Ronnie05's Blog

OTT versus Operator: Collaborate or Compete or …?

Posted in Industry updates by Manas Ganguly on February 4, 2014
OTT versus Operator from Manas Ganguly

The fight between the OTT and the operator is all set for the operator to loose. As the Vibers of the world eat into voice revenue and the WhatsApps of the world eat into messaging pie, there is little that the operator can do in the short and medium term to turn the tides. The OTT operators as well have the classic monetization problem – Monetizing an OTT service is easier said than done.

But from the operator perspective, Rich Content suit of solutions is the key – that bridges media, messaging, voice and content – but building this up is a time consuming activity and will require operators to fundamentally redefine the business models for the telecom operators.

One way or the other – short term, medium term and long term- the operators will blled revenues before being able to re-capitulate on their suite of solutions.

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Network Scalability: The challenges from an Indian perspective

Posted in Business Cases, Industry updates by Manas Ganguly on January 31, 2014

This was presented by me to Accenture on 31st January 2014 and defines the challenges in terms of technologies, standards, networks and the investments and costings underneath.

Network scalability – The Indian perspective from Manas Ganguly

The pace of innovation is outstripping the RoI recovery cycles for Telcos worldwide and then again, there is no single standard and one unified eco-system. Betting and hedging on future is a difficult task for even the most seasoned Telcos.

Are Telcos reading tablets wrong? (Blame it on the Dumb Pipe Syndrome)

Posted in Industry updates by Manas Ganguly on May 25, 2013

Amazon prepares to take it services global with a 190 country launch – riding on the success of its tablet- Kindle Fire. Elsewhere Apple has recorded its 50 millionth download and Android is racing Apple in terms of the number of apps on their stores. Tablet Phenomenon still on the rise, creating new opportunities for players across the value chain. ABI research reports that the tablet market will grow this year by 38% to 150 million units, worth an estimated $64 billion. The total number of tablets is estimated to grow by a projected 38% over 2012, and the total revenue will grow a projected 28%. Eeven the most conservative estimates foresee tablet sales surpassing 350 million units by 2016.

The Indian market for tablets is estimated to grow 100% (from 3mln to 6mln units in 2013). Given the largesse and state government doles in the pre-election year- this could translate into a number much larger than the 6mln estimated. As of today, the following are the key drivers of the tablet business-

1. Device Affordability
2. Affordability in 3G Mobility
3. Business and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)
4. Platform maturity and Applications, Services for a
5. Vernacular matures as a platform
6. Government push on Tablets as a segment to connect the unconnected- Election Year!

However Operators, on a whole, are giving this wave a miss – happy to play the second fiddle by providing a modest data pipe. It amounts to selective deafness and blindness to the emergence of the digital native. Alongside, there is a persistent lack of clear strategies to deal with the Tablet phenomenon. Most Operators play it safe when it comes to Tablets, making few bold or innovative moves and treating it as yet another data terminal. However there is a clear need for a strategic roadmap in terms of services, enterprises, customers and segments. As of today, Operators are only strategizing basis improvement of bandwidth and milking the spectrum more effectively – all of that summarily categorized at LTE deployments.

However, if you consider the markets over the last 2 years – there is little that operators have done to capture the windfalls from the Tablet devices as a segment. Most of the profit pool is shifting across the value chain to digital content and service providers (Read Google, Amazon, Apple, Facebook) alongwith the Component manufacturers (Qualcomm, Allwinner, MTK, Samsung and others). As the Operator cash cows (voice and SMS) continue on a steady decline loosing out turf to IP services and social networks, there is very little observed shift to content and advertisement revenues.

I am privy to some operators working on integrated consumer touch point and UI strategies which works on the semantic framework , we are yet to see any real implementation of this. Again, a couple of operators have invested in media companies for content services – but these efforts havent seen the light of the day. In the meantime, the eco-system is drifting away from operators. There are still several potential plays that can help the Indian Telecom players protect their value shares – but operators will have to think beyond their existing businesses to innovate on these new paradigms to ensure continuation of their profit pools. The key is to emerge out of that dumb pipe syndrome.

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Impact Analysis: Google buys out Moto (Part IV- Would the operator become more redundant)

Posted in Mobile Devices and Company Updates by Manas Ganguly on August 21, 2011

Read Part I, Part II and Part III

Google is pulling off an acquisition that is larger than any that Microsoft, Apple, or any of their other main competitors ever have. The Moto acquisition is either the smartest thing Google has ever done, or the dumbest. A $12.5 billion deal in cash, with a $2.5 billion collapse clause? There is no in-between
In a series of blogs over the next few days, I would be analyzing the impact of the Google-Moto deal in terms of:
1. Patents Leverage
2. Platform/Hardware Competence
3. Eco-system view
4. Impact on Telcos

Impact on Telcos

There are some interesting potential side effects of this deal, such as in the broader consumer electronics space. Motorola could help Google turn around the disaster that has been Google TV. Motorola makes a huge percentage of the set top boxes that the cable companies use to push their over-priced content at you.

