Orange Guinea Sonatel to Digitize its Fixed Broadband Services with Alepo AAA Transformation

Orange Guinea Sonatel to Digitize its Fixed Broadband Services with Alepo AAA Transformation

  • Alepo AAA will help eliminate revenue leakage caused by manual processes in the legacy system
  • Customers will be emailed dunning notifications for the prepaid FTTH services
  • On service expiration, customers will automatically be redirected to the payment portal to increase renewal times
  • Faster and more streamlined customer sign-up will improve performance and reliability
  • Customer profile provisioning will be automated with a responsive and intuitive GUI for agents
  • The new AAA will provide guaranteed minimum bandwidth speeds, enhanced role-based security, real-time service monitoring, and comprehensive customer usage reports

Thursday, July 16, 2020, Conakry, Guinea – Strengthening its telecommunications business in the western African region, Orange Guinea Sonatel is set to digitize its fixed broadband (FTTH) services by migrating to digital enablement and revenue management solutions provider Alepo’s Authentication, Authorization, and Accounting (AAA) platform.

Alepo’s AAA Transformation will help Orange Guinea Sonatel eliminate manual processes in their legacy system, resolving revenue leakage issues. Customers who purchase the prepaid FTTH plans will receive renewal notifications over email when their plans near expiration. Once the plan expires, they will automatically be redirected to the payment portal when they try to access the service, which is expected to increase renewal times significantly.

A faster and more streamlined customer sign-up process will ensure improved performance and reliability increasing customer satisfaction. Customer profile provisioning will be automated, with a responsive GUI for intuitive agent use. In addition to providing guaranteed minimum bandwidth speeds, the AAA will also enable flexible creation of new offers, enhanced role-based security, real-time monitoring of services, and comprehensive customer usage reports.

Marlyatou Hady Diallo, CTIO, Orange Guinea Sonatel, said, “Offering innovative telecom services has always been our priority, and Alepo has a long history of helping us cater to our growing customer demands. In the past, Alepo’s solutions helped us increase prepaid and subscription customers in our fixed-wireless network and we’re confident they will do the same in our rapidly growing FTTH business. We are certain the AAA will help us become more agile, improve speed, and enhance customer experience, all of which we expect will result in increased revenue.”

Vishal Mathur, VP Solution Integration, Alepo, said, “Alepo has helped transform AAA infrastructure for operators globally to meet and exceed their network demands and drive revenue growth. Our scalable and versatile AAA will help Orange Guinea Sonatel automate their legacy system and digitize their customer experience. We are proud that our previous deployments with them have yielded successful results, and that Orange Guinea Sonatel has faith in Alepo’s abilities as a trusted and experienced solutions provider.”

Alepo has transformed AAA infrastructure for several Tier-1 operators catering to millions of clients around the world. Its virtualized AAA (vAAA) is also deployed at leading service providers, with many upcoming deployments in the pipeline.

About Orange Guinea

Orange Guinea is a subsidiary of the Sonatel Group and has been present in Guinea since November 2007. It has more than 400 employees and nearly eight million subscribers. Orange Guinea is the leader in the telecommunications sector with the widest network: Conakry and all regional capitals are covered by 4G, and all sub-prefectures are covered by 3G. The operator indirectly provides employment to hundreds of thousands of Guineans in the distribution of its products and services, the provision of various services and the development of its telephone network. Orange Guinea participates in the economic and human development of Guinea through its commitment, excellence and proximity to the Guinean populations, thanks, among other things, to its citizen program. Its societal actions have had a direct impact that is valued at millions of euros.

For more information, please visit About Alepo

 

WOM to launch high-speed FTTH services in Chile using Alepo AAA

WOM to launch high-speed FTTH services in Chile using Alepo AAA

  • The mobile operator is set to enter the fixed broadband market to meet increasing demand in Chile
  • Alepo AAA with its stateless server is highly scalable and will support surging data usage and increasing subscriber base
  • Alepo’s solution will help WOM manage and monetize the data services
  • To overcome global travel restrictions due to COVID-19, the project will be remotely implemented

Friday, July 10, 2020, Santiago, Chile – In keeping with current network demands, Chilean mobile operator WOM has partnered with digital enablement and revenue management software provider Alepo to enter the fixed broadband (FTTH) market. Alepo’s 3GPP AAA for broadband will help the operator introduce uninterrupted high-speed data services with 24×7 remote customer support, online payments, and a customer-first approach.

