Telecom 2020: Growth Drivers and Trends

Telecom 2020: Growth Drivers and Trends

Telecom 2020: Growth Drivers and Trends

 

10th of February 2020

One thing is certain in 2020: if telcos want to embrace new technologies that promise to revolutionize the industry, they will need to invest in infrastructure that enables them to support and monetize these technologies. According to a recent global EY report, telcos will pump more into overhauling their conventional IT infrastructure, making digital transformation a major driver this year.

This new infrastructure paves the way for a host of advanced customer-focused technologies: 5G, Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), to name a few. Which ones are right for you and how can you maximize your chances of success? There’s no one answer: the key is finding the right mix of offering relevant to your market and context.

 

mobile money profitability

An analysis from Telecoms CAPEX: Worldwide Trends and Forecasts 2017-2025 shows that digitalization and 5G will be the key drivers affecting CAPEX growth.

Technologies transforming telecom

Here’s a roundup of the year’s biggest trends and what they could mean for you:

5G
Higher speeds and lower latency mean that 5G supports use cases like immersive content (augmented reality, virtual reality) and high-resolution video, helping CSPs deliver an unmatched customer experience to gain a competitive edge. As 5G progresses towards large-scale commercial viability, service providers have begun trials of new use cases, and the results are encouraging them to readily adopt the next-gen technology. As more devices and use cases become viable, the revenue potential continues to grow along with the need for flexible IT systems to support them.

Cloud Computing
Cloud computing in the telecom sector relies heavily on the adoption of data and logic separation principles, SDN/NFV, DevOps, microservices, and more. It gives telcos the flexibility to acquire the corresponding services – Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS), which extensively increases scalability, standardization, self-service automation, and reduces operational costs. Telecom players should adapt their IT processes and prepare for related security implications such as identity theft, unauthorized access, relinquished governance and compliance policies, data security and breach of privacy, as well as inconsistency across on-premise and cloud platforms. A recent Telecoms.com report predicts that 5G will mean wide-scale adoption of edge computing. The market is quickly evolving from a centralized to a distributed cloud, and it is expected that this year, 75% of enterprise-generated data will be processed outside of centralized data centers.

Artificial Intelligence
From virtual assistants and chatbots to knowledge engineering, smart machines, and autonomous vehicles, AI has the potential to replicate human cognitive capabilities. It will help telecom service providers offer a transformational customer experience while they manage, optimize, and monetize their infrastructure using different business models. Use cases include network optimization, predictive maintenance, virtual assistants, RPA, and many more.

Blockchain
Blockchain is a gamechanger for securely conducting business with third-parties while reducing costs and increasing revenue. CSPs can leverage blockchain to offer new services using tamperproof transaction management and automated contracting. Applications include 5G enablement, mobile financial services, data management, fraud management, identity management, instantaneous connectivity and transaction, IoT connectivity, number portability, roaming, and more.

Internet of Things
IoT will, in conjunction with 4G and 5G, change how people communicate and interact with technologies opening up new revenue streams for service providers. It is an essential part of capturing and transmitting data to power smart city use cases like smart lighting, smart grids, heating, and lighting. Telcos are applying IoT to home automation and wearable devices to enhance their overall customer experiences. In the coming years, IoT smart sensors will be implemented in gaming environments, healthcare, personal fitness goals, sports, and more.

Cyber Resilience
The telecom industry has always been the most vulnerable target for cyberattacks given the vast amounts of sensitive data stored on various complex networks. A few years ago, for instance, one of the more significant attacks compromised the personal details of 157,000 TalkTalk customers. 5G brings its own set of security threats, and telcos need to prepare for any kind of direct or indirect cyber attack. This means building adequate IT infrastructure and pairing it with talent and processes to support resiliency. Effective cybersecurity must include the implementation of threat detection, incident response methods, and prevention methods.