This then brings us to another interesting fall-out of this deal- How will the telcos react to Google taking over the role of content provider as well as the device maker. Google has long harboured intent of becoming a media business with emphasis on the content delivery. Google would still be riding on the Telco pipes, which would further re-inforce dumb pipe syndrome. This deal is just another blow to the traditional telcos, pushing them further towards commoditization and being a pipe. How will they fight back? Is their future only in providing the connection? This will be interesting.


Telecom Operators primed to benefit from Smart Networks

Posted in Industry updates by Manas Ganguly on August 18, 2011

The profusion of smartphones and other data centric devices are pushing the limits of network traffic and bandwidth. As Mobile networks underwent fundamental changes in the evolution from 1G to 4G. Network speeds, the number of users and the diversity of applications and services have skyrocketed. These changes are forcing operators to rethink their network-management strategies — not a minor tweak, but a major overhaul.

Comprehensive network management strategies and services now enable operators to avoid becoming dumb pipes. The first step is completely rethinking how to manage their networks.

Before mobile data became popular, operators focused on engineering their networks. Now, operators are shifting their focus from networks to traffic. With infrastructure that provides packet-level insights into that traffic, operators now can identify different traffic types and apply a specific policy to each one. For example, operators can dynamically allocate bandwidth and loadbalancing links to improve latency and throughput. As a result, they can use Quality of (network) Services as a powerful market differentiator. The key is to understand how customers use services and the network resources associated with that usage. Hence the differentiator is based on the network’s ability to gather broader, deeper, real-time information about user sessions.

This allows operators to engineer applications, including managing traffic and dynamically provisioning resources, to ensure all applications deliver the best possible performance.

Operators also can use the network’s awareness of user content and context to deliver services tailored to each subscriber’s usage patterns. For example, operators might create a service targeted at parents with family payment plans so they can monitor their children’s activities. Another service might cater to users who watch a lot of video on their devices by prioritizing video over other applications. These are few examples of how application engineering enables operators to reduce costs, create additional revenue streams and improve the user experience.

Thus the concept of smart networks is based on the following 4 main aspects:
• Visibility. See exactly what applications customers use, where the network hot spots are and what’s causing those hot spots.
• Control. Prioritize traffic, set policies and block traffic, if necessary.
• Optimization. There are 2 aspects of optimization. The first is capacity and efficient use of network resources. The second is optimizing the quality of experience for users.
• Monetization. Get new revenue streams from the applications and services on the network

Using an intelligent/smart networks operators can offload up to 70% of Internet traffic at the network edge. That offload increases core network efficiency, improves the user experience and reduces CapEx by up to 50%. This approach enables operators to use their resources more efficiently and apply the packet core platform/network based intelligence to dynamically offload traffic.

The smart networks take the operators out of the unsustainable dumbpipe business. and helps them reduce expenses, create new revenue streams and strengthen profitability. Just as important, it makes it possible to engineer and optimize the user experience. That translates into stronger customer loyalty.

Mobile Operators: From Dumb Pipe to Nightmare Scenario

Posted in Industry updates by Manas Ganguly on August 8, 2011

A new Juniper report estimates that while global operator-billed revenues will exceed $1 trillion annually by 2016. This would be something to celebrate were it not the case that costs are forecasted to rise in accordance with revenues — and exceed them. Mobile network operators (Telcos) face the prospect of a “nightmare” scenario under which operator costs will exceed revenues within four years unless remedial action is taken.

Smartphones contribute to 25% of the global mobbile phone sales. Smartphones are to become the highest-selling consumer electronic device category in 2011.Cellular data traffic doubled in 2010.The Coda Research Consultancy predict global smartphone sales of some 2.5 billion over the 2010-2015 period, and also suggesta that mobile Internet use via smartphones will increase 50 fold by the end of that period.Gartner expects over 500 million smartphones to sell in 2012.

As revenues begin to flatline – the result of market saturation allied to declining ARPUs – and the surge in data usage pushes backhaul costs ever higher,operators margins and profits will increasingly get squeezed. This is called the Nightmare scenario.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution for Telcos, simply because the circumstances of individual operators differ widely, even within the same market. To survive this nightmare scenario, Telcos will need to offer integrated rate plans, while also providing a wide range of segmented postpaid and postpaid tariffs.The potential for double-sided revenue streams in areas such as cloud, M2M and mobile financial services where Telcos can leverage their existing assets.

Second tier networks (those with lower traffic) could be poised to gain significant advantage by retaining flat rates for data bundles. Likewise, Integrated Mobile Broadcast represents a new 3G standard that has the potential to add infinite capacity to 3G for popular content, offering a solution to the impending capacity crunch. \

Lastly, as the cost of fossil fuels continues to increase, transition to green networks and base stations is beginning to “represent both an environmental and economic imperative”.

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