Pipeline Publishing, Volume 7, Issue 5
This Month's Issue:
Wireless for Developing Markets
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Can wireless operators in emerging markets teach the West a lesson?
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Meeting customer demands

The second challenge for wireless operators in emerging markets is attracting and retaining subscribers against fierce competition.

A common Western misconception is that subscribers in emerging markets are not demanding. In reality, customers in emerging markets have extremely high expectations and are very technologically literate. Indeed, competition is a major reason why India has some of the lowest mobile rate plans in the world. This competition for subscribers may drive to extinction operators that do not address customer experience, innovate and improve their product portfolio and service level agreements (SLAs).

It is this need to defend market share and capture new subscribers that drives innovation in service offerings.

Western telcos may find that they are dogs facing off against wolves.

customers in emerging markets, telecoms providers simply cannot wait. Unified operational systems can implement customer-centric management without major integration projects.

With unified OSS, some operators in Asia are now achieving ratios of staff to subscribers that are almost half that of counterparts in Western Europe and North America; one major Indian operator is achieving a ratio of 1:1750.

Learnings for the West

With 2010-11 set to be a challenging year in terms of revenue, parallels between OSS practices in emerging and developed countries are more pertinent than ever.

Operators in emerging markets need systems that help them “go-live” with services quickly and easily manage the transition from low- to high-revenue services. Demands for 12-15 new products and features per year for mobile service providers in emerging markets are not unheard of and are being supported by unified operational systems today.

Just as in developed markets, the OSS must intelligently map network status, planned outages and provisioning key performance indicators (KPIs) to customer facing SLAs, and coordinate and prioritise responses when SLAs are in jeopardy or breech. Whilst automation and efficient manual processes remain the fundamental means of maintaining excellent customer experience, SLA management can gauge and improve that experience, focusing management on the subscriber’s needs.

In “Best of Breed” solutions, maintaining customer-centric perspectives is often the culmination of years of evolution. To meet demands of

Certainly, the approaches operators in emerging markets have taken to overcome the challenges they face have been hard learned; Western operators ignore them at their peril.

The traditional “Best of Breed” approach to OSS, common in the developed world, is often unsuited to emerging markets. In contrast, unified operations – an open, NGOSS-based, modular, pre-integrated, end-to-end OSS solution – presents operators in emerging markets with sophisticated automation without the associated long lead times and high costs.

As Western telcos attempt to step into these markets, they should be aware that they will be competing with local providers who have grown up in an environment of low ARPUs and high churn, and who have developed the “lean” models needed to cope with it. Western telcos should not be lulled into the sense that competing with these operators will be easy; indeed, they may find that they are dogs facing off against wolves.

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