How Conversational AI Virtual Agents Revolutionize Customer Engagement for Telecoms

How Conversational AI Virtual Agents Revolutionize Customer Engagement for Telecoms

How Conversational AI Virtual Agents Revolutionize Customer Engagement for Telecoms

 

 

November 27, 2023

Introduction
The world of customer engagement is rapidly evolving. Customers today expect ultra-personalized, instant interactions and 24/7 availability across all channels. However, many organizations struggle to deliver a consistent level of service.

This is where Conversational AI Virtual Agents come in — they are set to disrupt customer engagement entirely as we know it. The ground-breaking advances in generative AI enable virtual agents to offer human-like conversations that resolve customer queries in real-time every time.

AI conversational agents are poised to transform customer experiences, drive revenue growth, optimize operations, and give companies a significant competitive edge, clearly depicting the future of customer engagement lies in AI.

Challenges in Customer Service:

Providing customer service consistently at scale is easier said than done. Despite best efforts, most businesses face numerous issues that diminish the customer experience and impact business metrics.

The root of these challenges lies in the limitations of legacy customer service models that need to be more aligned with evolving consumer expectations. Relying solely on traditional self-service IVRs and human agents results in several bottlenecks that frustrate customers.

Key challenges faced by customer service departments include:

  • Rising customer expectations for personalized and instant interactions across channels
  • High call volumes resulting in long wait times
  • Lack of comprehensive self-service options forcing customers to contact agents for basic requirements
  • Difficulty scaling operations, especially during peak periods, to meet customer demands
  • Missed revenue opportunities to upsell and cross-sell newer offerings

AI conversational agents present an innovative technological solution to overcome these hurdles in customer engagement.

How Conversational AI Virtual Agents Can Help

Telecom-tailored conversational AI virtual agents developed using platforms such as Alepo TelcoBot.ai offer human-like interactions using natural language processing (NLP), enabling customers to get an immediate resolution through text or voice. The virtual agent can understand context, pull relevant data, automate and execute tasks via APIs, and seamlessly switch between distinct customer service and sales roles by auto-sensing the customer journey. Let’s have a look at the key capabilities and benefits of conversational AI virtual agents that revolutionize customer engagement:

Key Capabilities

  • Advanced NLP for natural conversations mimicking human dialogues
  • In-depth knowledge base specific to the company’s offerings and processes
  • Integration with backend systems like billing and CRM to automate repetitive tasks
  • Omnichannel availability across website, app, messaging platform, and more
  • Carrier-grade scalability to handle high user volumes
  • Dual personas for providing support as well as promoting products and services
  • Continuous improvement based on built-in analytics and customer feedback

Business Benefits

Conversational AI virtual agents deliver a multitude of benefits, including:

  • Increased revenue as a result of higher sales conversion rates during customer engagement
  • Enhanced customer satisfaction through instant and accurate results
  • Lower operational costs by reducing call volumes and manual workloads
  • Improved agent productivity by automating repetitive, routine tasks
  • Valuable customer insights from interaction analytics to refine strategies

Conclusion

Conversational AI virtual agents present an immense opportunity for brands to reshape customer interactions and turbocharge their business. With capabilities like advanced natural language processing, omnichannel availability, integration with backend systems, and data-driven improvement over time, AI virtual agents can provide personalized, instant, and human-like assistance at scale. Companies that embrace this innovation and make conversational AI agents an integral part of their customer experience stand to gain immense short-term and long-term benefits, from operational efficiencies to revenue growth. The future of customer engagement is AI-powered.

Contact our experts at market.development@alepo.com to learn how Alepo’s AI Virtual Agent can help transform customer experiences, boost loyalty and revenue, optimize operations, and gain a competitive advantage.

Rajesh Mhapankar

Rajesh Mhapankar

Vice President, Product Management

A seasoned professional, technologist, innovator, and telecom expert. With over 20 years of experience in the software industry, Rajesh brings a strong track record of accelerating product innovations and development at Alepo. He supports the company’s mission-critical BSS/OSS projects in LTE, WiFi and broadband networks, including core policy, charging, and control elements.

