Reviving the revenue stream

A report by telecom analyst group Analysys Research claims average revenue leakage among global operators rose to 13.6% from 12.1% in 2006. Bodhan Zabawskyj, CTO of Canadian telecom billing company Redknee, tells CommsMEA how real-time services can curb these losses.

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By  Administrator Published  October 17, 2007

A report by telecom analyst group Analysys Research claims average revenue leakage among global operators rose to 13.6% from 12.1% in 2006. Bodhan Zabawskyj, CTO of Canadian telecom billing company Redknee, tells CommsMEA how real-time services can curb these losses.

CommsMEA: You have claimed that some operators believe in some ‘subscriber myths'. Can you elaborate?

Bodhan Zabawskyj: Network operators and technologists tend to focus on technological solutions, such as ringback tones and IMS, without considering the total value proposition to the end subscriber to the detriment of ARPU.

This makes it increasingly difficult to come up with the de facto ‘killer application' beyond voice and SMS. Some applications such as ringback tones attract some subscribers in certain markets, such as the Far East, but they tend to be exceptions that prove the rule.

So what is important is that mobile operators focus on providing a ‘killer suite' of applications for subscribers. What operators also need are value added service providers to create a constellation of applications towards targeted towards specific demographics and to get into a mode of mass customisation.

CommsMEA: How much can mobile advertising revenues supplement subscriber hesitation to pay for premium services such as mobile TV?

BZ: What has driven the technological hysteria of network operators is that when they ask subscribers if they like mobile TV or video-streaming, they all say ‘yes'.

However, when you ask them to pay for such services the acceptance rate drops from almost 90% to well below 10% and subsequently a lot of mobile operators are reporting that the performance rates of mobile TV have been less than stellar.

This is where mobile advertising traditionally kicks in, but there is a huge caveat, and that is subscribers want mobile advertising that is as customised as the bearer channel.

Recent research conducted by Forrester demonstrates that as many as 80% of subscribers deemed that mobile advertising that is not tuned to their preferences deem it an intrusion upon their privacy.

Having said that, research shows that if the bearer and advertising model is honed properly the impact is greater than any other medium. Real-time monetisation solutions can help tune the content and preferences of a subscriber as well as act as a channel to value added service providers.

CommsMEA: How do legacy architectures affect the OPEX and revenues losses among subscribers?

BZ: It's fairly typical for operators to employ classic post-paid and pre-paid service as well as billing regimes. That has made sense as long as they were dealing mainly with voice and limited data services.

However, as we move away form mainly voice-based traffic, network operators' attempts to augment their classic intelligent networks (IN) have been met with only limited success. In many cases the attempts to update IN architecture have just not been able to keep pace with multimedia services.

The barrier of time between an event and the notification of a subscriber as to they charge they have incurred can lead to confusion and anger among end-users.

This in turn can result in subscribers calling up customer service centres looking to know what was going resulting in the increased probability of customer churn.

CommsMEA: What are the essential characteristics of a next generation billing solution?

BZ: What is essential is that operators are able to rate, personalise and deliver services in real-time so subscribers can monitor their usage at any given time.

The next generation of billing systems will also have to integrate with the classic network paradigm as well as integrate with the following IMF-centric standard.

This can have the affect of minimalising the difference between pre-paid and post-paid customers in terms of the services they receive and increase customer satisfaction.

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