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August 2013

Special Report: Wholesale Systems for Advanced Services

Special Report: Wholesale Systems for Advanced Services

Dear Colleague:

In my day, I’ve researched and authored more than a few analyst reports on the billing market, but I never looked at the Interconnect and Settlements area in any depth because it was a relatively small market and so specialized and complex.

So this is why I was delighted to get a call from Subex asking me to conduct an independent survey and report on the changes coming to telecom wholesale systems as a result of advanced services.

Plenty of technology and market changes are going to disrupt the telecom wholesale market:

  • Advanced telecom services, such as LTE, IPX, HD voice, and Carrier Ethernet services require enormous planning and pricing dexterity as they come into the wholesale mix;
  • A flood of new partners has entered the delivery stream in content, cloud, and machine to machine (M2M) services — often bringing with them innovative, multi-party contracts that stretch a wholesaler’s settlement dexterity to the max; and,
  • Fast execution — that’s going to be vital in this new world as time-to-market, profit assurance, and managing credit risks all rise in importance.
Wholesale Systems Report

Now the typical wholesaler-to-partner relationship of the past has been quite formal and business-like — often adversarial.  The reason?  The wholesaler was largely in control of the relationship because the partner’s choice of wholesale suppliers was rather limited.

Yet now that advanced services have arrived, the wholesaler/partner relationship has been flipped on its head.  Today, it’s often the partner or reseller who has the stronger negotiating hand thanks to some dramatic industry developments:

  • The Commoditization of Voice -- Thee impact of Skype, VoIP Providers, and mobile competition is turning voice into a low margin, high volume service.
  • Real-Time, Policy Driven Call Routing -- Advances in least cost and optimal routing techniques allow a partner to implement a very granular routing plan and efficiently manage dozens of wholesalers, not just a few.
  • Efficient Trading Systems -- Partners also have highly automated trading systems today which enable them to collect and organize new tariff schedules from wholesalers with the click of a mouse.
  • Network Federation to Partners -- Telecoms used to be a business of great vertical integration.  Today, the only prudent way to offer a “full-service” capability is to lease the facilities, content, or services of other providers.  So the wisest players know when to own and when to partner.

So these are some the issues explored  in this survey report entitled, Wholesale Systems for Advanced Services, which you can download from the Subex website for free.  The report is 19 pages long, but I think you’ll find it an easy read — there are many charts and figures to scan.

I would like to thank Subex and the Global Settlements Carrier Group (GSC) and its members for contributing their expertise and thinking to this research.

Hope you find the report interesting and profitable reading.

Copyright 2013 Black Swan Telecom Journal

 
Dan Baker

Dan Baker

Dan Baker is research director of Technology Research Institute (TRI) and editor of the on-line magazines Black Swan Telecom Journal, Top Operator, and FraudTech Journal.

Technology Research Institute (TRI) has been writing and researching telecom software and systems markets since 1994.  Its industry reports have covered the gamut of telecom systems from billing and service assurance... to customer care and provisioning.  In recent years, TRI has authored major reports on Fraud Management, Revenue Assurance and Telecom Analytics/Big Data solutions.   Contact Dan via

Black Swan Solution Guides & Papers

cSwans of a Feather

  • Special Report: Wholesale Systems for Advanced Services by Dan Baker — Plenty of technology and market changes are disrupting the telecom wholesale market: advanced services, new kinds of partners,,and the need to monitor relationships and services more closely than was ever required in the circuit voice world.  This article introduces a TRI special report discussing the kind of Wholesale Systems needed in this challenging marketplace.
  • Data Integrity Issues Go Global in the Telecom Wholesale Exchange interview with Vic Bozzo — Wholesale systems enable operators to expand their global reach and work efficiently with partners in an increasingly interdependent telco business.  In this article, you’ll learn about: how many subsystems work together in support of the global trading exchange, why data integrity has become critical, and how wholesale business trends are affecting wholesale systems at Tier 1 and mobile operators.
  • Carrier Usage Audits: Why Regular Checkups Are the Key to a CSP’s Bottom-Line Health by Brian Silvestri — Many telecoms are wholly unaware of the risks of not having a solid usage auditing program for interconnect bills.  Rather than a once-a-year or once-a-quarter audit, this article makes the case for regular monthly audits.  Also discussed are: the different types of audits and organizations involved; the dangers of not auditing often; and factors to consider when selecting a cost-management vendor.
  • Invoice Audit Productivity: From 19th Century Textile Mill to SaaS by Peter Yelle — When it comes to invoice reconciliation, are your processes and tools modern and efficient, or is your company stuck in a 19th century time warp?  This article show how operators can vastly reduce their manual audit steps by automating via a SaaS solution.  The  detailed case study and diagram show which tasks were automated to achieve an 80%+ productivity gain.
  • An Automated Self-Audit Approach to Telecom Cost Assurance interview with — What’s the value of an automated approach to invoice validation?  This article explains the power of the SaaS model where the vendor supplies the data-processing expertise, relieves the operator of tedious manual work and boosts auditor productivity so more money is saved.
  • Cost Assurance: Dealing with Rating Variety in Wholesale Bills by David West — Validation of intercarrier wholesale invoices seems like a fairly straight forward process.  But regulatory rules and a variety of bill rating methods have made it very complex.  This article details the challenge by walking through a wireless carrier case, then laying out the argument why operators should opt for a custom solution based on a core reporting engine.

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