Supporting the whole telecoms ecosystem

28 May 2015 | Daniel Kurgan

Cover

Daniel Kurgan

Blog Author | BICS; CEO


As data usage and advanced next generation services continue to grow dramatically in the marketplace, the role of the wholesale service provider has never been so vital and varied in its nature.

As data usage and advanced next generation services continue to grow dramatically in the marketplace, the role of the wholesale service provider has never been so vital and varied in its nature.

The provision of basic voice, messaging and data services remains a priority for traditional players, however this is now being supplemented by requirements linked to the changing ecosystem.

This new ecosystem has three key drivers – new entrants and niche players requiring one-stop-shop solutions; the roll-out of domestic LTE services and the challenges this brings on the international side; and innovative value added services that can be supplied through detailed analytics, deeppacket inspection and real-time traffic control capabilities.

Many new MVNOs have achieved value-based competition propositions based around serving specific customer segments with the right price at the right quality.

Often this is an area where wholesale carrier service providers can help through the creation of tailor made offerings. Generally, a company launching a ‘full’ MVNO would rather spend its efforts focussing on its retail proposition rather than arranging the infrastructure to supply complete international reach for customers.

By using ‘plug-and-play’ solutions, these companies can offer instant access to international services without having to make huge investments in bilateral roaming or interworking agreements and setting up network infrastructure to connect to each partner.

Although there is a significant growth in MVNO and OTT provision, MNOs will continue to be the largest driver of international traffic. For them, the

technological evolution towards LTE and the accompanying provision of high-quality VoLTE is an immediate priority and trials are already under way with a number of large operators with a view to the commercial launch of international VoLTE services later this year. 

VoLTE roaming and interworking is a very difficult challenge to data-specialist wholesale players who lack the expertise in voice.

Next generation voice cannot be seen as just ‘another IP’ service, as it has very different technical inter-connectivity requirements.

The enthusiastic response to the introduction of LTE roaming is testament to operators’ desire to maximise investment in LTE, and we can expect a similar reaction to the enablement of other services reliant on robust international infrastructure through an IPX hub, including VoLTE and RCS.

In this all-IP age, visibility of the entire network is becoming increasingly important for assessing operational efficiency. The convergence of technologies into one IPX hub offers us a unique opportunity to offer operators a 360 degree view and complete analysis of network operations for their incoming and outgoing traffic, both for legacy and next generation services. 

Over recent months, demand for these services has drastically increased as operators look to achieve complete visibility of their user’s roaming experience and gain complete control of their costs and quality to potentially monetise advanced services through specific end-user packages. 

Fraud protection is another area with tremendous potential for operators. Telecoms fraud still costs the industry billions of euros each year, much of which is lost though multi-national criminal activity. This puts international wholesale carriers at the heart of the fight.

By using data analytics and crowd-sourcing it is possible to spot fraud trends around the world and alert operators in a pro-active mode. Opportunity is everywhere. 

With new business segments opening up, the envisioned increase in IoT applications, and the convergence to all-IP services set to take place in the coming years the scope and nature of providing international wholesale telecoms has changed completely. 

It is an exciting time for the sector, though one where companies must be nimble and truly listen to what each customer segment needs, while providing the highest quality of service to their customers.

During the course of this year sector consolidation may continue as smaller players without large international network footprints struggle to maintain the levels of service needed to successfully implement all-IP services such as VoLTE and RCS using IPX. 

Both convergence and technological evolution will require wholesale operators to have advanced expertise in both voice and data, as well as in legacy and innovative services.