Wi-Fi Roaming: Paving the Way for Carrier Wi-Fi

Smart Devices have revolutionized the way we live. Wi-Fi has enabled internet access and ‘anytime-anywhere’ connectivity at a touch of a button. This interrelated demand of ‘mobility’ and ‘connectivity’ certainly defines the expectations of today’s consumers, who prefer to use Wi-Fi, as opposed to their 3G or 4G network, to consume and share data.

However, we cannot address the opportunities afforded by Wi-Fi without mentioning Wi-Fi roaming, which allows smart devices to seamlessly hop between hotspots without any interaction or input from the user. Considered a revolution in mobile data, Wi-Fi roaming enables users to seamlessly connect to Wi-Fi hotspots without having to constantly log in. And the plan for achieving that is to automate Wi-Fi connectivity by using SIM card credentials for authentication. This represents the biggest move towards universal connectivity data ever since the introduction of WAP, GPRS and subsequent mobile data standards.

Roam Anywhere Stay Connected with Wi-Fi Roaming

Wi-Fi roaming is paving ahead a way for carrier Wi-Fi. To make global Wi-Fi roaming possible, core infrastructure should operate like Next Generation Hotspot (NGH) infrastructure and vice a versa. Carriers can transform their end user experience by avoiding bill shock and make mobile connectivity infinitely easier like never before in Roaming scenarios. The technology is already here; but in order for Wi-Fi roaming to meet its true potential, a series of things need to fall into place.

Carrier Wi-Fi helps subscribers connect to various hotspots with the device of their choice wherever they go.  Wi-Fi roaming can become interoperable and function efficiently only when there is standardization across all constituents involved – mobile device, access point and service provider. This can be simplified by adapting to the Passpoint Compliant Hotspot 2.0 regulations which standardizes hotspots and devices to work together automatically. Passpoint enabled Wi-Fi service holds the potential to stimulate customer loyalty and drive measurable business value for both service providers and retailers.

Furthermore to set new standards and transform the overall Wi-Fi roaming experience, Operators should overcome the challenges of lack of standard roaming agreements and device standards, inconsistent user experience and irregular cost of roaming, seamless authentication, 3G/4G/LTE- Wi-Fi Interworking and monetization models and techniques.

For Overcoming these barriers requires a Wi-Fi Service Management platform capable of handling authentication for roaming and partnership scenarios, interoperable with global roaming providers, support multiple roaming standards. Supporting this will enable operators to increase their footprint and differentiate their services by offering Wi-Fi connections to major public locations (i.e., airports, libraries and cafes) as part of their value offerings across places globally. Moreover support for Wi-Fi roaming standards WiSPr, Hotspot 2.0 compliance will make Wi-Fi connection process simpler through seamless handover across hotspots from 3G/4G, allowing them to roam globally with inbound and outbound roaming support.

Win a Competitive Edge:

a. Simplified Manageability & Interconnectivity: It reduces the complexity of managing mobile data roaming and services across multiple business relationships (operators, WISPs, etc.) and roaming partners to provide a secured relationship management

b. Seamless Connectivity: Inter-operator roaming agreements will set up partnerships between internet service providers, mobile carriers and hotspot providers which will ensure that the service they provide meets customer expectations. This will also allow smart devices to seamlessly connect to Wi-Fi networks using SIM credentials for authentication and enables operators uniquely and securely identify whether users are on a mobile or Wi-Fi in roaming

C. Optimum Revenue Realization: Carriers can take the best of opportunity and maximize revenue potential through roaming partnerships and settlement with global service providers, infrastructure sharing with other operators, reconciliation with other Wi-Fi providers

Interested in knowing more about Wi-Fi Roaming Platform? Click for more information.

Propelling Monetization Opportunities for MSOs with Innovative Billing

Cable Industry is witnessing major changes and huge opportunities have emerged due to growth and technology. With reforms like cable digitization, growth in new media, impact of digital technologies and distribution and other technological changes happening at a rapid speed, a new world of innovations is certainly on rise. Marking a paradigm shift in the end user experience in entertainment, cable digitization will ensure that end consumers get access to better quality content, at the same time, this can provide an ideal platform for MSOs to innovate on weaving integrated billing and subscriber management into their systems and innovate on providing next generation entertainment services to their end customers and benefit from this change as well.

