In recent years, competition has gradually began influencing in the telecommunications sector in many developing and emerging markets across the world.
Competition naturally creates alternatives for consumers, which generally leads to lower prices and better service.
The growing pressures from more competition will drive many of the strategies and activities of telcos in developing and emerging markets during 2017 and for the years to come. Developing and maintaining efficient and agile operations will be the key to success for operators to continue to grow their businesses and expand profitability despite downward pressures on pricing and margins.
Redefining fraud management
Fraud is an ongoing problem effecting telcos and other providers of voice-based services in most developing and emerging markets. As prices and margins continue to fall, the consequences of fraudulent network usage and the revenue losses it causes are having a larger impact on the profitability of operators.
Telecom fraud is often committed by telecommunications professionals from within the industry. Most fraudsters are highly skilled engineers with in-depth knowledge of telecommunications and networking technologies. These criminals operate very fast and are constantly scanning the networks of telecom operators with the most advanced technologies for new vulnerabilities and openings for their fraudulent activities.
At the same time, most carriers do not dedicate the resources required to adequately prevent fraud and are have trouble keeping pace with the constantly changing methods used by fraudsters. As an extension of this, the existing practices and tools used by services providers are generally insufficient. Most focus on detecting fraud only after it has happened and only after revenue has been lost. This is causing a technological shift in fraud prevention efforts. Most fraud prevent efforts and tools are currently evolving from detecting fraud after it occurs to preventing fraud before it happens.
Origin-based pricing schemes
Origin-based pricing is a relatively new charging method that is growing in importance many regions in world. It is often associated with Europe as new European Union regulations require that all intra-European Union calls should be treated like national calls. There are also many regions in Africa and the Middle East as well as some regions in Asia in which origin-based pricing is relevant.
Wholesale carriers are mostly effected by origin-based pricing. In regions in which origin-based pricing is prevalent, wholesale carriers must be able to protect their margins and efficiently update their pricing and implement a mechanism into their OSS/BSS processes to match traffic origins with relevant rates and surcharges.
OTTs pressure operators
OTT players are increasingly expanding their market reach in developing and emerging markets. Many have established themselves as competitive alternatives to traditional providers of communications services. The large budgets and strong influence of OTT players on both retail and business customers are placing tremendous pressure on telcos, especially small and mid-sized operators in many developing and emerging markets.
Going forward, these competitive pressures will only grow. In order to cope, operators will need to be highly agile and the support systems that they use will need to be efficiently adapted to ongoing changes in market conditions. At the same time, adjustments to business workflows will need to be implemented quickly and not take weeks and months as for change requests to be processed.
Arnd Baranowski is the CEO of Oculeus.