Eswatini Mobile overhauls and modernizes network with Alepo digital transformation

  • Using Alepo’s Digital Business Support System (BSS) and PCRF, the service provider has overhauled its network and introduced new advanced offerings
  • Alepo executed its digital transformation remotely, in phases, and within rapid time constraints
  • Alepo’s systems have solved network disruptions caused by legacy vendors and improved network availability
  • The operator will also enable 24×7 customer support using Alepo’s omnichannel self-care platform

Wednesday, November 4, 2020, AUSTIN – Eswatini Mobile, a leading service provider in the Kingdom of Eswatini, has modernized its network using digital enablement software solutions provider Alepo’s Digital Business Support System (BSS). The new platform enables the operator to introduce a host of advanced prepaid and hybrid LTE plans, digitize customer experience with a modern web and mobile self-care, and fix network outages that were impacting its voice and data customers.

Eswatini Mobile’s legacy systems were causing network outages, making an urgent transformation necessary to improve customer experience. With Alepo’s BSS transformation, Eswatini Mobile has upgraded from its legacy multi-vendor setup to a single platform for all BSS functionalities. Along with the BSS, Alepo has deployed its PCRF, interconnect billing, roaming, self-care, and other modules. Under strict timelines, the entire project was deployed rapidly and remotely, in keeping with ongoing pandemic-related travel restrictions.

The platform has enabled Eswatini Mobile to offer its customers the flexibility of choice, having introduced prepaid as well as hybrid or cyclic prepaid plans that enable different tariffs to be applied based on peak and off-peak times of the day. The operator can now also manage dunning actions and has already seen a reduction in outstanding payments.

Eswatini Mobile now has access to business intelligence reports facilitated by the advanced analytics module, enabling targeted promotions and personalized plans and offers based on individual customer needs.

Alepo has also provided its web self-care and mobile app, which will enable Eswatini Mobile’s customers to access 24x7x365 support. In addition to facilitating swift issue resolution, it will also offer customers more control over their accounts, empowering them to view and manage their plans and data usage.

“Our primary objective is to offer superior customer experience and we’re consistently working on improving our services to meet our customers’ needs. Alepo’s phased approach to digital transformation has helped us bolster our network and services without disruptions. We intend to introduce a host of advanced and innovative plans in the future using the Alepo platform,” said Genius Sihlongonyane, Chief Information Officer, Eswatini Mobile.

Sihlongonyane added, “Our key business drivers for this project were migrating to a converged platform to ensure consistent support, and switching to an on-premise set-up to reduce network disruptions that we faced with our legacy system as it was offsite. We’re already seeing improvements in our processes as Alepo’s Digital BSS provides many automation features, improving our network availability and customer experience.”

Sameer Bhuttoo – Director of Africa at Alepo, said, “We share Eswatini Mobile’s vision to strive for the best customer experience and are happy to be their digital transformation partner. Alepo’s subscriber migration was completed in record time, and we look forward to working with Eswatini Mobile on further enhancements, optimizing processes, and ushering in a new network experience for their subscribers.”

 

About Eswatini Mobile Ltd.

Eswatini Mobile Limited (formerly known as Swazi Mobile Limited) was set up as a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to apply for a license to build and operate a mobile telecommunications network in the Kingdom of Eswatini. The service provider offers a range of prepaid and postpaid voice and data services including roaming plans.

For more information, please visit https://swazimobile.com/

 

About Alepo

Role of AAA in 5G and the IoT Ecosystem

Role of AAA in 5G and the IoT Ecosystem

Role of AAA in 5G and the IoT Ecosystem

 

24th of June 2020

 

 

 

Evolution of the Mobile Network

 

According to a report from the GSMA, the number of fifth-generation (5G) users worldwide is expected to reach 1.4 billion by 2025, which is 15 percent of the global total. 5G means a significant upgrade from the last generation of mobile networks. With its higher bandwidth, low-latency, and virtualization capabilities, it has unleashed a massive IoT ecosystem, and this is expected to rapidly boost the number of devices and users on the data network, making proper IT planning imperative. As the mobile network evolves, the AAA will play a key role in acting as a bridge between devices and networks, ensuring operators are able to maximize ROI on their 5G investment.