Converting Challenges into Opportunities

With rapid digitization, industry players are now focusing on creating business models and revenue streams to monetize from digital media, instead of simply using it as an engagement tool. Cable MSOs (Multi-system operators) are heavily investing in order to embrace the next generation standards in cable digitization.

On the other hand, the increasing numbers of digital TV households and high-speed broadband households is also enabling MSOs to expand their subscriber base and innovate on maximizing revenue opportunities through next generation service offerings such as high definition TV, faster internet access, On-demand Music/Content/Video, Triple Play, etc.

As cable operators prepare their networks to handle digitization in a cost effective manner, and at the same time look at capturing ever-increasing customer market share, they are facing key business challenges such as -

  • To ensure that new digital service delivery process performs authentication, device identification, payment etc. the operators require a more dynamic billing & customer care solution.
  • To make sure that the end customers get benefited through personalized services and content flexibility on a continuous basis.
  • To ensure that there is support for providing multiple digital services on multiple networks like FTTH, HFC or COAX and managing the large number of digital devices & applications at single touch point.

In addition to the above customer centric challenges, MSOs also have business centric challenges such as maintaining subscriber and revenue transparency based on LCOs (Local Cable Operators) / JVs(Joint Ventures), ensuring quick inter-partner settlement with broadcasters, content and OTT providers on new revenue streams and offering real time customer alerts & notifications that can be integrated with the STB system to view and manage payment and services information in a smooth manner.

All the above challenges can be converted into opportunities for the MSOs and can be efficiently addressed with the help of a next generation billing and subscriber management solution that can provide the sufficient business flexibility and scalability to deliver return on their network investment.

To know how Elitecore can bring innovative monetization for MSOs, please click here

Top Reasons Operators Should Increase Mobile App Usage for Driving Revenue

From social networking to instant messaging, games to online deals, navigation searching to photo sharing…in today’s smart phone era, everyone is using apps for communicating and sharing data. An average consumer is estimated to spend approximately two hours every day using and engaging with mobile applications.

This digitized age has opened a large door for mobile operators and other service providers, who now have an almost infinite number of revenue generation opportunities at their fingertips. These include text messages, hyper local and context aware advertisements, social media interactions or even locations oriented services—all which offer a pool of monetization opportunities for those ready and willing to capitalize on them.

Mobile operators should cast an eye toward application usage for driving revenue for the following reasons:

  • The space is booming:
    With more than 102 billion Mobile Apps downloads globally and app revenues reaching $26 billion in 2013, Mobile applications have become an essential ingredient for mobile subscribers and add immensely to their diverse needs (Source: Gartner).   Also with the anytime anywhere connectivity approach, users are constantly in search of Free Wi-Fi for data access and heavy downloads. Users are eyeing for an all-in-one App which helps them with seamless 2G/3G to Wi-Fi connectivity, social media access, location specific notifications on-the-go, pop up for deals and promotions, navigation on Google map, indication for battery meter and much more. That means win-win situation for both, high quality user experience for end user with real time enablement of features and opportunity for mobile operators to generate more profits by partnering with content providers and advertisers to flash content and advertisements on Apps and instantly realize revenue.
  • Maintain market relevance :
    To be relevant in today’s ever-competitive market, Mobile Operators are constantly looking for new opportunities to leverage applications for driving more revenue. According to a global market research firm, “Messaging apps like Viber and Line are starting to monetize their audiences by introducing innovative new business models.” Operators are coming up with add-on customized Apps for various device platforms like Android, iOS, windows etc. There is an increasing demand for a tool kit which allows the operators to customize and introduce new features in their existing app. Thus, enabling the operators to follow latest trends and establish a relevant position in this ever changing market.

With a keen understanding of the marketplace, operators are opening new horizons to a whole new world of media for its customers and correspondingly generating revenue from every transaction.

Learn more about how Elitecore’s enhanced Mobile App, an integral part of Wi-Fi Service Management Platform (SMP) accomplish the requirements of Service providers with its advanced new features.

Common OTT Challenges Operators Face and How to Solve them

The telecommunications market is more innovative and full of opportunity than ever – the reason being that the market is quickly changing, which can pose challenges for competing operators in the space.