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Harnessing Generative AI in Telecom with TelcoBot.ai

Harnessing Generative AI in Telecom with TelcoBot.ai

Harnessing Generative AI in Telecom with TelcoBot.ai

  July 14, 2023

Revolutionizing Telecom Data Analysis with Generative AI Models 

In the era of digital transformation, data acts as a core asset for businesses, powering informed decision-making, generating valuable insights, and fueling innovation. As per an IDC study, the global data volume is projected to soar to an immense 175 zettabytes by 2025, indicating a compound annual growth rate of 61 percent. As data expands exponentially, its complexity grows, presenting significant processing and analysis challenges. For telecommunications operators that engage with millions of customers daily, leveraging this vast amount of data becomes crucial for success in a highly competitive industry.

Fortunately, advanced AI technologies such as Generative AI are revolutionizing the way data can be processed and used for telecom. Specifically, Generative Pretrained Transformer Models (GPT LLM) and Telcobot.ai, a telecom bot platform powered by Alepo, are emerging as transformative solutions for telecommunications operators. These AI models capitalize on the strengths of machine learning and natural language processing to interpret and generate text similar to human language, rendering them perfectly suited for processing unstructured data. With their ability to comprehend context, extract knowledge from vast datasets, and produce contextually accurate text, GPT LLM models offer telecommunications operators a valuable opportunity to turn the challenges of unstructured data into actionable insights and innovative solutions.

Understanding the Potential of Unstructured Data

As of now, unstructured data constitutes 80 percent of the total data pool. Unstructured data, which includes texts, emails, customer service records, and social media posts, lacks a predefined model or organization. It holds immense potential to enhance telecommunications services, gain a deeper understanding of customers, and drive data-driven decision-making. However, extracting insights from unstructured data is challenging. Traditional data processing methods struggle with the volume and complexity of this data type. Generative AI, particularly GPT Language Models, offers transformative potential for managing and analyzing unstructured data.

Exploring the Potential of GPT Language Models

In telecommunications, GPT language models have emerged as a powerful tool. These models, such as ChatGPT, harness the capabilities of generative AI to produce human-like text through machine learning algorithms. With their contextual understanding, vast knowledge base, and ability to generate accurate text, GPT models offer numerous advantages.

One notable benefit of leveraging GPT models is their capacity to process and comprehend large volumes of unstructured text. For instance, they can analyze thousands of customer feedback entries, provide summaries, categorize sentiments or topics, and answer questions based on the data. This capability opens new possibilities for extracting valuable insights from unstructured textual data.

Leveraging Alepo TelcoBot.ai for Generative AI in Telecom

Alepo’s TelcoBot.ai productivity suite enables operators to harness the power of Generative AI for telecom, allowing them to easily create customized intelligent bots to enhance primary functions, including customer service, agent support, and overall workplace productivity. Here’s how it can transform large, unstructured data into actionable insights:

  • Customer support and technical support: Alepo’s Virtual AI Agent can analyze customer interactions, providing accurate information about mobile plans, device setup, service configurations, and more, enhancing the customer experience.
  • Marketing and strategy: By scrutinizing customer feedback, surveys, social media mentions, and competitor launches, TelcoBot.ai can assist operators in crafting personalized marketing strategies and competitive analysis.
  • Staff support: TelcoBot.ai can facilitate staff training and support by suggesting suitable solutions, troubleshooting steps, and simplifying complex contract interpretations.
  • Procurement: Generative AI can assist with vendor contract interpretation and vendor information analysis, aiding the procurement team in informed decision-making.
  • IT security and compliance: TelcoBot.ai can help detect security incidents and ensure company practices comply with regulations like GDPR.
  • Network operations: Generative AI in telecom can analyze past network incidents and provide insights on patterns, causes, resolution times, and potential preventive measures.

Beyond these, TelcoBot.ai can transform operators’ websites into interactive platforms, with chatbots guiding customers, collecting feedback, and enhancing engagement. TelcoBot.ai provides a comprehensive suite of tools for operators exploring AI integration to expedite development and streamline team management.

TelcoBot.ai offers a collection of templates tailor-made for operators, serving as a starting point for developing bots specific to operational needs. It also allows operators to create custom bots from scratch for maximum flexibility. Prioritizing robust information security, TelcoBot.ai ensures your data isn’t used to train models. With features like team management, version management, and prompt control, bots’ development, management, and iteration are highly streamlined and efficient.

