In a previous post [link-back to retail roaming post] we looked at how our Retail Roaming solution – one of our four pillars of roaming – helps operators turn silent roamers into active generators of top line revenues. Another of our pillars drives the bottom line by giving operators the tools to proactively, and yet automatically, manage the profitability they are achieving at the wholesale level. We’re also developing ways to use this capability to serve the emerging market for IoT roaming.
This particular solution is targeted both at delivering good coverage for roaming customers or IoT devices, and also driving cost efficiency. It’s well known that coverage from different operators can vary from place to place so striking roaming agreements with two or more partners in each roaming destination increases the chance of customers being able to make use of the service and generate those all-important billing records.
However, wholesale rates offered by different operators also vary so one roaming partner could be more profitable than another. What’s more, discounted wholesale rates also come into play when visitor traffic volumes exceed an agreed threshold, and while these can promise increased margin they often commit the sending network to paying for minutes or MBs of data up to the target, even if not consumed.
Continuous deep monitoring and analysis of all in-bound and outbound roaming traffic is the key to hitting volume commitments and maximising the financial return from roaming. Our Wholesale Roaming solution delivers this insight and also enables operators to forecast where roamers are likely to go and when, and to understand average usage, seasonality and the overall balance between inbound and outbound traffic by roaming partner. This insight is vital to optimising roaming agreements and our tools also allow operators to model and understand the impact of different discount scenarios.
Mobileum pioneered steering of roaming to empower an operator to guide users to the most profitable partner. Our solution allows steering policies to be defined by customer segment or even whether calls are to be VoLTE or circuit switched. We can also steer by handset type – because the roaming experience on different visited networks can vary by handset and this feature allows operators to take extra care of their highest-value customers.
The capability to adjust steering settings for a particular location, or for a defined period, can make big events that attract international visitors – such as Champions League football matches, the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona or even next month’s WAS#9 in Kuala Lumpur – useful tactical opportunities to ensure “sender pays” targets are achieved.
Technological change and the emergence of global IoT deployments are also going to have a major impact on the wholesale business. Wholesale managers will need to carve out specific deals to cater for the characteristics and bandwidth requirements of different IoT devices. Low bandwidth / high usage and high bandwidth / low usage devices will need to be identified and segregated at the time of deal making and quality of service metrics will take on new importance. While today some operators use IMSI range or APN to identify IoT devices, accurate profiling could be based on machine learning algorithms in the not-too-distant future.
So, our approach is to offer a tightly coupled solution covering deal management, experience and steering to empower the wholesale manager to strike deals specific to device profile, the quality metrics of visited networks and the ability to steer devices to the most appropriate network to achieve the optimum balance of usage and network bandwidth.
WAS is an important opportunity for operators to review their existing commitments and discuss wholesale roaming rates. Our Wholesale Roaming solution gives operators the data and insights to arrive at the event thoroughly prepared to discuss their requirements for conventional and emerging IoT roaming. So if you want to get the whole story about your wholesale business, pop by our booth at WAS or drop us a line.