The rapid pace of today’s marketplace, combined with a rising number of over – the – top (OTT) players, has required all operators to become more responsive and agile in order to keep up and maintain healthy revenue streams. Let’s take a look at some of the most common obstacles that operators face today, as well as some strategies for how to sidestep them.

  • Interoperability: Depending on the device, OS and application being used, interoperability can become a major challenge, especially with feature phones and non-IP-based devices, which can result in fragmented communication and billing. To prevent this, consider implementing a billing system that doesn’t require you to do a complete overhaul of your existing legacy billing system but rather one that seamlessly integrates with the equipment. This will enable you to save on costs and avoid a rip-and-replace.
  • Creating and capitalizing on new services: Consumer preferences and usage patterns are ever-changing, meaning traditional services and products will no longer secure revenue. To help stay ahead of the curve, operators must switch from traditional voice services and cast an eye toward data and revenue opportunities like bundling. Not only this, but you must ensure that you can bring new products and services quickly to market-something that a bleeding-edge, OTT Monetization Platform that helps operators to adopt diverse partnership models for various OTT partners including platform partners, content partners, banks etc opening up new avenues for revenue generation through faster rollout of OTT services and reaping the benefit out of it.
  • Dependency on operators to ensure quality of service (QoS): A large part of ensuring revenue generation is locking in customer satisfaction. To guarantee that customers are happy, high QoS must be delivered for applications and services. This means rapidly delivering services and accurately charging for those services—something that a fully featured telecom billing solution can handle.

Breaking the Barriers of Wi-Fi Monetization for MNOs

As a mobile network operator (MNO), your company supplies essential Wi-Fi service to business owners. But are you profiting as much as you can off of the network access that you are supplying? Here are three ways that you can better monetize the services that you offer:

Network location awareness (NLA): NLA services collect user device configuration and location information and notify applications when changes occur. A Global Positioning System (GPS) is a common example of an NLA. This information is valuable to other companies as it provides critical feedback as to where—and how—end users are using their applications. Equipped with that knowledge, you’re able to effectively target them with specific advertisements. For example, NLA data might show that every time a customer is at a certain coffee shop, she immediately searches a music app. If that’s the case, operators can sell targeted advertisements.

Advertising on the capital portal network: A capital portal network is commonly used for large public Wi-Fi settings where large amounts of people connect to a network at once. This is prime advertising space for companies that want to provide location-based, real-time advertising services for end users.

Intelligent offloading: A business owner needs to supply fast and efficient Wi-Fi connectivity to end users. But this is impossible if the mobile network they use is congested due to a heavy amount of end users. Intelligent offloading services can help alleviate clogged networks, which can reduce connection costs.

Interested in learning more about how Elitecore can help you monetize the Wi-Fi services that you provide? Click here for more information.

The Perks of an Online Charging System (OCS) for Billing Operators

As a telecommunications service provider, you need to offer more than basic connectivity  for your end users. You need to provide strong customer service, too. Billing needs to be offered in real-time and it should reflect the customer’s most current usage in order to mitigate confusion delays in payment—and ensure that you get the compensation that you need.

An online charging system (OCS) is a software platform that facilitates real-time customer billing based on the content and volume of services rendered.  Here are some of the top benefits that an OCS platform will provide:

A better subscriber experience: An OCS system will allow your customers to access their account from a variety of mobile devices.  Subscribers can access rates and charges, and manage their account in real-time with an OCS. Investing in an OCS will therefore improve the overall quality of service and create satisfied customers.

Charge for service in real time: Waiting until after a service is rendered to charge for data usage could result in a big revenue loss for your company as some customers might not pay their bills. Streamline the billing collection process by charging your subscribers as they access the information you provide.

Acquire more market share and relevance: One of the only ways to expand your business as a service provider is to offer new and enticing services for your customers. Achieve this with the flexible and efficient billing service of an OCS. This will increase market share and differentiate your business from your competitors.

Elitecore Technologies  is a telecommunications billing provider that helps support operators with its robust OCS platform. Click here for more information about Elitecore.