Set for a July 2020 launch, the project will be an entirely remote implementation to work around ongoing COVID-19-related travel restrictions. Alepo will partner with a local hardware system integrator for the installation of new servers with virtual environments on geo-redundant sites that the AAA applications will run on.

Alepo’s stateless AAA server is highly scalable and will help WOM monetize network usage through a flexible policy framework. Alepo’s AAA will offer WOM the ability to launch postpaid and prepaid unlimited data plans with speeds up to 1 Gbps, as well as limited data and fair usage packages. Customers will be redirected to Alepo’s digital portal to renew their plans or pay past dues, completely automating their experience and reducing calls to customer care.

Implementation of the AAA will provide WOM with zero revenue leakage, accurate usage-based billing, and usage reports that help monitor subscriber data consumption patterns to quickly adapt through a centralized configuration manager.

With this project, WOM expects to acquire over 500k subscribers within the first year and eventually build up to 1.5M subscribers by the end of 2023.

“We are pleased to partner with Alepo given its history of delivering innovative and award-winning digital broadband solutions to service providers around the globe. With the shift to working from home and social distancing, there has been unprecedented demand for broadband networks. We are confident that Alepo’s AAA will help us alleviate this load with the introduction of ultrafast services. Its monetization capabilities will help us drive ROI while ensuring customer satisfaction,” said Christopher Adam Laska, CEO, WOM.

Juan Espinosa, Director LATAM Alepo, said, “Alepo’s AAA will create greater data monetization opportunities for WOM by facilitating data usage reporting and providing new billing capabilities, while simultaneously minimizing service activation and delivery costs. Our robust and scalable solution will help WOM increase customer satisfaction with higher data speeds and expand its broadband presence rapidly in Chile.”

About WOM

WOM, meaning ’word of mouth’ in Spanish, was launched in July 2015, after the purchase of the old telecommunications company Nextel Chile. According to official statistics, as of March 2019, WOM had 4,120,000 clients. They offer 4G voice services as well as Voice WiFi that facilitates users to make and receive calls through any WiFi network in the world that offers an internet connection, regardless of whether or not the WOM client is in the operator’s coverage area. This is ideal for use abroad and avoids expensive international roaming. The Voice 4G and Voice WiFi services were made available to all the company’s customers (prepaid and postpaid) from December 13, 2018, thus becoming the first telecommunications company in Chile to implement such services nationwide.

For more information, please visit www.wom.cl/

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How operators can leverage network slicing for 5G monetization

How operators can leverage network slicing for 5G monetization

How operators can leverage network slicing for 5G monetization

 

18th of June 2020

Mobile communication technology has been driving digitization and is now an essential pillar across industries such as manufacturing, automobile, retail, supply chain, transport, healthcare, and more. Different business verticals have varying needs: one sector could require high-bandwidth communication, another may demand ultra-reliable communication, while a third needs extremely low-latency communication. The ideal 5G network will fulfill these diverse requirements at the same time, and this is possible through network slicing.

What is network slicing?

It is theoretically possible to build multiple dedicated networks where each is customized to support the needs of one type of business customer, but this is economically unviable. The most efficient approach is to segment a single physical network into multiple logical networks, each catering to unique service needs. This technique is called network slicing.

Network segmentation is available to an extent in legacy networks through Access Point Names (APNs) and dedicated core networks. But it is now more seamless and practical to use with advances in virtualization technology that is adopted by 5G. 5G networks, along with network slicing, allow business customers to enjoy connectivity in line with unique business specifications that are negotiated with a mobile operator in a Service Level Agreement (SLA). The parameters of customization include data speed, quality of service (QoS), latency, reliability, security, and services.

A network slice is an autonomous end-to-end logical network operating on shared physical infrastructure capable of providing the agreed QoS. The scope of the network slice could cover multiple parts of the network, such as a terminal, core network, access network, and transportation network. One network slice includes dedicated and/or shared resources, which can vary in terms of bandwidth, storage, processing power, and more.

