Archive of the BSS/OSS Category

Carrier billing — a telco place in the smartphone sun?

Mobile operators, like their wireline brethren beside them, live in fear of one thing: being relegated to network pipes while others — device makers, OS providers, app makers — collect money working “over-the-top.” This certainly appears to be happening in the case of AT&T and Apple with the iPhone, but some interesting research emerged today that could tell a different story on Android devices. more

Blogging Telco 2.0: A way out of the “valley of death”

I’m spending the next few days in Orlando at STL Partner’s first Telco 2.0 show here in the U.S. The conference has quickly grown in influence as one of the industry’s go-to events for new thinking about telco service and business (and, frankly, survival) models.
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Telco Data 2.0 - Much more interesting than it sounds

Connected Planet is working with STL Partners to provide coverage of the first of the U.K.-based strategy consultant’s influential Telco 2.0 events to reach the U.S., to be held Dec. 9-10 in Orlando. As a lead-up to that event, STL CEO and founder Simon Torrance and his team shared with us — and we’re sharing with you — some analysis of the most recent Telco 2.0 event, held last month in London.

Up today: Insights into Telco Data 2.0, a session that explored the issues surrounding telco resources of subscriber data, the opportunities they create, the barriers to success and the critical requirements.

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Operators missing out on personalization opportunity

Consumers want a personal mobile content discovery process that goes beyond simple search, according to a Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) survey of US and UK consumers released today. If content was, foremost, easier to find, 63% indicated they would spend more time accessing or purchasing it. If it were also more personal, respondents indicated they would increase their time spent accessing content to more than an hour, as well as their monthly spending by $8.
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Why’d this take so long? Twitter pics via MMS

Twitter’s always had a mixed story when it came to SMS, and overall the emergence of mobile apps have made Twitter-to-SMS posting a non-issue for many users.

But what about Twitter-to-MMS links? As services like Twitpic have emerged to let Twitter users attach photos to Twitter messages, they’ve been positioned more as competitors to already slow-to-take off MMS services than anything.

But European operator Orange is trying to change that, announcing a deal with Twitter to explicitly support SMS-to-Twitter updates, as well as enabling Twitter photo sharing via its MMS service.

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Will open mobile break online purchase/activation?

So what happens when a consumer purchases and then tries to get started with a new, more open smartphone device on a new, more open mobile network?

If operators aren’t careful, the answer is: chaos.

And that chaos has the potential to not only result in a painful customer (or worst case scenario ex-customer) experience but substantial call center/support costs as well.More...
We recently talked about this topic with Omar Tellez, executive VP and CMO of Synchronoss, which provides back-office platforms to enable service providers and OEMs to help automate subscriber activation, order management and service provisioning for connected devices.

Synchronoss got a big boost when it won the deal to activate Apple’s iPhone online (and then took a hit when Apple and AT&T pulled activations back into their retail locations).

That was more than a year ago. Since then, Synchronoss not only is still doing some iPhone activations (the vendor does 100% of Apple and AT&T Web site-purchased iPhone applications today) but it’s won more deals, including with Nokia USA and a deal earlier this month with Time Warner Cable.

In the end, everything the company learned in its iPhone dealings “is very relevant to the issues we’re seeing in the market today. Many people divide the wireless space into ‘BI’ and ‘AI’ — before the iPhone and after the iPhone,” said Tellez. “What’s happened in terms of OEMs [like Apple] becoming stronger and many more open initiatives on the operating side of the equation is that the whole ecoystem has changed.”

Before, said Tellez, operators controlled the sales channel and customer experience. Today, device manufacturers and even retailers like Best Buy “are taking a much more aggressive role.”

The newest version of Synchronoss’s ConvergenceNow platform is targeted at just these type of connected device retail — and e-tail — environments and has features not just for service providers but OEMs and retailers as well.

As the open mobile value chain continues to evolve, exactly who controls the purchase, pre-qualification, credit check and other processes will continue to evolve and change as well. Overall, though, “you’ll have more parties involved and more marrying or caching of customer information up front.

All of that leads up to a new kind of service activation, where a combination of operator services and apps and content from a variety of other parties are added to the purchase, activated on the phone and delivered via an entirely new type of customer purchase experience, Tellez said.

“At the end of the day, the learning of the past six months is that when this environment enables more players, and not just the operator, to provide for a customer’s needs,” he said. “It’s a very interesting time in the mobile value chain.”

180Squared expands beyond Microsoft roots

180Squared, a start-up formed by former Microsoft Mediaroom architects in April 2008 to focus on billing/operational support systems or IPTV deployments based on Mediaroom is moving beyond its Microsoft beginnings to be platform-agnostic. The company today also announced two customers using its product line geared towards rapid IPTV installation, integration and deployment, Surewest Communications and Reservation Telephone Cooperative. more

Finding the connected consumer’s new loss leader

The quickly shifting roles of devices and services has some of the best minds of the tech world struggling to figure out which are the razors and which are the blades of the connected consumer economy.

In an interview this week, Google CEO Eric Schmidt said, “The iPhone has proven that you can sell a phone with a subscription. The contract cost is greater than the cost of the phone. So what do you think: Do those prices remain higher from AT&T and those guys? Does the hardware become free?” more

Duke Energy taps Convergys for smart grid billing

One of the biggest drivers for smart grid deployments has been the cost savings it can bring both utilities and their customers, but this requires new methods of data management, new customer options and a new method of billing. To address this need, third largest US electric company and smart grid pioneer Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK) today added Convergys (NYSE: CVG) to its growing list of partners. Convergys will provide Duke with smart grid billing and customer management. more

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