Three Compelling Reasons for Cable MSOs to Think About Convergent Billing and Revenue Management leading to Triple Play services

Although there is plenty of business potential for cable multiservice operators (MSOs) to monetize  Cable/Pay TV, Broadband, VOIP (Offering 3P- Triple Play) and other services that they offer, they face some serious challenges with regards to revenue leakage and end-customer experience. They are also facing huge customer churn and the business opportunities to big DTH operators.  Managing partnership with LCO / operators is another limitation the MSOs are facing as they don’t have complete visibility of the LCO business operations who front end on behalf of these MSOs to customers. The need of hour for these MSOs is to go for digitization, without  which  they would always struggle to realize the full potential of Cable Multi service business. Digitization will help MSOs get complete visibility of their customer base and  channel wise viewership which  will also help MSOs to pay broadcasters based on the viewership. For smaller cable MSOs, revenue generation and growth will ultimately stem from their ability to secure more market share from the industry’s most entrenched providers.

Another challenge for cable MSOs is availability of product in market in as-is form which meets their business requirements. The BSS systems are primarily catering to Telecom operators and partially meet Cable TV MSOs requirements. So the need of hour for these operators is to get integrated charging, billing and revenue management solution catering to Cable MSOs need. This will help MSOs get grip on the LCOs/Operators management, get 360 degree view of customer and pay broadcasters based on viewers thus supporting complete partner management capabilities across multiple service domains like Cable/Pay TV, Broadband, VOIP, Lease Line etc. To increase the reach to customers, provide convergent services and increase revenue per customer, MSOs are trying to launch Broadband services over their existing cable network. Thus there arise the need for convergent and integrated charging; billing and revenue management platform which can help MSOs increase their market share and customer satisfaction index. Elitecore’s convergent Integrated Revenue and Customer Management platform can cater to MSO business needs and growth. Here are three competitive benefits of such IRCM platform:

  1. A centralized product catalogue supporting 3P services: Presents all services and products in one comprehensive view for operators to efficiently sell, bundle and price their own plans for maximum revenue generation with capabilities supporting Content Management, Ala Carte Management, Video on Demand, Bandwidth on Demand, Pay as you go.
  2. Policy and charging rules function (PCRF) + Authentication, Authorization and Accounting (AAA): Enables operators to simplify their network by making functions and services more easily integrated and flexible. This control also enables operators to augment revenue and reduce data delivery costs. Tracks network resource consumption by users for capturing capacity trends and cost allocation.
  3. Convergent Rating & Billing along with LCO/Operator management: Manage Rating and Billing of customer data/duration usage and on demand content usage, Billing of Hardware binded with customer, manage LCO/Operator account life cycle along with partner hierarchies and financial reporting.

Other reasons to invest include provisioning, sophisticated customer and partner self-care portal and an IP log management system—all which empower cable MSOs to ramp up their digitization efforts and quickly capitalize on new revenue opportunities.

Recently, Elitecore Technologies revealed new partnerships with three Asia/Pacific-based cable MSOs for its pay TV and broadband services. Asia/Pacific is undergoing a rapid digital TV conversion (the region already owns 55 percent of global pay TV subscriptions) and Elitecore is thrilled to be a part of this transformational period.

Powering Monetization for Wi-Fi networks

Better intelligence driven data analytics techniques are providing a solid platform for operators to increase their chances of monetizing their networks

With more and more operators moving towards an era of heterogeneous networks, where different technologies such as 3G, 4G LTE and Wi-Fi coexist, it is increasingly getting down to their ability to monetize subscriber transactions that is deciding the winners in the next generation race for telecoms profitability.

In such a scenario, gathering the right amount of subscriber related business intelligence is seen as a great way to boost potential of monetization, especially from Wi-Fi networks. Driven by a crunch to deliver data intensive services, large set of operators are moving towards embracing heterogeneous network environments and hence there is an increasing demand for closely weaving Wi-Fi inside the network fabric.

But on the other hand, managing such great amount of network complexity with the control systems along with the wealth of data flowing is a great challenge for the operator community and hence, operators are continuously looking forward to incorporate effective ways to achieve qualitative subscriber based insights from quantitative data originating inside their network environment.

And even when operators are successful in obtaining rich subscriber data, they find it extremely difficult to monetize such data intensive opportunities. This is where an intelligence driven network monetization can help operators mobilize better revenue opportunities from their existing network ecosystem.