Capitalizing on the Generative AI Revolution with TelcoBot.ai

The ability to analyze and comprehend large volumes of unstructured data remains pivotal in our continually evolving digital landscape. Generative AI-based chatbots platforms, such as Alepo’s TelcoBot.ai, enable telecom operators to adapt to this trend and take the lead. TelcoBot.ai enriches customer service, shapes strategic direction, assists with procurement, ensures IT compliance, and fine-tunes network operations. Its interactive telecom chatbots convert operators’ websites into vibrant customer engagement platforms. Offering customized templates and options for unique, bespoke bots, TelcoBot.ai expertly balances adaptability with rigorous data security. Its streamlined team and version management features facilitate efficient bot development and iteration. By capitalizing on the vast potential of Generative AI, Alepo’s TelcoBot.ai is revolutionizing telecom data processing, enhancing customer satisfaction, and propelling business growth.

Ready to be part of the Generative AI revolution? Contact us today at market.development@alepo.com to learn how Alepo’s TelcoBot.ai and Generative AI solutions can transform your telecom operations.

Rajesh Mhapankar

Rajesh Mhapankar

Vice President, Product Management

A seasoned professional, technologist, innovator, and telecom expert. With over 20 years of experience in the software industry, Rajesh brings a strong track record of accelerating product innovations and development at Alepo. He supports the company’s mission-critical BSS/OSS projects in LTE, WiFi and broadband networks, including core policy, charging, and control elements.

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Role of a Dedicated PCRF in VoLTE and Its Significance in 5G VoNR

Role of a Dedicated PCRF in VoLTE and Its Significance in 5G VoNR

Role of a Dedicated PCRF in VoLTE and Its Significance in 5G VoNR

  June 6, 2023

Preparing voice services for 5G

As operators transition from 4G LTE services to 5G, they must ensure their voice services are prepared for the change. The emergence of new technologies and standards with 5G networks necessitates updating voice services to meet the next-generation communication requirements.

Voice services traditionally relied on circuit-switched (CS) networks or CS fallback. Although these methods have worked in the past, next-gen 5G networks don’t support them. This incompatibility arises due to the fundamental differences in architecture and underlying technologies between 4G and 5G. Therefore, operators must migrate their voice services to Voice over LTE (VoLTE) or Voice over New Radio (VoNR) before offering 5G services.

To support VoLTE or VoNR seamlessly, the adoption of dedicated Policy and Charging Rules Functions (PCRF) for data and voice services is essential. By leveraging a dedicated specifically-designed PCRF solution for VoLTE, operators can efficiently manage and control various aspects of voice services in a reliable network environment. With VoLTE PCRF, operators can enforce policy and charging rules for voice traffic, ensuring network resource prioritization and efficient utilization.

Benefits of VoLTE

VoLTE allows voice calls over a 4G LTE network while using the same IP-based network as data traffic. VoLTE offers numerous advantages over traditional circuit-switched voice services, including improved call quality, faster call setup times, and the ability to make simultaneous voice and data connections.

One of the major benefits of VoLTE includes its significant call quality. The narrowband voice channel limits traditional circuit-switched voice calls, reducing the audio quality. In contrast, VoLTE leverages the wider bandwidth available on 4G LTE networks, allowing for high-definition voice calls with crystal-clear audio.

Moreover, VoLTE enables the simultaneous use of voice and data services and eliminates call disruptions by utilizing the IP-based network, allowing the users to browse the internet, stream content, or use other data services while on a voice call.

Designed for 5G networks, Voice over New Radio (VoNR) is similar to VoLTE, which enables voice and data services. There is, however, a significant difference between VoNR and VoLTE. VoNR does not support the continuation of voice calls when switching between 5G and older 3G networks. To fully utilize 5G services, integration with an IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) is necessary.

Essential components of VoLTE and the role of a dedicated PCRF

To transition to VoLTE, operators must deploy an IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) network that provides the necessary VoLTE infrastructure. The IMS network consists of several components, including a Call Session Control Function (CSCF), an IMS Home Subscriber Server (HSS), Online Charging System (OCS), and a PCRF.

