Telecom Triple Plays
por John Myers
Originally published junio 12, 2007
Recently, a member of the Colorado Rockies, Troy Tulowitzki, performed a feat that has only been accomplished 13 times in baseball history. “Tulo” completed an unassisted triple play – completing all three outs of an inning by himself. At the recent Billing World show in Chicago, there were many telecommunication service providers who are hoping to accomplish the same thing – completing an unassisted triple play of land-based telecommunications by providing voice, video and Internet services. Cable companies want to provide voice services via their established networks. Traditional voice providers want to provide video-based services through their own networks.
Each of these goals is a logical extension of the business plan for each type of service provider – telco and cableco. In terms of core competencies, each of these goals indicates a move into areas where neither telco nor cableco are particularly strong. For telcos, their core competency has been providing high volume, event-based voice services utilizing relatively inexpensive customer premise equipment (CPE) – remember your grandmother’s rotary dial phone? In fact, many telcos have been focusing on simply providing dial tone service to residences and getting out of the consumer equipment business. For cablecos, their strength was in the provisioning of monthly, subscription-based services utilizing relatively expensive CPE – such as the average set top box or the more advanced digital video recorder (DVR). The jump to the other’s core competency is going to require a significant amount of operational change. However, the business intelligence organizations of each can help to enable and ensure a safe transition.
Here’s the Customer with the Call
For example, the industry standard for providing consumer video services is the cable industry. It is “always on.” There is high quality of programming in terms of video and audio (and it does not go away during a classic Colorado spring snow storm…). Another example is the presence of “dial tone.” The traditional regional Bell operating companies (RBOC) have spent almost 100 years perfecting the ability to provide quality, continuous dial tone to a majority of residences. Consumers have high expectations for these services. They will not move to similar, but inferior services for similar pricing.
Using business intelligence to track the interactions with the customer care center and the usage of services can go a long way toward helping understand how consumers view the products and if they are happy with the new service. With the revenue projections (read monthly and usage fees) that many telecommunication service providers have for their new offerings, the new IP-based products have to meet those existing expectations. If those expectations are not met, the consumer will not hesitate to provide “feedback” via the customer care center. When consumers start paying equivalent amounts for alternative services from a new vendor, they expect product attributes similar to those of traditional providers (i.e., even first movers want jitter-free SportsCenter reruns in the morning with breakfast…).
The CPE is . . . . Safe at Home
Just as business intelligence organizations have assisted telcos with monitoring the perceived quality of new IP-based products and services, they will need to focus their efforts to solve CPE issues for IPTV rollouts in two areas. One is managing and monitoring the “old school” truck rolls of provisioning. Minimizing the costs associated with getting CPE to the customer site will be a major goal. When the margins associated with providing a service are tight, sending technicians on multiple visits will negatively impact those margins.
Also, ensuring that the equipment on the customer site is provisioned – physically on site and technically from a remote location – right the first time will be key. Again, losing a $30 DSL modem is one thing (misconfiguring it is pretty hard, but not impossible as I learned this weekend…). But, having a stack of dysfunctional, or apparently dysfunctional, $500 set-top boxes at a customer’s house is not an effective use of those resources.
Moving to a Higher Pitch…err… Call Count
Cableco business intelligence organizations need to ensure that all the billable VoIP events that take place on their network are properly tracked and rated to ensure compliance with regulatory and risk issues. Also, the business intelligence organization should be ready to handle the revenue assurance aspects of the new billable events. Each call should be billed properly as should each telecom service.
SOURCE: Telecom Triple Plays
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