The project will benefit the two service providers’ ADSL, FTTH, WiFi broadband networks
Alepo will deploy a billing system with advanced security and automation features to stop existing revenue leaks
The billing system will include centralized affiliate management to streamline processes
Customers will have access to web and mobile self-care, reducing their dependence on physical stores and points of sale
The solution will also support Alsard Fiber in launching and monetizing public WiFi services, which it intends to introduce in the near future
Thursday, December 17, 2020, AUSTIN – Alsard Fiber and its subsidiary Cellnet are set to modernize their networks using a multi-tenant solution from digital enablement and revenue management software provider Alepo. The solution will include a centralized billing system with automated security features for zero revenue leakage, centralized affiliate management, and web and mobile self-care, as well as the capability to launch and monetize public WiFi services in the future.
Simplifying and streamlining the management of affiliates, Alepo’s digital BSS will benefit wholesale service provider Alsard Fiber’s growing list of broadband clients, which currently includes 15 affiliates and over 1,000 resellers. The same benefit will also be extended to its sister company Cellnet’s FTTH and ADSL resellers. While affiliates will enjoy a faster and more seamless digital experience, the service providers will be able to lower operational costs, improve revenue, and optimize resource utilization.
The two companies will be able to prevent revenue loss caused by erroneous billing through enhanced security features that their existing system is unable to provide. Alepo’s system offers increased security against hacking and eliminates manual data inputs to minimize errors.
Cellnet’s subscribers will have access to web and mobile self-care to recharge their accounts, change their plans, log complaints about any issues they face, and more.
Alepo will deploy its Digital Business Support System (BSS) with billing, CRM, affiliate management, and mobile and web self-care, as well as its scalable AAA application to enable the service providers top performance with growing subscriber counts and usage demands.
Alsard Fiber also plans to introduce public WiFi in the near future. Alepo is deploying its WiFi Service Management Platform (SMP) to launch and monetize these public hotspots with various paid and free use-cases such as bundled ISP packages and sponsored data with advertisements.
“We knew we needed to upgrade our system when we pinpointed certain discrepancies in billing that were causing revenue loss. Further, we currently maintain each of our affiliates in a different server. Alepo’s centralized billing system will ensure more secure and efficient processes and streamline affiliate management, helping us meet our true revenue potential. Alepo’s digital self-care platform will enable us to empower our customers with web and mobile options, so they no longer need to visit resellers or points of sale in person,” said Firya M. Ali, Chairman and Owner of Alsard and Cellnet.
Vishal Mathur, VP-Solution Integration, Alepo, said, “We’re pleased to partner with Alsard Fiber and Cellnet to help improve their network as they digitize their self-care to empower customers. From the network aspect, our solution is designed to iron out the existing system’s vulnerabilities and will result in improved revenue. The centralized platform will enable Alsard Fiber and Cellnet to streamline affiliate management, ensuring faster and more efficient processes that will lower operational costs.”
The project is underway and is expected to be complete within an accelerated timeframe.
About Alsard Fiber
Founded in 2007, Alsard Fiber is a leading wholesaler of IP services in all regions and provinces of Iraq. Working with leading IP providers in Europe and using fiber optic technology, Alsard Fiber delivers the highest possible quality of service. The IP from Europe is delivered via two separate redundant routes. Customers are offered a dedicated symmetrical bandwidth, not shared capacity. Alsard Fiber has a team of IT experts who provide 24/7 technical support. All Alsard Fiber’s customers can benefit from Dedicated Internet Access (DIA), Dedicated Redundant Line for backup purposes, 24/7 technical support, and no filtering, monitoring, or censorship.
Cellnet was founded in 2006 as the first commercial Internet Service Provider (ISP) in Iraq-North/Sulimanyah city. It played a major role in building internet infrastructure in Iraq/North, earning the company a reputation for providing fast and stable internet access and innovative solutions for their individual as well as corporate customers.