The CSCF is responsible for call control and routing within the IMS network. It handles the signaling required for establishing and maintaining voice calls, ensuring that voice traffic is appropriately managed and directed. The HSS, on the other hand, serves as a central database that stores subscriber information such as user profiles, authentication data, and service entitlements. This information is crucial for the proper functioning of VoLTE services.

The OCS is a critical component of the IMS network. It handles real-time credit control and charging for voice and data services, ensuring accurate user billing.

The PCRF is critical in enforcing quality of service (QoS) policies and network resource allocation. A dedicated PCRF for VoLTE ensures that the appropriate QoS parameters are applied to voice traffic, prioritizing voice calls and guaranteeing high-quality voice services.

Importance of a dedicated voice network

The rise of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and voice and data network convergence raises the demand for dedicated voice networks. Operators now often use packet-switched networks that carry both voice and data traffic but prioritizing and optimizing voice transmission separately to ensure quality and reliability becomes challenging. Additionally, as listed below, several other reasons reinforce why operators should maintain a dedicated VoLTE network:

  • It optimizes the quality of both VoLTE and data traffic and allows for granular control over these types of traffic, ensuring that network resources are utilized efficiently.
  • It simplifies troubleshooting or issue resolution, allowing easy identification of the problems when voice and data traffic are separated.
  • It increases flexibility and scalability to accommodate user demands and future growth, enabling network infrastructure to adapt to changing requirements without affecting voice services.
  • It ensures the reliability and availability of voice networks and prevents service disruptions during peak data usage periods, allowing users to continue to rely on uninterrupted voice communication.
  • It treats the voice network independently and allows efficient handling of service requests, upgrades, congestion, and outages, ensuring optimal performance and minimal impact on data services.
  • It optimizes overall network bandwidth, allowing for specific allocation and optimization techniques tailored to voice and data traffic and maximizing efficiency.
  • It reduces costs by leveraging specialized vendors for cost-effective voice services, allowing operators to utilize their expertise and achieve cost savings without compromising quality.
  • It enhances security by isolating voice traffic from data traffic and helps protect voice communication, minimizing the potential impact of data-related security breaches or vulnerabilities.

Importance of dedicated PCRFs for voice and data

While the trend is towards convergence and integration of voice and data services in more unified networks, having a dedicated PCRF for voice and data offers operators greater control, flexibility, and the ability to tailor services to meet specific requirements and optimize the customer experience. A dedicated PCRF for voice and data enables operators to effectively manage, control, and monetize their network resources while delivering high-quality services and meeting customer expectations. Here are some key reasons why operators should deploy a dedicated PCRF for voice and data services:

  • To ensure uninterrupted service continuity for voice and data, regardless of congestion, through fault isolation and redundancy.
  • To facilitate voice network upgrades without disruptions to other service networks like data, minimizing customer impact.
  • To allocate network resources efficiently and prevent congestion’s impact on voice and data services, preserving voice service quality during peak data usage.
  • To independently scale voice and data services based on demand, optimizing resource allocation and network expansion cost-effectively.
  • To streamline management and troubleshooting processes, empowering operators by targeted traffic monitoring, problem identification, and resolution capabilities offered by separate PCRFs.
  • To implement service-specific QoS parameters such as low latency and minimal jitter for seamless voice calling and low latency with sufficient bandwidth for optimal data usage experience.

Enhance Voice Services with Alepo PCF + PCRF

Technology partners play a significant role in accelerating VoLTE deployment and 5G migration. Telecom product companies like Alepo, offering PCRF and PCF (Policy Control Function) solutions, assist operators in rapidly rolling out VoLTE and 5G voice services. These solutions offer a range of features to optimize voice service delivery and provide a seamless user experience.

With Alepo PCF + PCRF, operators can:

Implement QoS management

With Alepo PCRF for 5G standalone deployments and Alepo PCRF for VoLTE services, operators may specify and enforce particular QoS criteria like low latency and minimal packet loss. These technologies ensure that voice calls maintain the desired level of performance and reliability.

Customize policies for voice services

Alepo’s PCRF and PCF solutions allow operators to define and customize policies, including QoS prioritization, bandwidth allocation, and ‘push to X’ features (talk, video, chat). These solutions also allow the prioritization of multimedia services for uninterrupted emergency communications. Operators can fine-tune voice service behavior to effectively meet both network requirements and subscriber preferences.

