In March I detailed how Comverse Share is helping carriers integrate the best of social networking with their carrier offerings allowing a CSP to communicate with customers in an environment where they are spending more of their time. The integration of social into the typical service provider business model means carriers can use information from these networks to provide their customers offers on specific products and services. For example a sports fan could get an offer on a package which offers football video streaming.
In the above interview I spoke with Alice Bartram and last week I followed up with her and Mike Huffman in their Mass based headquarters to report on the latest offerings coming from her company. Specifically Comverse ONE which becomes even more useful with the introduction of its upcoming 3.7 release.
The addition of 4G/IP support with a focus on profitability is perhaps the most important part of the news, allowing carriers to manage exploding 4G data usage and colossal increases in video streaming. The company believes robust real-time policy-based convergent rating/charging will enable carriers to deal with increased burden on its network. By enabling differential charging for quality of service level, location, service and application type, carriers will now have more flexibility in how they provide services and get compensated for them. In addition, this release supports charging for VoLTE voice and video calls, by device type or a combination of device/service type. This could allow a carrier to charge a premium for video on a tablet for example. Moreover they could use this solution to offer a special price for users of a specific device model which would allow the carrier to work with device makers to offer a subsidized offering.
In a BYOD world, one area which will catch the attention of most people is support for dual personas such as personal and business. The idea here is companies will want to be able to work with service providers in order to split device service usage so their workers will not bill their personal usage to the company. Obviously there is a level of complexity in ascertaining what communications pertain to each individual bucket but there has to be an unprecedented amount of personal communications being improperly picked up by corporations because there is no other way to handle the billing.
This release also includes a direct connection to Comverse Share which was standalone when I wrote about it last but is now part of Comverse ONE. To recap – the goal of Share is to enable CSPs to have more relevant social interactions with subscribers, including use of social for support and marketing.
Another benefit of this new release is the ability to support emerging business models such as M2M, over-the-top and mobile payments. Moreover there is support for OTTP subsidized services which are activated by user name post-fix.
As you might imagine, an area of focus for the release is allowing more rapid deployment of services so a CSP can be more nimble and flexible. The general idea is to make policy part of the business – this needs to be done in order to deploy bandwidth effectively for customers according to Bartram. Perhaps this concept can be encapsulated best by her statement about how you can now use policy to “capture the value of the network.”
The idea here is utilizing marketing to present various offers such as time-of-day based pricing, gaming, parental control and others which will boost ARPU and reduce churn if implemented creatively and effectively.
Comverse has a strong position in the circuit-switched world and wants to be sure carriers know they can not only depend on them to transition into the world of digital services and IP but the company can also allow carriers to interoperate between 3G and RCS.
At the end of the day, Comverse is in the service innovation monetization business and they hope to partner with CSPs to enable them to present their customers with more tailored plans to help them recoup their tremendous network infrastructure costs by adding value to their traditional offerings.