The 3Ps for LTE Success: Profitability, Personalization and PCRF

LTE deployments continue to grow rapidly, over 320 deployments have been completed worldwide, and many operators are running LTE tests. LTE is gaining popularity and soon becoming a preferred choice for operators due to its low cost per bit and greater efficiency. However, this soaring demand for LTE does not guarantee soaring revenues for mobile operators and the biggest challenge for operators remain to get the subscriber spend more for more speed. To address this challenge, they need to have the right tools at their disposal – the 3Ps of Profitability, Personalization and PCRF.

LTE spectrum licenses cost operators dearly, hence Profitability is paramount for operators and they must figure out ways for monetizing their investments. Increasing profitability requires delivering a positive customer experience, innovative personalized services and managing network cost.  While Profitability and Personalization are crucial neither of these can be achieved without PCRF.

Policy control empowers the operator, with the flexibility and time to market advantage required to improve customer experience and satisfaction based on greater personalization, choice and spending control. PCRF enables operators to dynamically control network resources with real-time policies based on service, subscriber, or usage context. It enables dynamic allocation of bandwidth, Quality-of-service (QoS) and Bill shock notifications, novel offers such as unlimited night time offer or application specific plans or bundled plans, thus it personalizes user experience while increasing revenue opportunities for operators.

While most operators may have deployed a PCRF for their 3G network but they need to check its flexibility and ease of integration with charging over standard based Sy interface for new monetization and personalization use cases, such as Tiered Services, Shared Wallet, Turbo Boost etc. Network based PCRF offers very less flexibility. To capitalize on real-time intelligence, customer insight and innovate in LTE, operators need a next generation dynamic PCRF. In a highly competitive mobile broadband market this can mean the difference between gaining the first mover advantage and winning or falling behind the competition and losing with existing business models.

A right PCRF can enable service providers to make real- time, session-aware policy decisions over subscriber access to network resources based on usage patterns, preferences, speed, time, applications type, etc. It helps operators to not just control subscriber entitlement and LTE network resources, but to charge for that control with an integrated framework of real-time policy management and charging. This framework enables operators to offer innovative, convenient, and flexible ways for subscribers to buy and use their services, such as on-demand services, real- time upgrades, service passes, etc. With such tools operators can charge on a real-time basis for QoS upgrade, bandwidth upgrade or offer ‘pay as you go’ for roaming customers without having to face the challenge of going through sign up for monthly plans.

NetVertex PCRF enables operators reduce subscriber churn, the cost associated with non business data traffic and harness to increase effectiveness through monitoring subscriber usage pattern, network contention, manage bandwidth and enabling usage based charging, meeting operator objective of 3Ps for LTE success.

Reinventing Smart Cities with Wireless Technology

As we witness an exponential growth in emergence of Wi-Fi as an easy to use and access technology, it is now largely seen as one of the most critical technologies for operators to realise the full potential of connected Cities.

The concept of Smart Cities has taken on a lot of traction and cities around the world are harnessing the power of Wi-Fi to enable real-time information and gain valuable insights for its citizens. Wireless Technology will serve as a foundation for creating a Smart Connected City. High speed internet will be an integral part of all Smart City roll outs and Wi-Fi will be one of the most optimum ways of providing it. Wi-Fi along with large number of Wi-Fi hotspots will enable its citizens to thrive on connectivity and solve their most critical problems like parking, traffic management, electricity, water and waste management; on a shared and intelligent network infrastructure. At the same time, it will enable cities to provide its people with Internet connectivity and access to a broad range of citywide services, thus making it a multiservice solution.

Five Major Benefits of ‘Wi-Fi’ for Smart Cities

  • Smart ServicesPublic Wi-Fi solutions for Smart City can enable better citizen engagement with the help of ease of access to city services, real time location identification, location based services, education, training, and job opportunities and hence this could open up new possibilities for the citizens. Wi-Fi can considerably increase the efficiency of citizen services; from driving the data running in online electricity meters to the management of traffic light control or management of real time CCTV footage.
  • Smart Traffic Management -Wi-Fi services can add a whole new dimension, to the way public services in a Smart City will be managed and delivered – from traffic lights, to street lighting, to parking information etc.
  • Smart Safety – Wireless technology can enable an automation and communication system with the public services officials, sending them real-time information about potholes, damages and other security issues in the city enabling them to implement necessary repairs in a timely fashion.
  • Smart Transport – Railways can also utilise Wi-Fi enabled solutions with RFID sensors on the lines and tiny cameras, which can help report back via Wi-Fi when lines are obstructed or damaged, thereby considerably minimizing any room for error.

Wireless Technology holds a great potential to make people’s life simpler, safer and better in a connected Smart City and this can be easily achieved by an evolved Wi-Fi Platform that can  enable the service providers to offer end user with Smart City Amenities.