The consortium project led by PC Central is part of telecommunications regulator Sutel’s Zii WiFi initiative to help bridge the digital divide
The Zii WiFi site provides educational content, information on government procedures, access to entertainment material, and more
Users gain free internet access for four hours in exchange for filling in a survey
Alepo’s cloud WiFi SMP captures key user information and generates custom reports
Wednesday, November 11, 2020, SAN JOSE – Costa Rica’s PC Central has revamped their public WiFi offering using Alepo’s cloud WiFi Service Monetization Platform (SMP). Alepo’s platform enables the consortium, led by PC Central, to grant free internet access in exchange for completing a survey and uses an advanced reporting module to capture key user data.
PC Central and the consortium were assigned the contract for the deployment by the National Telecommunications Fund, Fonatel, as part of telecommunications regulator Sutel’s Zii WiFi initiative to provide connectivity to 515 digital zones, including parks, train stations, universities, and other public facilities. The initiative helps bridge the digital gap and provide internet access to urban as well as rural areas where broadband connectivity is low. As part of the initiative, the consortium deployed 70,000 meters of fiber optic cable, primarily in the cities of San José, Cartago, and Limón.
PC Central looked to Alepo after originally launching the WiFi network with another solution that could not meet the demands of the large user base and custom reports required by Sutel. Alepo was able to rapidly set up and migrate the traffic to its new cloud-based platform. Having gone live in October, the service is already making a significant impact, with over 25,000 new users signing on in the first week.
Casual users can access the service by filling in a survey through Alepo’s captive portal that asks for their age and work profile. On successful completion, they are granted four hours of free WiFi access. The captive portal redirects them to the Zii WiFi website, which provides educational content for all age groups, along with useful how-tos regarding government procedures that can be completed digitally. Users can also check their email, download apps, enjoy books, music, and videos. Returning customers are directly routed to the Zii WiFi site instead of the survey page.
In addition to the survey responses, Alepo’s advanced analytics and reporting module also captures key user information, including customized reports. This information is relayed to the site administrators, who intend to use the feedback to gain a deeper understanding of the demographic for future offerings.
Adriana Ramos, Project Head, PC Central, said, “We believe that communication is a public necessity, and we are committed to helping Sutel achieve its objective of making connectivity easily accessible to all. Alepo was our vendor of choice given its vast experience in deploying advanced cloud-based WiFi monetization solutions in the region, and it has helped bolster the capabilities of our service. We are pleased with the response we have received from users so far and are confident that the reporting and analytics capabilities of Alepo’s platform will enable us to continue improving our offerings.”
Juan Espinosa, Director LATAM, Alepo, said, “We are proud to partner with PC Central to help improve internet access across Costa Rica. Alepo’s WiFi Service Management Platform has replaced the legacy system to enable more advanced free journeys, with an improved data-gathering and analytics platform to generate custom reports requested by the service provider. We are confident that the newly revamped service will continue to gain popularity.”
About PC Central
PC Central is a leading solution integrator for information and communication technology solutions in Costa Rica. It is a Dell Technologies Titanium Partner.
Customers can access the service at a popular resort in Victoria, and it will soon be rolled out at other resorts and major public places
The service includes free and paid access options that customers can purchase from a self-service portal
The self-care portal also lets customers monitor their usage and view purchase history
As part of the next phase, CWS intends to introduce WiFi offload services to existing CWS broadband users
Wednesday, October 21, 2020, Victoria, Seychelles – Leading telecommunications provider Cable & Wireless Seychelles (CWS) has launched public WiFi in the popular tourist destination of Seychelles. Digital enablement and revenue management software provider Alepo has deployed its WiFi Service Management Platform to facilitate the rollout and monetization of these services. Alepo has also included a self-care portal that lets consumers control and monitor their WiFi data usage.
Scheduled for a multi-phase release, the service is now live for casual users at a popular resort in the capital city of Victoria and will be rolled out to major resorts and other prominent public places. The second phase of the project will extend WiFi services to Cable & Wireless broadband and mobile subscribers with seamless WiFi offload.
Cable & Wireless has made WiFi available through both free and paid journeys. Customers can purchase volume, time, and speed-based offers and vouchers, as well as control and monitor their usage, from the self-care portal. When logged in to the portal, customers can also see the network of WiFi hotspots, special promotions from CWS, and their purchase history.