AAA Evolution

 

AAA is an important service and policy control framework, enabling CSPs to control how their subscribers access and consume data services over WiFi, FTTx, 5G, and other IP-based broadband networks. It touches a number of areas within the core network and back office, from security and provisioning to billing and, most significantly, customer experience.

 

Over a decade ago, the core functions of AAA were in line with dialup and, later on, DSL internet networks. Today, the ever-increasing need for improving customer experience, along with rapid growth in subscriber numbers and data usage, has placed new demands on AAA functionalities.

 

Diameter – the next-gen industry-standard protocol used to exchange authentication, authorization, and accounting information in LTE and IP Multimedia Systems (IMS) networks – provides a generic framework for exchanging AAA messages and defines a standard set of AAA request-and-response commands and attributes. Having evolved from RADIUS, it provides more reliable, secure, and flexible transport mechanisms for mobile data networks. It is used by LTE and IMS network functions, including the Policy and Charging Rules Function (PCRF), Home Subscriber Server (HSS), and Online Charging System (OCS) elements.

 

In modern networks where CSPs deliver services across multiple access networks such as fixed-mobile convergence (WiFi and mobile), the broadband network requires seamless user experience while accessing services. Within broadband networks, CSPs may have multiple types of network elements acting as service delivery points and policy enforcement points. In wireless networks such as 5G, the technology goal is to expand service capabilities in various industries using high-speed mobile broadband, Internet of Things (IoT), and virtualization by embracing key technologies like RESTful APIs. This ensures optimum performance, stateless and secured network functions (NFs), and a high level of quality of service (QoS) in the 5G Service Based Architecture (SBA).

 

The 5G SBA’s modular framework comprises components such as AuSF (Authentication Server Function), NEF (Network Exposure Function), NRF (NF Repository Function), PCF (Policy Control Function), NSSF (Network Slice Selection Function), and UDM (Unified Data Management), allowing deployment of diverse network services and applications. A robust AAA (like Alepo’s) facilitates seamless authentication for 5G network services, including authenticating and authorizing device access:

  • To enterprise slices by integrating with an enterprise AAA server
  • From non-3GPP networks such as WiFi and broadband

Top Ways AAA Can Help Telcos

Secure Access Control

The AAA server manages user profiles, holds access credentials, device identifiers, access policies, and so on. This helps enable various access control mechanisms such as barring access for blacklisted devices, allowing limited or walled-garden access. AAA helps implement corporate access control, allowing specific devices to offer connectivity to corporate network resources.

Revenue via Service Differentiation

AAA helps manage access profiles, data caps, time limits, and more, helping launch different bandwidth plans and implement data caps that are integral to driving revenue in broadband networks. Real-time usage monitoring helps control revenue leaks.

M2M/IoT Connectivity Management

Serving an important role in managing device connectivity for M2M or IoT networks, AAA holds device-specific network parameters that allow access to a specific enterprise network. It collects usage or event details from the network and helps identify device cell location and device online status, handles usage alerts, and pushes CDRs to the billing system to charge network usage.

Enhance Customer Experience

AAA helps push changes in service parameters and policies to different subscribers without disconnecting or resetting their connections. Operators can offer better customer experience through seamless session updates whenever a customer:

  • Purchases a turbo boost bandwidth speed
  • Surpasses their fair usage policies
  • Refills balance for a prepaid account

Monitor Usage and Notifications

While monitoring usage and notifications, AAA supports enforcement of fair usage policies on reaching the defined time- and volume-based cap. It also helps standardize customer experience based on usage levels.