Elitecore can play a major role in enabling the stakeholders realize this potential through Wi-Fi. Click here to know more about the platform.

Three Ways Operators Can Stay Ahead of the Carrier Wi-Fi Curve

With the increasing demand of wireless data, Wi-Fi is becoming the preferred network choice for the users. Wireless and cable operators are set to deploy over 325 million till 2018. As a result, data traffic offloading from 3G and 4G wireless networks is expected to increase multi folds and ease the network traffic and congestion issues.

To match the pace with this tremendous increase in the hotspots deployments worldwide, Carriers need to strategize to stay ahead of this Wi-Fi availability boom. A strategic Carrier Wi-Fi Platform that supports more seamless and secured connection to customers – will be the key to keeping up.

Many experts believe that Carrier Wi-Fi represents the future for Wi-Fi operators. So, how can operators ensure their Carrier Wi-Fi strategy is on track for success? Three Wi-Fi concepts that are sweeping the industry as listed by a leading wireless architect for a renowned research firm are as under. Operators can tap into these Wi-Fi building blocks to sharpen their strategies and ensure a high-quality, consistent user experience:

  • Wi-Fi Multimedia Quality of Service (WMM QoS) is a Wi-Fi extension that classifies and prioritizes traffic types for users connected to hotspots based on application access type for e.g. Whether a user is accessing a high streaming bandwidth application like video or accessing chat messages, mail or voice, allocating the bandwidth as per application type thus allowing the user to have a better quality of service for multimedia access and deliver enhanced user experience.
  • Wi-Fi 2.0 is an emerging new concept that enables secure and globally robust Wi-Fi roaming experience. This would allow users to seamlessly connect to a network and roam from one network to another without having to enter their login credentials.
  • Multiband operations allow communication and messaging to take place between the access point and station. The access point will steer the station to a less congested channel or band which will ultimately provide a better experience for the user.

Exploring WMM QoS, Wi-Fi 2.0 and multiband operations will keep operators relevant and competitive in today’s evolving industry. A technologically evolved Service Management Platform supporting all the above functionality and supporting the strategic roll out for Service providers plays a key role. Service providers require a Wi-Fi platform which can enables differential QoS, support various roaming industry standards and interfaces as well as pre-integrated and highly interoperable at an access level for seamless operations. For Information on Carrier Wi-Fi Platform Click here.

Wimax Operators – Maximizing Opportunities with LTE

With its promise of high speed bandwidth and ubiquitous reach LTE is stealing the limelight from WIMAX. Operators are shifting from WiMAX to LTE as it provides them an option to utilize both the technologies with co-existence to fulfill customer’s ever increasing demands. This is where implementation of next generation ready LTE BSS can play a vital role in terms of helping WiMAX operators seamlessly migrate to LTE, while at the same time optimizing their existing network resources. Hence, operators can achieve complete WiMAX-to-LTE transformation upgrading the existing WiMAX platform to support LTE + WiMAX components through cost-effective integration with existing/3rd party components.

The biggest pain area for the Wimax operators is –quick time to market. Since Product catalog and OCS are not seamlessly integrated in their legacy network, it takes longer time to launch offers because of multi-vendor involvement and integration time. Also legacy IT system are not capable of handling multiple next-generation services on single platform affecting overall revenue opportunities.

To accommodate these requirements, it is essential that the BSS/OSS architecture is an agile, plug and play system comprising Convergent Billing, Customer Management, OCS, PCRF, Provisioning, Business Analytics and Selfcare Portals that will enable operators to launch new LTE data and voice services quickly to the market. Without a single service disruption, operators can maximize revenue opportunities through service innovation on a single platform, achieving faster integration with the existing network, performance optimization and operational efficiencies at minimum capex.

Evolving their network to embrace LTE, operators should opt for a 3GPP & TM Forum Standard based pre-integrated platform of complete fulfillment, assurance and billing capabilities or with only few modules such as OCS and PCRF leveraging their legacy IT system to launch new LTE services, achieving minimal system changes and reduced TCO. With this innovative approach, operators can promote advanced service plans (for ex- family plans, Facebook free) around specific consumer activities and behaviors, deliver on data plan innovations, utilize balance network resources with customer experience, while at the same time increase customer engagement and loyalty through contextual offering.

Network migration is a complex process that needs careful planning. With its well proven LTE RCM (Revenue and Customer Management) Platform, Elitecore can enable WiMAX operators to overcome challenges and queries about implementing LTE. Click here to know more.

Achieving Big Gains – Mobile Advertising, Monetized by Wi-Fi

Mobile Advertising is emerging as a preferred option for telecom operators who are constantly looking for innovative ways to enhance their revenue streams.