How to seize these opportunities

Start your digital transformation journey now

A recent report predicts that the OSS/BSS market is expected to grow from USD 2.77 billion in 2019 to USD 8.78 billion by 2026, indicating a significant potential for telcos to support diverse digital services than limited traditional services. To ensure successful digital transformation, CSPs need to upgrade to digital BSS, which can be implemented in phases to pace out investment. This helps operators seize data opportunities as the market evolves and ensures quick time-to-market, monetization, and smooth management of the latest communications services. A next-gen digital BSS stack also facilitates high-value 5G use cases, including IoT (management and offers), and experience-based charging.

Invest in 5G infrastructure
As 5G permeates, mobile operators will need to invest significantly in 5G infrastructure to deliver high data speed, low latency, and to support billions of connected devices. Besides the billions being spent on 5G RAN, the 5G Core is an important investment. 5G Core with cloud-native features expands the service capabilities of telcos; provides scalability and agility; supports 5G network protocols including extensive use of REST APIs and eases migration to service-based architecture.

Ensure strict regulatory policies
According to Statista.com, the number of devices connected to the IoT is expected to reach 75.44 billion worldwide by 2025. IoT-enabled networks are more vulnerable to major cyber invasions and crimes. Insufficiently protected devices such as laptops, tablets, routers, webcams, smartwatches, automobiles, and home security systems can be turned into weapons by hackers, cybercriminals, or hostile organizations and states, so it’s essential to implement adequate cybersecurity measures.

Overcome network coverage issues
Having reliable 5G network coverage will require a massive investment of time and finances. Operators can resolve network coverage issues by taking these measures:

Infrastructure sharing alleviates network coverage issues and helps operators deliver better connectivity and network performance by pooling resources to maximize coverage buildout.

The open radio access network (O-RAN) movement is separating the software and physical layers of RAN, eliminating vendor lock-in and allowing budgets to go much further in procuring equipment.

Network monitoring tools remain a powerful mechanism to resolve network issues. These tools provide real-time alerts to the concerned teams when there is downtime, device unavailability, performance issues, or any deviation from an accepted network baseline. Further, network configuration management tools help track any changes in settings and send alerts in case of unauthorized changes while providing a mechanism to roll back to earlier settings.

Also, Voice over WiFi (VoWiFi)/WiFi Calling helps overcome the challenges faced by subscribers due to poor or no network coverage. VoWiFi helps customers make calls and remain always-connected, increasing the quality of services and customer experience.

Automate inventory management
One of the major challenges operators face with 5G is managing billions of IoT devices. Further, with evolving technologies, the CSPs having diverse partnerships require constant efforts to manage and allocate resources and inventory. Inefficient management could lead to complicated and faulty invoices, increased risk of fraud, data breaches, insecure network endpoints, and revenue losses. To avoid these complications, CSPs should have a universal system with legacy and new automated inventory tools, which also maintain an inventory of virtual networking components and logical networks like network slices. Subsequently, deploying a next-gen inventory management system provides real-time inventory information with factual and predictive data, helping make quick allocation decisions that ensure the conservation of investment and help gain an edge over competitors.

Manage partnerships efficiently
CSPs need real-time billing and policy control capabilities to seize and monetize opportunities that all-IP 5G means new devices, use cases, partnerships, business models. This calls for diverse partnerships inherent in wholesale and 5G networks. With growing complexities of managing diverse partners, it multiplies the challenges to efficiently manage several partners like wholesale, interconnect and roaming partners, OTT/content players, distributors, MVNO, affiliates, and agents. Deploying end-to-end partner management and settlement solution (PMSS) helps operators smoothly and flawlessly manage the complete partner lifecycle and support distinct agreement policies, revenue models, and settlement modes. PMSS plays a vital role in the 5G business and has the highest potential to launch innovative 5G billing use cases like network slicing, device-based experiences, converged offerings, and more.

Digitize customer experience
A Walker study suggests that by 2020, customer experience (CX) will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator. Enhancing and digitizing the customer experience should top the list for every forward-thinking telco. 5G and IoT will likely emerge as the new battleground, with operators keen to employ new digital business models. And as expectations cross industry boundaries, telcos must remain focused on redefining the CX with more innovation, such as deploying AI-based tools and omnichannel support.