Shoaib Khan, Chief Technology Officer at CWS, said, “We’ve observed a growing level of digital sophistication of consumers. Both residents and tourists have high connectivity demands that can best be serviced by WiFi, and the ability to control their data usage through the self-care portal further augments the customer experience.”
“We are increasingly seeing that consumer engagement and loyalty depend on the quality of digital interaction with the operator. To that end, our advanced self-management portal for WiFi offers a consistent and complete engagement platform for CWS’s customers,” said Vishal Mathur, VP – Solution Integration, Alepo.
Seychelles, an archipelago of 115 islands and home to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, relies heavily on tourism from European countries like Germany, United Kingdom, France, Italy, and Switzerland, as well as India and the UAE.
About Cable & Wireless Seychelles
Cable & Wireless Seychelles (CWS) is the leading telecommunications company in the country, having started by establishing the first connection from Seychelles to the rest of the world in 1983, to now being Seychelles’ provider of choice. CWS connects businesses, homes, and individuals with revolutionary state-of-the-art solutions delivered on the fastest LTE 4G+ network, the only 5G network in Seychelles, and an advanced fiber-optic link.
As the first and only quad-play provider in Seychelles, they offer a full range of communications and entertainment services such as IPTV, broadband internet, telephony, and mobile for residential and business customers.
Being a 100% Seychellois-owned company, they are dedicated to delivering the best telecommunication services, reliable connections, and the best customer service experience to Seychelles.
Alepo has upgraded the legacy system to its Digital BSS and the latest version of AAA for the operator’s fixed data services
The upgraded system supports offers based on fair usage policies, as well as happy hours enabling Telecom Vanuatu to implement free nighttime browsing
Telecom Vanuatu’s customers can now easily purchase data add-ons
Friday, October 16, 2020, Vanuatu – Telecom Vanuatu Limited (TVL) has begun modernizing its network using solutions by digital enablement firm Alepo, making significant improvements to its billing, charging, and authentication systems.
The modernization will be carried out in phases, through which TVL intends to digitize and automate its data service offerings on Alepo’s advanced platform. So far, the operator has upgraded from Alepo’s legacy business support systems (BSS) to its Digital BSS, as well as upgrading to the latest version of AAA, for its fixed data services.
The upgraded system supports fair usage policy offers and Telecom Vanuatu has implemented happy hours allowing free nighttime browsing. The operator has also introduced web support using Alepo’s Omnichannel Self-Care for its data-service customers. These customers can now easily purchase data add-ons.
“In our longstanding association with Alepo, they have always proven their reliability as a solutions provider. We were confident in their ability to rapidly deliver key requirements for this upgrade, and they have surpassed our expectations. We are equally excited about their systematic approach to fully digitize our service offerings,” said Thomas Bruce, CTO of TVL.
Vishal Mathur, Vice President – Solution Integration, Alepo, said, “We often recommend phased digitalization to our customers. First, we validate key use cases, allowing the customer to introduce new offers and build digital engagement channels. Then we perform a full transformation, providing advanced capabilities to automate all service offerings across the system.”
This modernization project adds to Alepo’s growing list of deployments in the Pacific Islands. The revenue management software provider has helped transform the telecommunications landscape for several nations in the region, including enabling the launch of LTE in three countries. In addition to digital BSS transformation, its key Pacific deployments extend to carrier WiFi, LTE enablement, data charging, and AAA transformation, among others.
Telecom Vanuatu Limited (TVL) was created in 1978 and is Vanuatu’s first provider for landline, GSM, internet, and 4G+ (mobile internet).
TVL is the largest corporate contributor to Vanuatu’s national economy – since 2002, it has paid more than 1.8 billion vatus to the government in fees, charges and taxes. A World Bank study shows that telecommunication prices in Vanuatu are among the cheapest in the region.
TVL has fixed lines on four main islands; Efate, Santo, Malakula, and Tanna, and 85 percent of the population is covered by their 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 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.
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 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.
Authorizing Data Network Connectivity
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.
Device Access From Non-3GPP Networks
Popular 5G-IoT Use Cases
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.
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 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.