Network driven business intelligence is seen as a set of decision making tools and applications that can be used to collect, store and analyse subscriber data which can be further converted into actionable information for operators’ monetization goals. Some of such applications and strategies are built around data usage and device usage analytics coming from subscriber data and hence such analytics drives operators to provide better plans based on network usage, devices, preferences, location, data usage, promotional offers and thus deliver quality of experience (QoE), and gain more from their existing infrastructure investments.

The Power of Wi-Fi Business Intelligence in Monetization

There is essentially a requirement of  Smart Wi-Fi with business Intelligence that builds the analytics to analyze and monitor Wi-Fi data in order to provide exceptional quality of service with enhanced operational efficiency and innovative plans/bundled packages. Using such intelligence will help operators to create dynamic policies based on user requirement and thus offer differentiated services enabling to launch new innovative business models that enables operators to monetize from Wi-Fi network.

Role of PCRF for Next Generation network

Policy and charging rules function (PCRF)—policy equipment for bandwidth and charging on multimedia networks—supports service data flow protection, policy enforcement and flow-based charging. The technology works by accessing and aggregating a number of information sources, such as subscriber databases and operational support systems (OSS), to determine accurate pricing models for mobile network operators (MNOs) looking to monetize multimedia services from data to video to voice.

Gartner estimates the number of Internet-connected devices to grow to 26 billion units by 2020, resulting in a $1.9 trillion global economic value-add through sales into various end-markets. As networks and services continue to evolve—and network operators will be forced to gain better control over increasing data traffic—complete policy control will become paramount for MNOs looking to carve out their piece of this financial pie.

That’s where PCRF comes into the picture. There are plenty of benefits of PCRF for mobile network operators. Let’s take a look at the chief benefits afforded by the technology:

  • Reduced data delivery costs: With increased transparency into data policy and charging, operators will be able to more accurately charge services, thus reducing data delivery costs.
  • Simplified network operations: PCRF enables operators to simplify their network by making functions and services more easily integrated and flexible.
  • Increased revenue: With better control thanks to a centralized PCRF system, operators can more quickly deploy and deliver personalized services and/or service packages based on operator policies.

Elitecore offers unified policy control platform compliant to 3GPP specifications, which includes pre-integrated PCEF/DPI and PCRF functions to enable new monetization and personalization opportunities for operators and optimize customers’ service experience. The platform integrates with existing OSS and BSS system over standard interfaces.

Furthermore, built-in deep packet inspection technology offers real-time network intelligence and is highly scalable to handle and process huge traffic in the data path. Boasting tight integration with NetVertex PCRF over a standard Gx interface, Elitecore’s solution enables dynamic and rapid decision making to ensure the fastest revenue generation possible.

The Integrated Solution offers the following benefits to operators:

  • Traffic shaping on specific application and protocols like non-time sensitive apps (P2P,FTP), QoS tagging and real-time decision making per subscriber
  • Congestion control and mitigation per subscriber or type of subscriber
  • Network traffic classification, which helps save time during peak operating times
  • Smart routing for video optimization
  • Cache server for premium subscribers based on application, user profile or user consumption
  • Application/service centric data plans with differential charging and quality of service (QoS)
  • Block the application/allow the application feature

Elitecore’s industry-leading PCRF solution enables unique use cases like parental control, website/URL blocking, turbo booster and volume on-demand, and is also location and device-specific.  To learn more about how you can benefit from a bleeding-edge PCRF solution, contact an Elitecore representative today.

Innovating Connectivity with LTE – Wi-Fi Interworking

At a time when end customers look for high-speed data to power their new age device form factors, operators look for cost effective methodologies to enable this growing thirst for data and also put efforts to ease out pressure from their networks.

This data intensive challenge can successfully be met by innovating on delivering connectivity to the users by intertwining next generation cellular technologies such as LTE with Wi-Fi and deliver carrier-grade Wi-Fi coverage regions that can offload the operator traffic in a cost efficient manner.

Internet Protocol or IP is the underlying fabric upon which networks are built and IP defines the structure of information packets and most importantly, it also defines how they are transported between two end-to-end IP-devices across an interconnection of networks.

Driven by global standards, IP protocols are designed to be agnostic to the underlying characteristics of any of the intervening networks and have provided the highway architecture for the modern internet today.

