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Research reveals a need for new modes of analysis of customer experience, to support improvement in network development and revenue generation

Astellia has been busy conducting research on big data, on the way big data is going to be used to provide better services to mobile operator's customers and to gain greater revenues from a greater number of revenue streams.

Astellia's president of sales and customer operations, Rajesh Sharma, attended a roundtable held recently in London, UK, to highlight and discuss research commissioned by the communications analysis company mobilesquared.

The research, presented in a white paper entitled The Right Data, indicates that almost 60 per cent of operators around the world do not have access to the right data and associated tools to make a truly informed business decision. It adds that less than 25 per cent of mobile operators globally have marketing divisions that work with their network operations teams to make business decisions on a daily basis.

Rajesh observed that telecommunications network operations are increasingly being measured by customer satisfaction indices. He spoke, then, of how Astellia monitors such satisfaction levels comprehensively.

Astellia's toolset is differentiated from the market by its focus on the network infrastructure, prioritising the core network infrastructure over spectrum utilisation. It is in the radio space where true optimisation can be achieved, so Astellia focuses on radio access and service usage over radio, identifying the reasons for customers' quality of experience (QoE), and creating real value by identifying solutions to problems through the amelioration of core network infrastructure.

According to Rajesh, "Customer satisfaction is all important. In fact, it is the most important objective of the mobile operator... and it is alarming that so many operators do not feel readily equipped with the right data, tools or internal processes to make informed business decisions to benefit their customers' QoE."

Astellia applies this understanding to its work for approximately 200 mobile operators around the world. Its solutions to monitor, analyse and  address issues affecting the quality of network service usage include C-Sight, which enables  real-time network interrogation from the core through to customer experience of service delivery.

Network operations - business decisionsThe Arabic experience

Astellia's research returns the focus of network operations to the development and management of core network infrastructure, where for a decade or so now there has been a prioritisation of spectrum resource allocation and management. There is a logic for this return to an purely engineering perspective, in that spectrum – as a finite resource – cannot offer the opportunities for marketing and business development that improvements in architecture can enable.

The key driver here is to address the disconnect between operator data and customer experience. Fawaz Bassim, head of products and services at Zain KSA, spoke at the Astellia roundtable on this subject, based on the Arabic experience of mobile network development over the last five years.

Fawaz noted that churn is very high – and that operators do not have the information, the data tools, to combat this level of customer transition. Fawaz observed, also, that Astellia's tools have enabled Zain KSA to adopt a more aggressively commercial position among its marketing operations. It can engage with its customers more effectively, and prevent churn in many cases. It can also address niche markets – which can represent valuable revenue streams – more effectively, or even where they have not been addressed previously.

Entertaining examples of new opportunities

Telefonica Digital's head of media products, Donal Kane, manages the adoption of digital best practices by the operator's 25 national networks in Europe and Latin America. It is the operator's Latin American operations where comparisons with African network operations may be made.

Donal is focused very much on encouraging external advertisers using data to provide solutions to Telefonica's customers. Data is very important to his work and to the company's ongoing business, both in terms of customer relationship management (CRM) and with respect to the external advertising business that Donal focuses on. What Donal has found in LatAm markets as in Europe is that the majority of data is siloed by the majority of operators – and that this data could be socialised more within the telecommunications industry's corporate entities in order to maximise opportunities for advertising spend and revenues.

This is particularly important because, as Donal said, mobile operators are increasingly obliged by changing market conditions to embrace non-traditional activities, to become more involve in innovative service delivery - such as the provision across networks of entertainment products and services.

Donal is a proponent of the kind of network interrogation enabled by Astellia, because it enables operators and its specialist divisions to develop commercial opportunities by using data-driven solutions in more closely targeted business models.

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