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Claire McMahon

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Billions of Euros Hidden in Real-time Self-Service

New Research Reveals the True Value of RTSS

Telco consultancy Northstream has just estimated the potential gains Western European operators could realize through Real-time Self-Service (RTSS), and the results are staggering.

The objective of the study was to ascertain the impact RTSS has had on OPEX and revenues for North American and Asian operators (nominated due to their disparate contexts). The most glaring discovery was that, by comparison, West European data products are in their infancy; lacking the innovation seen elsewhere.

In the US, for example, the recent adoption of novel shared data plans and the real-time mechanisms for end-users to self-care/monitor such plans are being seen as key drivers for increases in data ARPU. In fact, within a year of deploying shared plans, Verizon and AT&T saw data revenues rise 9% and 17%, respectively. RTSS has been cited as a key enabler of these innovations: the ability to control and monitor subscriptions independently, in real-time, is critical when multiple devices are allotted the same quota.

Northstream, based on their observations from studying the aforementioned operators (and refined via interviews with industry experts), developed a Business Benefits model to estimate the financial impact of RTSS on telecom operators (for more info about their unique methodology, click here) Using this model they discovered that if Western European operators deployed advanced RTSS capabilities, they could realize, in just one year, a whopping €4.7 Billion.

Despite MNOs focusing almost exclusively on OPEX savings when considering the deployment of a self-service solution, it actually represents only 11% of potential gains (€541M). But by deploying advanced real-time self service solutions (and complimenting this with required marketing and other critical initiatives), Northstream expects Western European operators to witness an incredible €4.2 billion from revenue generation.

The revenue opportunity stems largely from an underserved prepaid data market. Since the introduction of smartphones to the postpaid market, the majority of Western European (WE) operators have focused on providing data products to this segment. This has resulted in a higher share of post-paid subscribers and fewer data plans available to the prepaid segment (the potential data revenue gain from the prepaid segment is, in relative terms, 3 times the size of the postpaid segment).

Northstream believes that RTSS will enable W.E. operators to offer innovative products/pricing plans specifically designed for the prepaid segment, generating revenues of around €2.3bn in the first year. As proven by the studied deployment examples in Asia, an RTSS mobile app will act as a discovery tool through which customers will be able to explore and purchase new services.

RTSS is not a mere client interface solution; in order for these lucrative innovations to be realized it requires backend billing, provisioning, policy control and analytics mechanisms. However, solutions such as AsiaInfo's Veris Billing system enable prepaid and postpaid subscribers to be served by a single telecom billing system, and provide great flexibility in pricing and marketing offers without creating IT complexity.



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Claire McMahon is the International Telecom Analyst at AsiaInfo-Linkage, the supplier of the world's most advanced software solutions and IT services to the telecommunications industry.