operator is liable to share the revenue based on the penetration of subscribers in an area. The complexity involved here is that the penetration level of each market is different from the other. In addition to this, there are certain areas where the radius is defined with respect to a landmark. Subscribers within the radius will be charged a premium and accordingly the revenue share.

In today’s competitive market scenario, partnerships have become the need of the hour for telecom operators and they are moving ahead by signing innovative and complex contracts. The above mentioned examples of digital contracts/agreements are a few models that we have recently dealt with. In the future, we will see many such models with increased complexity and innovative digital contract definitions.

If you are interested in knowing more about managing complex wholesale contracts

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Have you negotiated or signed any complex contract recently? Let us know in the comments section below. Looking for partner who can help you handle complex contact? Talk to us.

Off-beam transformation – What are the side effects & challenges?

Has your organization’s promotional advertisement campaign ever gone off-beam (incorrect or mistaken)? Not only it’s a loss of an investment, but also drastically affects the credibility of the business. Imagine the scale of impact, if a telco’s business transformation, from legacy to new systems, goes off-beam? That would be the worst nightmare for a telecom operator.

Need for transformation

Telcos across the globe are evolving from delivering traditional services to new age services. New age services, like content, digital services, require collaboration with multiple partners serving the ecosystem. One critical aspect of the evolution is the transformation of different OSS and BSS systems to cater to technological disruptions, fixed-mobile convergence, increasing competition and changing mindset of the digital consumers.

Challenges of transformation

Transformation involves migrating complex and voluminous data from legacy systems to the new systems. Proper design, analysis, planning, testing and eventually execution is required to achieve the desired results. Yet, many transformation programs run into multiple issues of quality, budget, and timelines.

One critical area that has a direct impact on the customer experience is charging and invoicing. Off beam transformation, resulting in overcharging or undercharging subscribers, lead to revenue leakages and customer dissatisfaction.

There are many aspects that have a direct bearing on the transformation process. However, they needn’t threaten the transformation journey. Assuring the transformation journey will be the key differentiator in the end user experience.

Transformation journey in a leading South East Asian telco

A leading telco in South East Asia migrated their billing system from legacy to new and observed a dip in the postpaid revenue. While we investigated the reason for the same, below observations were captured:

  • Improper configuration of products in the process of transformation to a new system

It had been observed that there is a configuration gap in the new system where offerings given to customers and charging of those offerings is not the same. i.e. the retail tariffs as per the marketing catalog are not matching with the charging rates configured in the billing system. Some of the top revenue-generating postpaid plans were analyzed and an estimated under booking of revenue of USD~ 35K was detected since migration for those plans due to issues in configuration and rating.

  • Incorrect application of a discount for some plans was observed

While performing the discount and rating validation, increased discount for the month after migration was noticed and it was because of the behavioral change of the rental/commitment charging. A discount of few million USD was given on one offer id. In addition to this, few Customers were found where positive discounts were given, i.e. discount addition was done in the invoice in place of reduction. Voice and SMS are completely zero-rated and not charged for one of the plans which had accounted for a huge revenue leakage from that plan.

  • Incorrect invoices were generated and sent to the subscribers

Overcharging on invoices was observed which can lead to compliance issue with the regulatory body. While performing the product validation, few cases had been observed where customers were being charged for their old subscribed plan even after they deactivated from that plan. This causes dissatisfaction to subscribers and may lead to customer churn.

Multiple reasons can be attributed for the transformation going off beam in the above scenario:

  • Complexity of data and issues with data interpretation
  • Lack of project management expertise
  • Absence of exhaustive test-plan
  • Lack of a comprehensive governance framework to manage intergroup deliveries

Had these issues been taken care by the telco while performing the migration of their billing system, the above resulted revenue leakage would have been reduced.

Conclusion

“Rome wasn’t built in a day but burned in one”

Transformation is a complex process requiring proper execution, especially billing systems that are at the core of any telco business.

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