And owing to these technology agnostic characteristics of IP, it has become a natural choice of selection for interworking Cellular and Wi-Fi Networks, since It is a common language that be supported by both the networks and seamlessly integrates the both to deliver best in class carrier grade Wi-Fi capability that can deliver exactly what users need and where they need it.

The world over, including in India, operators are fast realising the full potential of Wi-Fi and as a result, today, Cellular Wi-Fi Integration is seen as a technique that can smartly manage difficult data traffic scenarios in a mobile operator network. And hence, in such a situation, a successful amalgamation of Wi-Fi and Cellular technologies such as LTE can dynamically route data to use the optimal radio interface that is just ideal for particular data application at the user end.

The best part of this technological integration is the fact that at the end user level, nothing changes, while at the operator level cellular network handshake of Wi-Fi ensures a considerable reduction of stress on operator’s backhaul as well as optimal usage of network resources such as spectrum.

As there is an upsurge in the usage of mobile devices such as iPhone, tablets and phablets, delivering the right user experience is becoming increasingly important for operators as consumers expect to receive the same quality of service whether they use Wi-Fi, 3G or LTE.

But at the operator level, as a intertwining technology, Wi-Fi must provide operators with the right tools to manage Wi-Fi networks in a similar fashion that operators are used to operate and maintain their existing 3G or LTE networks, and hence delivery of carrier grade Wi-Fi solutions becomes important.

In a 4G scenario where operators are looking at incorporating best possible LTE strategies, Wi-Fi is an intertwining technology that can very well integrate the trusted and untrusted Wi-Fi networks with operator’s packet core and this way operators can provide a seamless integration of their mobile and Wi-Fi access.

LTE – Wi-Fi Interworking

LTE – Wi-Fi interworking is a methodology which can enable an operator to offload their LTE driven subscriber data requirement on to a Wi-Fi Access network and still be able to control LTE packet core infrastructure for subscriber Authentication, Policy and Charging functions.

While operators device strategy to interlink LTE and Wi-Fi, authentication of the end user is surely a very critical aspect for any network and that is why operators need a converged AAA that supports DIAMETER based EAP authentication along with RADIUS based authentication for RADIUS supportive networks like Wi-Fi. And this is where Elitecore can provide a much needed boost for operators Wi-Fi strategy.

Seamless Integration of LTE and Wi-Fi 

Elitecore has an advanced AAA known as Evolved 3GPP AAA compliant to industry standards of 3GPP which plays an important role in LTE interworking with Wi-Fi.

Converting challenges into opportunities for operators, this compliant by Elitecore can support diameter based EAP Authentication required for integration with LTE type of network or where Access network is on DIAMETER as well as authentication for RADIUS supportive networks like Wi-Fi. And hence this can enable a platform on which LTE and Wi-Fi interworking can be established in a seamless manner.

Elitecore’s Evolved 3GPP AAA also holds functionalities that can provide the Wx interface support for HSS authentication over LTE network. It is capable to provide support for 3GPP standard compliant SWa interface for EAP authentication with HSS as well as capable to support SWm – for additional Authentication parameters based on subscriber profile, authorization information update, ePDG initiated session termination and S2b interface support towards PGW over GTP or PMIPv6 tunnelling. It will also provide support for S6b interface between 3GPP evolved AAA and P-GW for tunnelling authentication.

Business Benefits of LTE-Wi-Fi Interworking

  • LTE- Wi-Fi Interworking allows the operator to provide the same set services which are already available in existing LTE network – Product plans
  • Operator can use Wi-Fi as alternate technology to LTE where LTE radio coverage weak or cost of coverage is higher compare to Wi-Fi
  • LTE- Wi-Fi Interworking allows operator to grow their network into rural / distant area and save on transport and OPEX cost
  • Allows Operator launch bundled services – with Wi-Fi
  • With packet core network integration an operator can enable improved visibility and control over Wi-Fi traffic and gain enhanced customer experience.
  • Furthermore, users are able to reach their LTE services via both mobile and Wi-Fi accesses. This makes Wi-Fi a truly integral part of mobile broadband access.
  • It enables even closer control over traffic with seamless network-controlled handovers between radio and Wi-Fi even during roaming.
  • Session continuity assures that applications are not affected when the user device moves between different Wi-Fi networks as the same IP address is preserved