In short, by utilizing Alepo PCF + PCRF, operators can optimize voice service performance, effectively manage network resources, and deliver a superior voice calling experience to their subscribers in LTE and 5G networks.

Conclusion

The transition of voice services to VoLTE is critical for operators planning to upgrade to 5G networks. By adopting a dedicated PCRF for voice and data services, operators can enforce QoS policies, optimize network resources, and ensure a seamless voice-calling experience. VoLTE offers significant advantages over traditional circuit-switched voice services, including improved call quality and simultaneous voice and data connections. Deploying the necessary infrastructure and partnering with technology providers like Alepo enables operators to future-proof their networks for the 5G era and deliver cutting-edge communication services. Embracing VoLTE and a dedicated PCRF empowers operators to thrive in the evolving telecommunications landscape, unlock the potential of 5G, and provide superior service experiences to subscribers.

Would you like to explore further details about VoLTE PCRF and witness its impact on accelerating network performance, service monetization, and network reliability? Email market.development@alepo.com and our team of experts will contact you to address all your queries and show you a quick demo. 

Prathamesh Malushte

Prathamesh Malushte

Principal Solution Architect

Prathamesh is a PDM and solution integration specialist with expertise in 5G core network functions and protocols. He specializes in creating user stories, call flows, and designs for 5GC as well as legacy networks, as well as in handling OSS/BSS intricacies. After hours, he loves sports, enjoys trekking, and is passionate about playing different musical instruments.

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How to tackle NFV AAA deployment challenges

How to tackle NFV AAA deployment challenges

How to tackle NFV AAA deployment challenges

 

12th of June 2020

Network Function Virtualization (NFV) helps service providers transform deployment and operational processes. The maturing of NFV means that AAA can now be deployed virtually – a game-changer that optimizes resource utilization and network operations. From our experience in deploying virtualized AAA (vAAA), we’ve noticed there are some frequently occurring challenges. The good news is, we’ve also identified how to address them.

First things first: the most important thing about NFV

Conventional hardware infrastructure deployments mean the installation of application-specific servers or appliances on the customer’s premises. Network Function Virtualization (NFV) technology introduces a well-defined cloud architecture that eliminates the bind between application and physical server by virtualizing network services.

Deploying virtualized network functions (VNFs) reduces the need to maintain vendor-specific or customized physical infrastructure. Applications can now be deployed on standardized and shared infrastructure, significantly reducing operational costs and making it faster to implement.

What objectives do NFV-based deployments meet?

Important outcomes that make NFV software-defined networking (NFV SDN) increasingly valuable include reduced complexity of networks, faster services, and lowered dependence on expensive physical storage. Further, NFV-based deployments aim to maintain a standard-based infrastructure shared by all VNF vendors, keeping OPEX and CAPEX low. Its core objectives include:

Efficiency

The NFV platform must have availability-adjusted NF SLAs that are identical to SLAs offered with dedicated services, specifying, for instance, the average delay, bandwidth, and availability of all services provided to the subscribers. To ensure SLA compliance, it needs to closely track network performance and dynamically adjust resources.

Scalability

The NFV platform should support a large number of VNFs and scale as traffic volumes and application usage increase. The ability to deliver a variety of NFs per subscriber could lead to the creation of new services, opening new ways for operators to monetize their networks.

Reliability

The NFV platform must comply with reliability requirements to offer high service availability, which is defined as end-to-end service availability including end-to-end service elements (VNF and infrastructure components).

How to overcome challenges in NFV AAA (vAAA) deployments

Let’s take a look at the top six NFV implementation challenges and the ideal solutions we’ve developed to address them.

