Pat McCabe, Marketing Director - Policy Solutions, Alcatel-Lucent
The growth of mobile data is driving significant revenue at various Internet and Over-the-The Top (OTT) companies such as Amazon, Apple, Google, Facebook not to mention with various VOIP, video and content providers. The mobile service provider, who provides mobile Internet user’s connectivity to these companies, has yet to capitalize on this growth. To make this situation even more challenging the service provider’s voice and SMS revenues, historically representing over 70% of their total revenue, are flattening and are being slowly replaced with OTT versions of these services as found by mobiThinking.
However, there is a clear market demand to empower mobile users with a simplification of the mobile broadband experience while offering data usage transparency. There is also a demand to provide data services that are specifically tailored to the individual and their particular lifestyles and usage patterns. This is where the opportunity lies for the service provider. They need to “transform” their business to take advantage of this new ”mobile data frontier” by meeting consumer driven requirements while creating new and innovative streams of revenue.
The service provider will need to re-invent the way they do business and flip their existing model. This will include renovating their existing policy and charging infrastructure to allow the service provider to interact with the subscriber, while offering services that consider real-time contextual information (e.g. location, time of day, subscriber preferences and loyalty, customer and network analytics), to add personal meaning and value to their data experience.
Technically service providers can achieve this but the challenge is to do so in an operationally viable manner. Ultimately they will need to deploy a next generation integrated policy and charging solution that will help to streamline their operational model across the entire lifecycle of data service delivery including conception, deployment, service creation, service modification and evolution, and network growth and evolution.
Conception - remove functional and operational barriers
Service providers should evolve their thinking when planning the next generation of personalized “revenue-generating” data services. Some of these services could include capitalizing on trends such as the latest mobile gaming phenomenon, a new mobile video conferencing application, a new social media site, the list goes on. By offering mobile data services to a specific demographic of interest based on a specific context to take advantage of these trends is key. To do this, service providers need to deploy a solution that is flexible and broad enough to break down the functional and operation barriers so the “go to market” plan will overcome technical obstacles that could stifle the ability to meet their business goals.
Deployment - smoothly interoperate into existing environments
Service providers need a pre-integrated solution that is also adaptable to any multi-vendor environment. Every environment is different and will have multiple systems (e.g. PCRF, OCS, SPR, etc) that need to be leveraged to maximize their value and sunk cost. As such, the solution needs to include “pluggable” capabilities that will mediate from a host of third party elements. This gives service providers the fastest path from conception to deployment while reducing integration costs along the way.
Service Creation - quickly and easily create new services
The new generation of personalized data services needs to be created and offered quickly and easily without long lead times. The solution must enable the service provider to create these services themselves in-house (marketing/product staff) without the need for costly third party consultation from the original vendor. This puts the service provider in complete control of their business goals.
Service Modification and Enhancement - modify and enhance your services with ease
The world of mobile data is ever-changing and ever-evolving and service providers will need to evolve their data service offerings at the same speed. Service providers require an environment where existing services can be modified quickly and easily – often in minutes without new software, and without any third party dependency or intense scripting requirements. This level of service velocity puts the service provider in a position to capture new opportunities before the competition and without a heavy operational burden.
Network Growth and Evolution - update, upgrade, and add new network elements with operational efficiency
The solution will also have to allow the service provider to grow and evolve their network with operational ease and efficiency. Upgrading/updating network elements within the solution ecosystem has to be done quickly and easily without impacting other elements. Having a solution that is adaptable and “pluggable” certainly helps to accomplish this. Plugability also allows service providers to add new elements as the ecosystem evolves.
Service providers should seek out solutions and vendors that offer the ability to transform their business but in an operationally efficient and sustainable manner with an easy path for network renovation and upgrades. Service opportunities in the new mobile broadband environment are fleeting and thus service providers need to be equipped with the tools to act on these opportunities with agility. At Alcatel-Lucent we strive to make mobile broadband more accessible, personal, meaningful and well … smarter. Service providers that take this approach and build this type of infrastructure can offer a new breed of personalized tools and services that will be positioned to compete with the OTT vendors by creating new streams of revenue while building lasting relationships with their subscribers.