Be prepared for what’s next

5G is expected to significantly change the face of telecommunications. The three main use cases of 5G – Enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB), Massive Machine-type Communications (mMTC), and Ultra-Reliable and Low-Latency Communications (URLLC) – promise to deliver superfast wireless connectivity, lower latency, and digital innovations. And while it is expected to revolutionize the customer experience, 5G will stimulate the demand for next-gen devices, adding to severe network densification. With this forecast, CSPs have huge revenue potential from their retail and enterprise clients by digitalizing the customer experience. Additionally, they can offer B2B and B2C clients an enhanced spectrum of services such as augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), mixed reality (MR), and a host of other leading-edge next-gen services. Operators can unveil the monetization opportunities that 5G promises and achieve a high-level of orchestration and automation with a robust 5G Core solution along with a modern digital BSS stack.

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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Top 7 benefits digital BSS delivers, now and in 5G

Top 7 benefits digital BSS delivers, now and in 5G

Top 7 benefits digital BSS delivers, now and in 5G

 

14th of January 2020

As evidenced in countries where it has launched, 5G brings massive innovation potential but is challenging to monetize if its only unique offering is ultrafast speed. Many operators are aware that 5G success depends on their digital Business Support Systems (BSS) and bringing innovation to their own business models. A recent study by TM Forum reveals that 72% of CSPs believe 5G revenue growth is completely dependent on transforming their BSS and OSS. However, digital transformation is beneficial even before 5G is rolled out: a robust BSS stack enables implementing and monetizing key 5G use cases, such as OTT partnerships and new business models, on previous-gen networks.

5G networks are anticipated to deliver a transformational customer experience with improved speed, connectivity, network coverage, interoperability, and more. And this will be further enhanced with omnichannel support, which offers a highly personalized, consistent, seamless, and holistic view of the complete customer journey. Enabling faster speeds and connectivity, rapid service creation and monetization, and differentiated partnership models for new revenue streams will be a necessity for operators. Those ready with 5G Core (5GC) architecture before the 5G market matures will have a competitive edge. It provides a high-level of orchestration and automation with the use of a modular 5G service-based architecture (SBA) required to meet future challenges and business needs. An effective digital BSS helps to fully monetize this transformation and derive maximum ROI.

How digital BSS unlocks 5G potential

With limited features and rigid architecture, legacy BSS cannot keep up with the evolving demands of customers as they embrace a digital lifestyle. With a digital BSS stack, operators can seize the benefits of 5G – a fact they are well aware of. According to this report , the global digital BSS market is expected to reach approximately USD 7,416 million by 2025, at a CAGR of roughly 15% between 2019 and 2025.

A digital BSS provides an elastic, modern, and convergent system in a virtualized network environment, giving CSPs an edge over competitors and enabling them to readily offer unique 5G services. An effective BSS transformation helps modernize fixed and wireless networks, as well as support CSPs to introduce differentiated services and automate business processes.

What should you look for in a digital BSS?

5G facilitates real-time rating, metering and charging for sophisticated digital services, along with monetization schemes such as QoS tiers, OTT billing and charging, partner settlements (B2B2X), and more – all of which is possible only with a flexible and agile BSS platform. Robust digital BSS architecture using the latest 5G standards is essential in this competitive and ever-evolving market – today and well into the future – to be able to support a dynamic environment and provide quick time-to-value in delivering new features and functions.

Top benefits operators enjoy with digital BSS

Modern digital BSS features help improve and monetize legacy as well as next-gen networks, driving the following benefits for operators:

1. Rapid and phased deployments
A truly modern digital BSS is modular, cloud-native and deployed virtually. For operators not wanting to undertake a complete digital transformation at one go, it’s possible to implement in phases, so there is low risk involved in migration and fewer resources are required to launch it. Further, End of Life is less frequent, and the hardware is much easier to manage.