ChallengeSolution
Configuration management

Managing file-based configurations for AAA nodes becomes complex and error-prone when each AAA node runs with its own copy of the configuration and requires syncing as nodes are dynamically added or removed.
Centralized configuration management

This helps manage the configuration changes (scripts or license files) through a web-based configuration portal, allowing changes to every AAA node in real-time. Alternatively, all configurations can be held in a centralized configuration database.
Lack of compatibility for VNF management interfaces

Many NFV infrastructure (NFVi) vendors require a custom interface for VNF management than standard-based, making them incompatible with other vendors.
Flexible VNF management

Selecting AAA vendors that offer flexible VNF management interfaces based on ETSI-compatible interfaces or custom interfaces based on NFVi instances is ideal to expedite deployment.
Vendor-specific user access management systems

Different vendors have their own access management system for their applications. This adds to operational overheads as user logins and access permissions are maintained in multiple systems.
Centralized access management


A centralized user access management system for all vendor applications eases operations, improves control over access controllers, and enhances application security.
Impact of session cache synchronization

In NFV deployment, each AAA node is dynamically added or removed based on traffic needs. This requires each node to replicate the session cache to other nodes, increasing complexity and introducing errors.
Stateless AAA

It is important to externalize application states and stores session contexts in a centralized database that can be shared across all AAA nodes. A stateless AAA ensures any node can process an ongoing user session request previously handled by another node and that simplifies dynamic scaling without having to worry about session cache synchronization.
Low variety of load balancers

For virtualized AAA deployment, load balancers are needed to distribute signaling traffic across multiple AAA nodes. In the NFVi environment, very few software-based load balancers support RADIUS/UDP messages.
In-built load balancer

Software-based load balancer VNFs are part of new-generation vAAA solutions and this helps implement RADIUS/UDP as well as HTTP traffic load-balancing.
Common network interface for all network traffic

AAA deployed with a common network interface for handling applications and database traffic leads to security concerns and also prevents resource optimization based on traffic type.
Multiple networks for different traffic

Separate network interfaces address key security challenges and optimize network resources. Each AAA node has multiple virtual network interfaces to handle different data traffic, applications, and database, making it more secure and scalable.

Conclusion

NFV reduces dependence on dedicated infrastructure. As a result, a vAAA solution enables significant customization and scalability that cuts across the operator’s entire network framework. Operators can, therefore, earn additional revenue without investing in any new hardware.

One of just a handful in the market, Alepo’s NFV- and 5G-compliant virtualized AAA (vAAA) can be deployed in any NFVi environment according to ETSI standards. Manage the entire AAA VNF life cycle with Alepo using its specific Virtual Network Function (sVNF), or integrate with a generic Virtual Network Function (gVNF) from any NFVi vendor. The carrier-grade 3GPP AAA is designed to optimize mobile, WiFi, and fixed network performance. Equipped with a proven and scalable integration framework, it optimizes scalability and resource utilization through orchestration. It can be rapidly deployed and offers quick insights into the way IP data services are accessed and consumed.

Rajesh Mhapankar

Rajesh Mhapankar

Director, Innovations

A seasoned professional, technologist, innovator, and telecom expert. With over 20 years of experience in the software industry, Rajesh brings a strong track record of accelerating product innovations and development at Alepo. He supports the company’s mission-critical BSS/OSS projects in LTE, WiFi and broadband networks, including core policy, charging, and control elements.

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How Partnerships Are the Key to 5G Success for Telcos

How Partnerships Are the Key to 5G Success for Telcos

How Partnerships Are the Key to 5G Success for Telcos

 

23rd of October 2019

The proliferation of smart devices and high-speed internet has revolutionized the telecommunications sector, and the advent of 5G is further bolstering this transformation. Earlier, telecoms mainly partnered with other operators to share their networks, data, messaging and voice services through wholesales agreements, but these partnerships have evolved considerably over the years. In order for 5G to be a commercial success for telcos, more advanced partner models will need to be supported for all of the new use cases and devices that are envisioned for the network.

Today, a modern partner management solution for 5G success enables the convergence of partners across multiple sectors and caters to highly diverse needs. Unified partner systems cover key segments like distribution, IoT/M2M, content/OTT, roaming, wholesale billing, MVNO, and more. The result: automated processes, the ability to launch any partner model, and reduced operational costs.

Partnerships will pave the way forward

Telecom leaders are currently thought to be risking billions of dollars as they struggle to address a host of challenges. High-cost wireless and fixed connections, coverage outages, demand for improved customer service, and an ever-growing list of competitors are only some of the roadblocks in deriving ROI.