Monetize WiFi Access

AAA assists businesses to unlock a new revenue stream using the WiFi hotspot business model. The AAA server helps:

  • Access time- and data-based passes
  • Enable location-based services and offers
  • Allow dynamic redirection to customized captive portals

Role of AAA in 5G-IoT Ecosystem

Authenticating Slice Access

5G and network slicing are often concurrently used, though network slicing is an architectural component that helps operators design and customize different slices that run on a common physical interface. Network slicing supports a multitude of use cases and new services through 5G and also establishes multi-vendor and multi-tenant network models using shared infrastructure. According to ABI Research, network slicing creates approximately US $66 billion additional value for telecom companies.

When a device requests connectivity for a specific slice, besides 5G network authentication, the enterprise or tenant may also want to authenticate the device. This is handled by AAA, which holds the profiles of devices that can connect to the enterprise slice.

 

5G Slice Authenication

5G Slice Authentication

 

Authorizing Data Connectivity

As a device attempts to connect an enterprise data network, such as a mobile device that accesses streaming services, or a drone camera trying to upload images to the data center, the enterprise or tenant may want to check the device requesting connectivity and restrict access to the network resource to certain devices. AAA authenticates the device, checks whether it is authorized to access the resource, and then provides the connection parameters such as IP address and QoS for data connectivity.

 

5G Slice Authenication

Authorizing Data Network Connectivity

 

Multi-Service Access

Enterprise AAA plays a key role in connecting and authenticating devices to an enterprise network (slice), authorizing connectivity from non-LTE/5G networks such as WiFi and broadband. When the device tries to connect to 5G networks from non-LTE/5G networks such as WiFi, broadband, AAA plays an important role in authenticating the device, authorizing connectivity to the 5G core network function to allow seamless connectivity for mobile devices from non-5G networks.

 

5G Slice Authenication

Device Access From Non-3GPP Networks

Popular 5G-IoT Use Cases

Smart City

5G rollout will not only deliver high-speed connectivity globally but will facilitate the ability to handle massive network connections and unlock new life-enhancing services. Smart cities will integrate devices over 5G networks to build an intelligent city with smart traffic, smart homes, parking, waste management, public safety, and smart utility facilities. Coupled with enterprise IoT, AI, AR, and VR, 5G will offer maximum potential for service innovations in building smart cities, including use cases (slices) such as healthcare, drone, education, energy, and more. Additionally, use cases like connected vehicles, high streaming voice, and video transmission from crime sites, air pollution monitoring, and surgeries using AR and VR will further enhance lives.

Entertainment and Gaming

In both the entertainment and gaming fields, IoT solutions have played a major role in helping track emerging trends and consumer tastes in entertainment and giving users highly immersive gaming experiences. IoT caters to the entertainment industry’s three major needs: strong knowledge of the latest trends and user preferences, creating immersive content, and targeted ad campaigns. Today, users enjoy a whole new level of user-engaging visual content and gaming procedures with features such as:

  • Visible texts in the screenplay of video games
  • High-level 3D and reporting models
  • Content productions via AR and VR approach

Smart Home and Smart Building

IoT, combined with 5G-enabled tools and technologies, brings more control and efficiency to intelligent buildings and at home. These tools help control the connected home, comprising appliances, lighting, entertainment, safety, security, HVAC, temperature, energy management, and more from smart devices like smartphones, tablets, or laptops over the WiFi network. Smart home solutions leverage connected and automated homes by enabling users to centrally manage all devices from one location and provide device-specific instructions at just one click. IoT-enabled or smart buildings with AI-driven analytics help restructure key aspects of commercial buildings: construction, habitation, and maintenance enhancing the quality of life of occupants and staff. Building automation 2.0 covers smart building solutions covering space management, asset management, cleanliness and hygiene management, and environmental monitoring.