2. Accelerated monetization of use-cases
A 5G-ready digital BSS stack lets operators rapidly monetize the data network with innovative and personalized offerings, enhancing the digital experience for subscribers and improving customer loyalty. The elastic and convergent platform provides a network environment for CRM, convergent charging and billing, with REST APIs that offer the flexibility to quickly introduce a host of digital services with new billing models.

3. Centralized catalog management
With 5G, network slicing, and the surge of IoT and other data-intensive services like AI and VR, it will be challenging for CSPs to meet the demands to support new business models and use cases on the fly without expensive and lengthy backend code changes. A digital BSS stack with a centralized product catalog enables CSPs to swiftly respond to this network evolution. A common product repository and robust API framework allow CSPs, partners, and distributors to accelerate TTM for new products and services and improve revenue and customer engagement. With modern centralized catalogs, plans can be defined by many metrics such as volume, value, time, and quality of service. This core functionality helps ease teamwork and collaboration, manage offers efficiently, support multi-play offerings, and provide quick access to prebuilt use cases library.

4. Improved customer management
Customer relationship management covers all important aspects of the customer lifecycle, from registration and hierarchy to offering a 360-degree view to CSRs for subscribers as well as enterprise customers. With digital CRM, operators can implement automated workflows, streamline sales and support, and use chatbots and AI to reduce manual CSR workload. Additionally, it enables instant issue redressal and quick troubleshooting with web and mobile self-care including live chat options, lowering operational expenses and reducing churn.

5. Efficient revenue management
CSPs need real-time billing and policy control capabilities to seize and monetize opportunities that all-IP networks bring. Convergent charging facilitates automated rates and charging mechanisms. Further, revenue management solutions with reliable interconnect and billing for roaming help manage diverse partnerships, enabling CSPs to efficiently charge other operators for use of their voice, data, SMS, and other network infrastructure. A modern digital BSS with real-time APIs can also facilitate new 5G use cases like surge or congestion charging at times when the demand for digital services is high.

6. Enhanced partner management
A digital BSS stack with an integrated partner management platform helps improve operational agility by streamlining the partner lifecycle. It helps cultivate relationships with simplified onboarding, self-service, and support for a host of partner functions such as content, OTT, IoT, interconnect agreements, roaming, MVNO, and others. A partner management solution with open API integration works seamlessly with third-party systems.

7. Automated omnichannel support
Improving customer experience is not merely about providing better user interfaces on various devices, but also integrating the process across channels. Omnichannel support allows operators to provide a consistent, seamless, and highly personalized self-care experience through web, mobile and social media platforms, ensuring swift problem resolution while making customers feel more connected and valued. The most recent additions to this trend are WhatsApp-, AI- and NLP-powered chatbots for instant redressal of customer queries.

Telcos are already in the battle to build 5G networks and intend to offer improved quality of service to customers. And as they invest billions of dollars in 5G RAN, they must remember that an effective 5G strategy includes IT systems to generate ROI on that investment. Digital BSS has the great benefit of being modular so it can be rolled out in phases, mitigating the risks involved in a largescale migration of one’s billing system. To maximize their chances of success, operators must modernize their infrastructure with a digital BSS transformation today.

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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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.

Subscribe to the Alepo Newsletter

Why ISP’s Need Data Monetization

Why ISP’s Need Data Monetization

Why ISP's Need Data Monetization

22nd of October 2021

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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Native WiFi Calling Gaining Ground on OTT Calling

Native WiFi Calling Gaining Ground on OTT Calling

Native WiFi Calling Gaining Ground on OTT Calling

4th of October 2017
Making calls over WiFi is no new thing to us. It’s hard to even remember the days before online video and chat OTT services like Skype and WhatsApp. However, what was once an experience distinct from cell phone calling, requiring separate software and logins is now becoming integrated into standard cellular service, altering how people make their WiFi calls.