International consultancy BearingPoint recently commissioned a study in which 85 executives of Tier 1 and Tier 2 Communications Service Providers (CSPs) from Europe, Asia, and the US, as well as 440 executives from sectors such as IT, technology, automotive, transport, banking, and insurance, were interviewed. According to their findings, 60 percent of the CSPs believed working in collaboration helps drive cost-effective and innovative solutions, while 59 percent were of the opinion that partnerships help them remain competitive, and 51 percent believed they would improve customer experience in the telecom market.

However, the study found that telco transformations tend to focus on adopting new trends in technology for short-term financial success, “as opposed to working to address an increasingly widely held view that if CSPs don’t consider new digital business models, they will not survive in their current form.” Overall, it concluded, most CSPs still view digital transformation as a means of achieving short-term cost reduction, instead of attempting to gain long-term benefits such as the scope for new business partnerships.

It’s essential for operators to alter this approach to remain relevant and for their businesses to be profitable. They will need to move beyond delivering connectivity to become digital ecosystem enablers, co-creating new services with partners and subscribers. Partner management converges three key tenets of modern business success: improved customer experience, service innovation, and competitiveness.

Many of these advanced partnership models can be implemented on LTE networks, and as operators upgrade to 5G, they will be able to enhance existing use cases as well as introduce new ones. In addition to 5G, new technologies that create partnership opportunities include IoT, network function virtualization, software-defined networking, cloud-based platforms, and more.

The role of partnerships in 5G monetization

As 5G networks and devices materialize, partnership models will be established in multiple layers, from sharing infrastructure and exposing network capabilities as a service, to launching a wide range of devices and services onto the system.

5G has raised consumer demands considerably, with expectations like unlimited data usage, downloading movies in seconds, and unique services and devices like smart home appliances. This means there is a need for CSPs to monetize beyond data bundles and introduce indirect monetization mechanisms with the help of schemes like sponsored data.

New models could be created with 5G that don’t exist today and be the key to telco success. Imagine a telco could spin up a 5G network slice for a ride-share company like Uber, with a revenue-share agreement based on total distance the fleet drove, all reported and charged real-time via API. Or a telco sells SaaS home security devices and takes an upfront fixed fee and monthly fee from the manufacturer. There are endless possibilities and use cases for CSP marketers to dream up.

What CSPs must now do is look at investing in platforms that enable them to monetize innovative 5G business models. This includes IoT and network slicing-based services that speed up tech advancements for various next-gen applications such as VR apps, industrial IoT apps, smart cities, connected healthcare, smart home ecosystems, wearable technologies, infotainment systems, and more.

How it works: smart business models

An effective partner management software helps reduce the total cost of ownership with fast time-to-market for new offerings. Smart revenue-sharing models allow CSPs to create new revenue streams and handle today’s ever-evolving digital and communications needs with solutions for both marketing and back-office departments.

With these smart models, CSPs can:

  • Create personalized partner contracts
  • Speed up and automate the partner on-boarding process
  • Support telecom and non-telecom partnerships
  • Support multilevel hierarchy models
  • Offer advanced self-care for partners
  • Enable any business model or billing type

What the future holds

Customers want innovative services at faster speeds. CSPs are expected to meet these expectations at every touchpoint. And to retain customers, they must meet future challenges from competing technologies quickly and at an acceptable cost.

To achieve this, CSPs must focus on partner management solutions that will help them launch offerings involving high volumes of data and video, mobile workload volatility, a greater number of connections and demand for lower latency to develop transformative strategies. Also, new revenue streams can be created by monetizing lucrative OTT content, partner applications, and other partner relationships.

So, the goal is to achieve the right balance between traditional and digital to create the richest customer experience. A unified and effective partner management solution ensures greater collaboration between multi-disciplinary partnerships, which is vital to success and the key to ROI of 5G.

Want to learn more about innovative partnership models and how Alepo’s digital BSS can prepare you for 5G and IoT? Click here for our 5G-ready digital BSS flyer.

Rani Shanmugam

Rani Shanmugam

Marketing Content Writer

Long story short, Rani writes about the workings of telecom networks. Short story long, she has a rich and diverse background as a developer, business analyst, and technical writer for broad-spectrum solutions across various industries, and is now focused on telecommunications marketing. She unwinds by painting with her toddler son and loves to whip up elaborate meals fit for a feast.

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Why ISP’s Need Data Monetization

Why ISP’s Need Data Monetization

Why ISP's Need Data Monetization

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The Way Things Were, Is the Way Things Are.