Smart Manufacturing

5G gives manufacturers and telecom operators the greatest opportunity to collaborate and build smart manufacturing units. By truly exploiting automation, artificial intelligence, and industrial IoT (IIoT), manufacturers can change the game of their business and discover innovative ways to adopt industry 4.0 practices. 5G RAN, network slicing, cloud infrastructure, and real-time data collection through AI build a strong vision of fully connected and automated factories. Having broader access to greater amounts of data, this use case revolutionizes the production capabilities of the manufacturing units by enabling manufacturers to generate meaningful data, which can be further used to enhance digitalization, create new revenue streams, identify operational obstacles, optimize industrial processes, and save manufacturing costs. Smart manufacturing has the maximum scope to transform businesses with complex device communications and stringent, costly, time-consuming manual processes.

Steps To Create A Winning Deployment

Virtualization

Virtualization plays an important role in any product deployment as it helps automate product delivery by using the latest NFV technologies. It helps enhance performance as it monitors network resources and can scale and heal automatically. Virtualizing the core network can also bring the benefit of network slicing and customized use cases such as smart cities, autonomous vehicles, entertainment, gaming, and remote healthcare. This helps build networks that boost performance, capacity, latency, security, reliability, and coverage of the application developed.

Open Standards

Standardization like 3GPP and REST APIs are the foundation on which different products and services are developed. They bridge the gap between work processes and deliverables to ensure performance and interoperability across the mobile supply chain. This helps eliminate vendor lock-in as it is always possible to get another vendor to deploy a solution that meets industry standards.

AAA Transformation

AAA Transformation helps CSPs streamline processes and reduce all of their ownership costs. With support for all access technologies, it equips them with a single platform to deliver AAA needs across broadband, mobile, WiFi, and M2M/IoT segments. Operators can boost performance and security by integrating multivendor legacy AAA deployments into a centralized cloud environment.

Digital BSS

A digital BSS stack helps CSPs deliver digital-first customer experience and automate business processes in both 5G and IoT deployments by upgrading their legacy BSS with a new 5G-ready stack. A modular BSS delivers a complete digital transformation that helps greenfield operators with full-stack deployment and replaces legacy systems that operate in a phased approach.

Conclusion

A high-performance and robust AAA Server integrated with 5G and IoT networks can be used for multiple use cases across various industrial sectors. It helps provide cost-saving network optimizations for end-to-end business processes. Advanced virtualized AAA solutions, combined with system integrations and data migration solutions, will deploy market-leading and cost-efficient services without affecting the current system or customer experience.

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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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Alepo secures place on AfricaCom Awards shortlist for ‘putting customers first’

  • Alepo has been shortlisted in the Delivering Excellence in Customer Experience category
  • Alepo has won the nomination for deployment in West Africa, which creates a compelling customer experience that cuts across a diverse set of hardware capabilities and requirements
  • The digital enablement expert has played a strategic role in revolutionizing the African telecommunications landscape, with clients including Tier 1 operators and nearly 30 deployments across the continent
  • The AfricaCom Awards acknowledge the achievements of companies, products and solutions, and people who contribute to improving connectivity in Africa and drive the region towards the Fourth Industrial Revolution
  • The awards ceremony will be held on November 13, as part of the three-day AfricaCom conference in Cape Town

Monday, November 4, 2019, CAPE TOWN– Consistently lauded by its clients for creating exemplary customer experiences, digital enablement software provider Alepo is now on the shortlist for the coveted AfricaCom Awards 2019 for developing solutions that “put the customer first.”

Alepo has been shortlisted in the Delivering Excellence in Customer Experience category. Winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on November 13, as part of the three-day AfricaCom conference being held from November 12-14 at CTICC in Cape Town.

Over the years, Alepo has played a strategic role in revolutionizing the African telecommunications landscape. Its clients include Tier 1 operators in key markets and nearly 30 deployments across the continent. This year, it has been recognized by the AfricaCom Awards for a project in West Africa and its success and role its software played in delivering top customer experience for new LTE data offers as well as legacy 3G packages.

