Gone are the days when communications service providers just offered voice, messaging and basic connectivity. Although the first two are still providing substantial revenues, they are starting to wane and the emphasis is now definitely on data connectivity and whatever digital services can be offered along with it.
Rather than just providing connectivity to the ecosystem growing around them, forward thinking CSPs can and will play a more effective role as a partner in the ecosystem. These service providers are moving up the value chain from selling vanilla access to value added services and business propositions they would never have imagined a few years ago.
This has driven the need for the business systems to support both ‘business to consumer’ (B2C) and ‘business to business to consumer’ (B2B2C) models, including additional functionality, complexity and load - preferably all on a single platform. The anomaly here is the need to move to ‘simpler’ solutions that are capable of handling more complex requirements in order to meet all possible business scenarios. No wonder CIOs and CTOs are losing sleep!
A recent Stratecast report highlighted that these service providers are moving “to improved levels of flexibility tied to policy-enabled, real-time or near real-time monetization solutions. Such solutions can now address the flexibility requirements from services that involve a combination of content, cloud-based apps, and network access.”
For one sector of the service provider market this may turn out to be a boon. New players such as MVNOs are able to start with a ‘greenfield’ approach and, in theory, avoid the mess their more established counterparts are facing. That is, of course, presuming their approach is not hampered by staff inherited from the ‘old world’ who see comfort, security and job longevity by bringing their old legacy habits with them.
It is worth checking out some successful mobile virtual network enablers (MVNEs) like Teleena in the Netherlands. According to the Stratecast report, “MVNOs have come to Teleena to address their network connectivity and operations and monetization needs through its flexible, non-traditional and disruptive business approach.”
For many, this is easier said than done. The digital services onslaught (let’s call it ‘digitization’ for want of a better word) has changed not only the way CSPs deliver connectivity, but also the way they need to operate to be both efficient and profitable.
Just selling connectivity in this highly competitive market is perceived to be a one-way route to becoming a utility, and a not very profitable one. However, jumping on the digital bandwagon providing competing products against the over-the-top (OTT) players can prove to be equally challenging if your legacy processes and systems are replicated across a number of silos and designed for the days when voice was king.
This is driving service providers to attempt to transform their systems into simpler, faster and cheaper core operations. Again, this is easier said than done, but some service providers, such as Teleena, are achieving new levels of optimization and reaping the benefits by being able to adapt and offer new products and services faster and more economically.
This translates to offering real-time business management systems deemed as critical to any modern day service provider, especially if they are offering all-IP or LTE network access. Real-time solutions allow MVNOs to cost-effectively interact with every consumer through online self-service and self-care portals. They also give the MVNO real-time reporting on exposure to their network provider as well as providing customers with up to the minute information on usage and spend levels.
Given how effective MVNOs are becoming at simplification and cost control, it’s no wonder that some CSPs are setting up their own greenfield MVNOs to be able to compete on a level playing ground!