The Early Days of Native VoWiFi

Apple’s iPhone started the change. When FaceTime launched 7 years ago, the shift started to happen almost overnight. Like iMessage, if you were connected to WiFi, you could make FaceTime video and voice calls without using your cellular data or voice plan. The benefit to subscribers was immense, considering most people spend the majority of their time connected to WiFi. The only disadvantage of FaceTime and iMessage? It only worked between Apple devices.

Today’s Native VoWiFi

Fast forward to today. Now, calls can be made over WiFi to any other device, be it another cell phone or a landline, just by calling as you would for any call through the device’s native dialer. What does this mean? Gone are the days of WiFi calling’s dependence on OTT apps or the need to have an Apple device! For operators, instead of a threat, WiFi calling actually presents a unique opportunity for real innovation. Plus, if operators implement VoLTE, this offers users a truly seamless handoff from cellular to WiFi calls, presenting an extra incentive to not use OTT apps, as they can remain mobile, even when calls began over WiFi.

Native WiFi Calling vs OTT WiFi Calling

OTT (over-the-top) VoIP WiFi calling is a cloud-based service that requires a separate client and typically does not allow for mobility. Carrier WiFi calling, on the other hand, is integrated with the mobile carrier’s network, uses the native dialer on the handset, and is generally an extension of the mobile subscription plan, and typically includes a seamless mobile experience.

Native vs OTT WiFi Calling

 Native WiFi CallingOTT WiFi Calling
DescriptionUsers’ devices directly access IMS networks to perform voice services with few changes in the core network. Calls will glide from cellular to WiFi and back again without any interruption in service.This is similar to what Skype calling or a voice call over WhatsApp offers, which works great until you leave the WiFi hotspot. Calls will drop as soon as you are out of WiFi range. It is unavoidable for calls to drop since there is no seamless handoff from cellular to WiFi.
Advantages
  • Unified dialing/message interface. No need to fire up a third party app.

  • Voice service continuity can be achieved utilizing the same phone number (seamless handoff).

  • Same QoS maintained as that in VoLTE.

  • Easy set up on the user’s device (just turn on WiFi calling option).

  • Only IMS network remodeling required.
  • Easy to deploy, no IMS or additional network infrastructure necessary

  • From a user's perspective, all he/she needs to do is download the app, register and it’s ready to go.
Limitations
  • An ePDG needs to be in place.

  • Limited user devices support WiFi calling, currently the latest models of iPhone, Samsung, LG, HTC to name a few (this list is naturally going to get bigger over the time)
  • Not a carrier-class voice solution, thus less reliable.

  • Lack of service support

  • QoS not guaranteed (no ownership of customer experience).

  • No general and regulatory services provided. (i.e. Emergency calls).

  • No standards defined.

Native WiFi Calling Benefits

Overall, native WiFi calling can be a win-win solution for both subscribers and operators. According to an Ericsson Consumer Lab study1, the key reasons users are interested in native WiFi calling are those shown in the chart below. Users value the fact that they do not need to download any extra apps or perform any additional logins. They also appreciate that their VoLTE calls get seamlessly handed over once they come in the range of WiFi, and vice versa. But, the bigger drivers are extended coverage and eliminated roaming charges. Gone are the days of going out on the back patio to get a better signal because the inside of your house is a dead zone. Or avoiding calls while traveling abroad for fear of the massive roaming charges you might rack up.  For carriers, these subscriber benefits correspond with distinct business gains, such as reduced CAPEX and OPEX, new revenue streams, competitive advantage, improved customer experience, increased international service, improved quality of experience, and first-mover advantage.

Voip wifi calling

Conclusion: Watch Your Back, OTT!

With all the benefits of native WiFi calling, it’s easy to see why OTT apps are losing their stronghold on the WiFi calling market. It will be interesting to see how the OTT market changes over the next few years to try to remain competitive and relevant!

Learn more about WiFi calling with Alepo’s white paper.

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.

Subscribe to the Alepo Newsletter