“When our customer introduced LTE in Sierra Leone, it wanted to create modern, compelling, and relevant data offers. Their subscriber base included both feature phone as well as smartphone users, so we needed to deliver a compelling customer experience that cuts across a diverse set of complex legacy requirements. Alepo’s Data Network Monetization Solution (DNMS) offers our clients this flexibility in a converged platform,” said Derrick Gross, President, Alepo.

The fact that many users do not have smartphones in Sierra Leone underscored the need for a flexible system – a need fulfilled by Alepo DNMS. Alepo’s seamless integration with the legacy CRM enabled USSD support for customers using feature phones. Its PCRF’s dynamic, fine-grained policy management across all services and technologies optimally manages network resources to further amplify the customer experience.

“The challenge was building a modern experience for an emerging customer base, and traditional experience for others. Our platform lets IT or marketing teams swiftly create very unique, diverse, targeted data offers that can also be purchased with the same ease as traditional plans,” said Vishal Mathur, Vice President – Solution Integration, Alepo.

This year’s AfricaCom conference is expected to see attendance from the most prominent names in African telecoms. With 15,000 attendees, 450 speakers, and 500 exhibitors, it focuses on connectivity infrastructure, disruptive technologies, digital services or ICT strategy, and more. Aligning with the event’s objectives, the AfricaCom Awards acknowledge the achievements of companies, products and solutions, and people who contribute to improving connectivity in Africa and drive the region towards the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

About AfricaCom Awards

The AfricaCom Awards celebrate the achievements of the best companies, solutions, products, and personalities improving connectivity and driving Africa towards the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

For more information, please visit https://tmt.knect365.com/africacom/awards

About Alepo

Telecom Niue sees widespread adoption of 4G following launch, Alepo and Blue Arcus partnership credited

  • Main mobile service provider on the South Pacific island of Niue
  • In August last year, it launched 4G/LTE plans using Alepo’s digital BSS platform
  • The project has given residents and tourists access to new services: 4G speeds, VoLTE calls, digitized bill payment
  • Already more than 50 percent of the Island has come on board

Tuesday, June 25, 2019, NIUE – Telecom Niue, the main mobile operator of the island of Niue, has seen significant revenue growth and widespread adoption after launching 4G using business support systems (BSS) from core network and mobile software solutions provider Alepo.

The 4G offers were announced in August 2018 as part of the government’s plan to transform telecommunication on the South Pacific island. Residents and tourists now have access to 4G speeds, competitive pricing, and advanced data services including Voice over LTE (VoLTE). digital self-care, including online bill payment, has been added.

To achieve their goals, Telecom Niue employed a digital BSS from Alepo including a PCRF (Ro/Rx) for advanced monetization and control of data services, including prepaid billing.

“This was the fastest BSS migration we have ever done,” said Derrick Gross, President of Alepo.

The digital transformation, along with the introduction of modern services and plans, has seen more than half of the Island’s population adopt 4G within a few months of launch.

“Our goal was to modernize communication in Niue, and the swift growth we’ve seen is a testament to how much this project has been appreciated by our subscribers. We were already impressed when Alepo met our stringent deadline without hiccups. And we continue to appreciate the quality and flexibility of their solutions,” said Brett Collier, 4G Rollout Manager, Telecom Niue.

“Our advanced CRM and charging features are particularly valuable for this deployment. Alepo’s self-care and mobile application are highly flexible, enabling Telecom Niue to offer the best possible services catered to their customers’ specific needs,” said Vishal Mathur, VP Solution Integration, Alepo.

Alepo has partnered with Blue Arcus for the project.

“Having worked with Alepo on several LTE and WiFi projects since 2016, we have time and again seen their expertise in the deployment of 4G LTE solutions. Telecom Niue’s latest offering is one of our many combined successes,” said Naren Yanamadala, CEO of Blue Arcus.