Reaching out to consumers with advertising based on Wi-Fi access holds great potential to revolutionize the economics of mobile advertising. With access technology behind its back, Wi-Fi can provide much more accurate user location, when compared with mobile cellular network, this allows for much better targeted advertising. And most importantly, the usage of Wi-Fi is opt-in, meaning that only those customers who are interested and receptive to Wi-Fi messages, opt for it and hence it is truly a next generation ready advertising model as compare to the traditional alternative spam model.

As consumer behaviors and patterns rapidly change, whether a user is sitting in a coffee shop or moving inside a shopping mall, there is a personalized and seamless communication happening between the operator & the user and the smartphone is at the helm of it all. Most of the consumers today, use an array of devices including mobiles, smartphones, tablets, phablets and iPhones, this multi-device ecosystem ensures that people access Wi-Fi through different set of larger screen devices which are always better and more advertising friendly

All this is reshaping the whole condition of advertising and marketing prompting retailers to actively increase their visibility on smartphones with the help of Mobile Advertising. This presents huge amount of untapped opportunities for carriers to monetize their Wi-Fi investments.

Mobile Advertising more Effective with Wi-Fi

The Return on Investment of such models is based on several business scenarios such as Operators can opt for a platform with Captive Portal, Mobile App, Ad Server, Monetization platform and enable Wi-Fi accessibility for retailers at various public places like shopping complexes, arcades, malls, stadiums, universities; public venues like Airports, Railway and bus stations, auditoriums etc.

With Wi-Fi connectivity, operators can provide location specific retail advertisements, deals, and promotions to the user through their platform. And in return operators can engage themselves in a partnership model with the retailers to open up new revenue streams for themselves, which were not there before. As far as the revenue model is concerned, it can be driven in a number of ways such as – a static / fixed rental, or it can be based on number of clicks on the Ads, etc.

Operators can launch advertisements based on various parameters such as the accuracy of user location information, demographic profile based ad display specific to location, analysis of ADs displayed and its tracking through Search Engine Optimization (SEO) integration for measuring the advertisement effectiveness and determining the brand performance and the revenue earned by various partnerships and fixed rental model with content providers, retailers, advertisers etc. These insights can result in better and more effective means to advertise what the user wants and hence increasing the chances of better sales for the retailers.

Realizing the potential of Wi-Fi, operators are opting for robust Wi-Fi coverage when combined with location hypersensitivity of Wi-Fi technology, consumers get good in-building coverage in locations such as large shopping malls, airports, sports arena or railway stations and hence there many opportunities available to monetize Wi-Fi location-based services today than ever before. This is primarily driving the adoption of Wi-Fi to the next level and in times to come, Wi-Fi is only going to enable stronger and smarter Advertisements models ahead.

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

BSS Transformation Critical to Realizing Full Potential of LTE

Deployment of 4G LTE services on global scale is driving transformation of mobile service in creating new opportunities but at the same time, it is also putting forth complex challenges for the Communication Service Provider (CSP) community. One such huge challenge comes in the form of adapting their BSS solutions and services in order to support and seize next generation service capabilities.

Technological Paradigm Shifts

In an ever evolving telecom industry, technological shift is taking place in almost all the spheres. Operators are going in for all-IP regime, and opting for optical fiber over copper wire; at the end user level tablets and smartphones have become the popular choice instead of laptops and other devices. Similarly, operators, especially in the developing nations are directly moving towards having an LTE network, even though most of the operators are providing 2G networks.

CSPs facing this technological shift must embark on transforming their BSS strength, in order to do more with their network investments and realize the full potential of their LTE deployment.

Advantages of a Next-Gen BSS

As operators move towards providing data intensive next generation services to their customers, they need next generation, agile and flexible BSS systems to handle their network in a better manner, ensure real-time delivery, seamless customer experience and increase their chances to generate revenue.

LTE provides the operators with sufficient competitive advantages and revenue opportunities. But the legacy BSS systems are not fully equipped which can help the operators to get the right ROI in the next-generation mobile broadband services. New pricing models also demand processes such as charging, rating, and policy to take place in real-time, integrated with network elements and user profiles that can provide innovative offerings to the customers via a single, centralized system. Additionally, they also need the muscle to handle to the challenges of LTE such as exponential growth in volume and complexity of events, devices, services and partner relationships. CSPs need to support features such as casual and anonymous users, over-the-air activations, and policy control and charging. All this is only possible when operators transform their BSS in order to support new age deployment of LTE infrastructure.

To know more about Elitecore’s innovation in Next-Gen BSS, LTE Revenue & Customer Management platform, that addresses all the challenges for a Greenfield LTE Deployment, click here.

 

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.