From the end-user perspective, the network slice serves as a normal mobile network. A slice often offers seamless and uninterrupted service when a device roams outside the home network.

Potential vertical applications

Network slices can be used for many use cases in several industries such as:

Consumer: enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB) for high bandwidth users.

Automotive: ultra-low latency (1 ms), high-availability, and effective isolation from other services for autonomous vehicles.

Logistics: high availability to track goods.

Healthcare: ultra-low latency and high availability for remote surgeries.

Warehouse: low-latency and high-availability for efficient collaboration between smart robots.

Media (entertainment/AR/VR): high-bandwidth for an immersive and seamless experience.

Smart cities, governments, SOS services: dedicated QoS to ensure connectivity of first responders.

Detailed network slicing use cases

Slices have limitless possibilities for industry, some of which include:

Slice for automobiles
Designed for a modern connected vehicle, it enables a highly versatile network that can deliver ultra-reliable and low-latency communication (URLLC) service for self-driving, car-to-car communication, and emergency services as well as high-throughput for in-car entertainment using high-bandwidth.

Slice for industry automation
A smart factory can use the operator’s URLLC slice for industrial automation, allowing monitoring and control of robotic parts. An edge computing data center (as network resource service) is used to deploy the system.

Slice for massive IoT
An operator can deploy a dedicated slice for IoT users to manage the complex network requirements for a massive IoT device ecosystem. It can have lower latency, and a separate charging and control function to simplify network management and speed-up deployment. This slice can support one million devices per square kilometer.

Slice for live broadcasts in AR/VR
A dedicated high-bandwidth slice can be used by an operator to transmit news and events such as sports and concerts. To manage AR/VR video processing, it can support one-to-many downlink connections with high-density computing. The slice will ensure high-bandwidth and lower-latency QoS.

What capabilities do Alepo’s solutions extend?

Alepo’s 5G Core solution offers converged subscriber data management, policy, charging functions, and 3GPP AAA. It empowers the operator’s network team to create and manage slice profiles, their technical attributes, and associate them with subscriptions or group subscriptions. As a device connects to the network, slice profile details are provisioned towards the network to connect the device to a specific slice based on its service subscription. This empowers operators to create, manage, and charge different slices based on each customer’s business requirements.

Nitish Muley

Nitish Muley

Senior Engineer

Nitish has spent years building mobile apps for technologies like VR, AR, IoT, and is currently working on Alepo’s newest products. Always up to speed with the latest in the industry, Nitish is a voracious reader – and fervent writer – about all things related to tech and wireless standards. After hours, he wears a traveler’s hat, pursuing his love for photography as he explores different countries.

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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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Top 5 ways telcos can adapt to the virtual cultural shift

Top 5 ways telcos can adapt to the virtual cultural shift

Top 5 ways telcos can adapt to the virtual cultural shift

 

5th of May 2020

Telecommunications today is more essential than ever. Data and mobility have taken on a pivotal role across sectors like healthcare, education, transportation, smart cities, oil and gas, utilities, and more. Now, there is unprecedented demand on networks with cultural shifts due to the pandemic. Given the unpredictability of the future, and with many companies considering the possibility of permanently adopting remote work, the focus is directed to network contingency plans. One thing is clear: service providers with digitally advanced systems will adapt more easily to this cultural shift. And to enhance their systems, these are the top five factors they need to focus on:

Maintain high-performing and scalable networks

More people around the world are working from home due to lockdowns, and those isolating and in quarantine are spending more time on high-bandwidth streaming services such as Netflix, Youtube, and other entertainment channels, further increasing the network load. To serve this surge in demand and long-term cultural shift, telcos must invest in robust AAA infrastructure that is highly available, scalable, and stateless. Operators facing network challenges can transform AAA seamlessly and virtually, ensuring zero impact on their existing IT systems and integrations.