The project is the third Alepo-Blue Arcus collaboration in the Pacific Islands, following successful deployment of policy, charging, and billing solutions for the Marshall Islands National Telecommunications Authority, and another with Tuvalu Telecommunications Corporation in Tuvalu.

About Telecom Niue

Telecom Niue Limited is a company incorporated in Niue and fully owned by the government of Niue. It was formed out of the business and operations of the Department of Post and Telecommunications.

As part of the government’s corporatization of utilities in early 2016, Telecom Niue was registered as a private company. It is the sole provider of mobile and fixed telephone services in Niue and the main provider of internet services.

The company’s mission is to ensure affordability, reliability, security, and high-quality telecommunication services anytime, anywhere.

For more information, please visit www.telecomniue.com

About Blue Arcus

Blue Arcus Technologies, Inc. is a California-based company that specializes in providing cost-effective mobile network solutions across the globe. The company also addresses telecommunications needs through its rural and remote community solutions, maritime and ferry solutions, tactical and emergency solutions, and mobile network solutions.

For more information, please visit www.bluearcus.com

About Alepo

Alepo Selects Parallel Wireless Technology for Public Safety LTE Network-in-a-Box

In response to the growing demand for end-to-end LTE based public safety networks, Alepo, the leading LTE solutions provider selected Parallel Wireless, the leading LTE technology provider, for a joint public safety LTE Network-in-a-box solution that can lower deployment time and costs without sacrificing performance and security.

Monday, October 23, Austin, TX –  Ahead of AfricaCom 2017, Alepo today announced the selection of  Parallel Wireless (www.parallelwireless.com) technology to provide LTE-based network-in-a-box for the global public safety market. The announcement is supported with a trial with a first responder network in the Pacific Rim region prone to earthquakes. The fire, police, and ambulance services in the region will benefit greatly from an independent, private network that doesn’t rely on the public communications networks, which can go down or be congested during an emergency.

The combined public safety solution provides an end-to-end, LTE ready, mission-critical network-in-a-box. The solution pairs Alepo’s PCRF and HSS with Parallel Wireless’s RAN hardware, microwave backhaul, HetNet gateway and embedded evolved packet core. As an end-to-end package, the solution yields significant cost-saving benefits, including a ready and rapid deployment, proven interoperability, and ease of daily operations.

According to the latest market research report published by MarketsandMarkets, the public safety LTE market is expected to be valued over USD 3 billion by 2023, growing at a CAGR of 25.7% from USD 782.9 million in 2017. As per the report, the government initiatives toward public safety, and the rising demand for unmanned operations and remote surveillance is driving the need for public safety LTE infrastructure and services.

Private LTE network-in-a-box, tailored for emergency services and tactical communication needs, can be transformative for first responders, especially in areas where there is no existing coverage or coverage is spotty. The joint public safety solution can be deployed in various tactical and multi-cast environments, from police station coverage to ad-hoc scenarios in case of emergencies. 4G LTE in public safety gives law enforcement the advantage to access information, stream video, and collaborate in real time. “LTE can allow public safety field personnel to use bandwidth-intensive applications, such as real-time video/CCTV, which narrowband data networks cannot deliver,” said Derrick Gross, Vice President of Business Development at Alepo. “The public safety LTE market is coming out of the infancy stage and has already experienced good growth trajectory in the last few years, which, in our eyes, is a sure sign of an optimistic future.”

Meet at AfricaCom 2017, Cape Town, South Africa, November 7-9, 2017

Alepo will be exhibiting at AfricaCom 2017. To schedule a meeting or live demonstration with Alepo at AfricaCom 2017, please complete the form at https://www.alepo.com/news-events/upcoming-events/.

Parallel Wireless is exhibiting at AfricaCom in Booth 33. Please visit: http://www.parallelwireless.com/news-and-events/events/africa-com-2017/ to schedule a meeting.

About Alepo