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A recent report published by telecom market research firm Analysys Research suggests average revenue leakage among global operators has risen 1.5% in the past 12 months. Bodhan Zabawskyj, CTO of Canadian telecom billing company Redknee, explains how real-time services can help curb these losses.

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By  Administrator Published  October 29, 2007

A recent report published by telecom market research firm Analysys Research suggests average revenue leakage among global operators has risen 1.5% in the past 12 months. Bodhan Zabawskyj, CTO of Canadian telecom billing company Redknee, explains how real-time services can help curb these losses.

You have previously claimed that many network operators are guided by ‘subscriber myths'. Can you elaborate?

Network operators tend to focus on technological solutions, such as ringback tones and IMS, without considering the total value proposition to end-subscribers to the detriment of ARPU.

This makes it increasingly difficult to come up with de facto ‘killer' applications beyond voice and SMS. Some applications such as ringback tones attract 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 subscribers with a ‘killer suite' of applications. What operators also require is for value-added service providers to create a constellation of applications targeting specific sectors of the market and to embrace mass customisation.

How much can mobile advertising revenues compensate for the shortfall in consumer demand for premium pay-per-view services such as mobile TV?

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 demand for mobile TV has 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 equates to an intrusion of privacy.

In saying that, research shows that if the bearer and advertising model is properly honed, the impact can be greater than any other medium. Real-time monetisation solutions can help attract subscribers in addition to acting as a channel for value-added service providers

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

It's fairly typical for operators to employ classic post-paid and pre-paid service as well as billing regimes. It makes sense as long as they are mainly dealing with voice and limited data services.

However, as we move away from voice-based traffic, network operators' efforts to augment their classic intelligent networks (IN) have met with only limited success. In many cases, efforts to update IN architecture have not kept pace with multimedia services.

The significant period of time between a subscriber accepting a service and being notified of the charge it has incurred can lead to confusion and frustration with the network service provider.

This often results in subscribers calling up customer service centres looking for answers. It also increases the probability of customer churn.

What are the vital characteristics of next generation billing solutions?

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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