Automate workflows and processes

As their customers do more from home, telcos should also aim to reduce manual and in-person touchpoints. An advanced digital business support systems (BSS) stack helps automate business processes, including complex and repetitive tasks, freeing up network resources, and minimizing errors. Telcos can create, launch, deliver, and manage communications services entirely through a digital-first customer experience, keeping them ahead of the competition. Operators can introduce innovative plans, bonus policies, cashbacks, and targeted offers on-the-fly as the market evolves. Increased digitalization and personalization keeps customers engaged and loyal to the brand.

Digital transformation facilitates rapid implementation and customization as it possesses the following features:

  • Cloud-native services
  • Open APIs and standardized workflows
  • Automated provisioning, fulfillment, testing, chatbots
  • Microservice architecture

In addition, better internal processes and automated workflows mean higher productivity and efficiency in interacting with customers and vendors, while maintaining high operational excellence.

Deliver a digitally-advanced experience

It is crucial for telcos to adopt a digital-first approach to their business, not only because the majority of young consumers prefer interacting with brands through smartphones or online, but long-term cultural shifts due to the pandemic demand a rapid change to conducting business and serving customers virtually.

For example, customers prefer visual assistance to solve their problems. Vodafone has capitalized on this and uses the power of video to relieve the burden on their call centers that used to receive a staggering 5.2 million calls for technical assistance per year. They are now able to resolve customer issues remotely using AI and AR, helping their agents interpret and visually guide the customer, resulting in faster and more accurate problem resolution.

The main areas of focus for digitalization include:

  • Shift in-store customer experience to a digital channel
  • Reduce physical contact through virtual troubleshooting
  • Automate customer touchpoints to improve customer experience
  • Have IT systems that can support the cultural shift

Provide omnichannel support

With an increasing number of digital channels and a growing focus on customer experience, operators need to adopt an omnichannel strategy to keep pace with the expectations of customers. And its applications are two-fold.

For one, omnichannel engagement options extend a seamless, consistent, and unified shopping experience to customers across all touchpoints, whether they are shopping on the operator’s portal or through an online marketplace, physical stores, product catalogs, social media platforms, or chatbots.

Second, omnichannel self-care plays a significant role in the operator’s customer experience strategy, helping customers to play an active role in managing their accounts. Customers can manage their plans and services, create friends and family groups for special calling rates, and control data usage. The added transparency and increased ability to monitor accounts improves customer satisfaction and helps build trust. Automated and intelligent interactions through the web, mobile, and multiple social media channels further enhance the digital experience and empower customers with:

  • Automated digital onboarding
  • Simplified purchases
  • Automated support
  • Multiple payment modes
  • Swift complaint redressal
  • Gifting options
  • Parental controls

Move to SaaS to relieve IT

With the long-term shift to working virtually, a huge strain is put on a company’s IT infrastructure. SaaS software can relieve a huge burden on the IT infrastructure and ensure connectivity and reliability. One of the top priorities for all service providers must be shifting their infrastructure to the cloud because it lets them focus on digitization opportunities with limited investment. SaaS BSS architecture provides the telco with advanced modules, preconfigured fixed and mobile broadband plans, and 24×7 managed service operations, while a dedicated customer success manager ensures faster return on investment and reduced time-to-market. It also helps with reduced expenditure on hardware, infrastructure, maintenance, and more. The SaaS solution helps operators rapidly transform and adapt their business to modern technology trends that facilitate back-office process automation and digitize customer experience for their staff and subscribers.

Conclusion

To capitalize on cultural shifts and surging demand in data, telecom providers need to concentrate on a digital makeover, either as a complete network overhaul or a phased digital transformation. This includes not just offering better network capabilities but also implementing innovative tools and strategies to enable process automation and enhanced customer experience. Service providers must consider investing in digital technologies to build next-gen offerings and streamline business and IT operations, using SaaS software and agile methodologies to analyze and understand overall market demands, business requirements, customer data, and real-time delivery needs. It’s certain there is opportunity for companies to evolve in these challenging times.

Anand Ramani

Anand Ramani

Director R&D

A senior professional with more than 20 years of experience in the telecom BSS domain, Anand is passionate about adapting newer technologies and building digital products. He heads the company’s R&D activities for core products such as Digital BSS, WiFi, and AAA.

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