Even as mobile plans continue to evolve and become increasingly more unique, the majority of internet service providers (ISPs) in the world are still offering the same plans they were offering 20 years ago: flat-rate, monthly plans with a specific QoS (bandwidth speed) and unlimited data. ISP offers are simple because that is what customers have traditionally demanded from ISPs. The customers seem happy with what they are receiving, and ISPs don’t see any reason to fix what isn’t broken.

Or Are They?

However, internet usage has changed, as the adoption of streaming and other over-the-top (OTT) apps continue to increase. Gone are the days of simple browsing. Internet usage has become a bandwidth-straining practice encompassing a wide range of OTT apps including YouTube, Netflix, Hulu and many more. This diverse, but consistently draining usage can create a strain on provider networks, which may already find it challenging to distinguish themselves in a saturated marketplace. ISPs must now face the fact that their traditional offerings are no longer the best means of business. The flat rate plan that used to be a great deal for the provider, has now become a steal for the customers.

The Solution is Data Monetization

Through the use of a data monetization strategy, ISPs can address both issues at once by preserving network integrity through fine-grained plans that cater to customers’ exact needs as they arise. A data monetization platform gives ISPs the power to create a network where a broad selection of customer behaviors can be catered to precisely, meaning that data is used and rated as efficiently and profitably as possible.

The Key is Differentiation

Now, data monetization solutions aren’t for everyone. Data monetization isn’t just a simple change, but rather an entirely new way of doing business for ISPs. Data monetization is for ISPs who are looking to differentiate themselves in a shifting marketplace by offering advanced business plans to combat the ever-increasing data use, innovating, and providing more customer-focused offers to retain and grow their customer base.

We’ve put together a list of some of the top game-changing data monetization use cases for ISPs.

A la Carte

Give customers complete control over their data use. Instead of offering massive “all you can eat” plans that drain customers’ wallets and over serve their data appetites, give them an “a la carte” option instead. Customers can choose to only pay for the exact data they use, the specific applications they want to use, the times of day they want to use them, and the speeds they need. By allowing customers to choose what’s best for them, you are ensuring that valuable bandwidth isn’t being wasted on grandma’s emails. With a la carte options, customers have the complete freedom to design, purchase and activate data allowances for their exact needs.

Zero-Rating

Differentiate yourself by offering plans with subscriptions to certain apps or websites that don’t impact the user’s overall data usage. For example, with a monthly 2GB plan, subscribers receive free access for up to 1GB of data for the website or app of their choice. Or, incentivize usage during off-peak times by offering things like free gaming after 10 pm. Form partnerships with apps or websites to provide this service for free, or at a lower cost. This can be a huge incentive for customers to choose you instead of the competitors. Many operators today are buying and building their own content. So, use zero-rating for your own applications and platforms, as a way to incentivize their use.

Turbo Boost

Let customers increase their speed instantly with bandwidth on demand. An increase in speed, or a turbo boost, comes at a small fee when they need the extra bandwidth. This can be a huge benefit for customers who typically subscribe to a lower bandwidth speed, but occasionally need the boost in speed to stream a movie or video chat with their family across the country.

Parental Control

Allow parents to have more control over their children’s internet use. Give parents the ability to restrict certain websites or applications, limit the times of day that child users can be on the internet, and limit the amount of data a child uses.

Happy Hours

Give a usage discount or a speed boost on special days, times or anniversaries. Happy Hours are a great way to incentivize data use during off-peak hours, decreasing the congestion peak times. Or, make customers feel special with a promotion on their birthdays or anniversaries, or on special days or holidays, giving customers a temporary higher bandwidth speed and/or a discount on data usage.

Think you’re ready to take the data monetization plunge and to truly differentiate yourself in the shifting marketplace? Read more about how you can, in the Alepo Solution Brief: Empowering the Internet Service Provider with Alepo Data Monetization!

Ryan Gray

Ryan Gray

Partner and Sales Director

Ryan is intrigued by where telecommunications will go in the next few years. As a Partner and Sales Director, she’s been exposed to many aspects of the industry in different technologies and markets. When she’s not speaking in telecom acronyms, you can find her traveling the world, skiing the Colorado Rockies or doing DIY projects on her home.

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