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Home | New Service Delivery | SITRONICS TS, Matej Okálin
Matej OkáliSmooth Operator

Matej Okáli, Executive Product Marketing Director for Networks of SITRONICS TS talks to Intercomms about the smooth integration of new services and products using the company's Enhanced Communication Platform (ECP)

Mr Okáli has twelve years experience in Telco. Prior to joining SITRONICS Telecom Solutions, Czech Republic in 2005, he worked for Alcatel for eight years, five of which he worked at the company's head office in Stuttgart, Germany.

In his assignments he has held the following positions and responsibilities; Project Manager, Business Development Manager (Alcatel), Telco division director (Tempest), Product Marketing Director (SITRONICS TS).

Mr Okáli has in depth technological knowledge and experience in the fields of TDM and GSM switching, IN and IP Services, NGN and IMS, and has managed products in the areas of Switching (TDM/GSM), NGN (SS, TGW, AGW, SGW), Services and RT charging (IN and IP based).

His market experience is principally with EEP and CIS regions.

Q: How much room is there to innovate this sector today?
A: Generally speaking, there are two approaches seen on the market today. Companies are either technology driven and discussing the technology, or there are companies who are more business-oriented and much less technologically focused.

What I think is really unique about SITRONICS TS is that we combine both approaches. We have a very strong BSS/OSS portfolio and a deep knowledge of business processes. On the other side, we use all this information in our network solution portfolio, designing solutions and products that can fulfil customer needs and are driven by business requirements. This is what really makes the difference between our company and our major competitors on the market.

Q: Can you give me a case study of the type of solution that you are offering?
A: Using these guidelines and principles, we have worked with a German client to provide a complete suite of services for Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs).

We started talking to the operator from a professional services point of view and provided them with counsel, planned the network and discussed the connections and interfaces with the incumbent operators. We also conferred with the MVNO partners to understand what was really behind this business and what is needed for investment. After successful cooperation at this stage, the operator decided to go with us for the equipment and we have provided them with a complete MVNO solution. The only thing we don't do is the transport layer. Everything else, starting with network core products, continuing with the application space and ending with the BSS/OSS, is provided by us. The complete solution was provided by us, including the systems integration and negotiations with incumbent operator about integration. Then, when everything was done, we signed a contract for the operation and maintenance, too. In this example, we truly covered the complete lifecycle of the MVNO, right from the early beginning to maintaining and improving the system today. This cooperation is still ongoing. Today we are also delivering and deploying new services and applications to the operators.

The initial stage of the work took about six months. We started to discuss the issues through professional services and consultations and, after less than two months, we signed the contract. The system was then ready for service in less than four months. Altogether, the turnkey was made in roughly six months.

Q: Is this speed typical?
A: It's typically very quick. This is due to the solutions we provide, namely the Enhanced Communication Platform (ECP), which provides for a very fast, secure and complex integration. The reason is very simple: Once you get a fully integrated solution from one vendor, there are much fewer interfaces remaining open that need integration with other vendors in the network. Some basic applications, when you count them together, comprise four or five network elements, all working together. Typically, this means working with four or five different vendors to integrate the solution. Once you have it from one vendor, then integration is not necessary anymore. Here you are getting a 'Telco in a Box', an on-the-shelf product that can be integrated into your network very quickly.

Q: What do you mean by "turnkey"? How much or how little input are customers asking you to provide?
A: The key word here is customer. We have some customers that only ask for a piece of the solution. We are able to deliver just that piece. If another customer asks for a product in a box, it is not a problem for us to do that either. What we are really trying to do is provide our customers with a complete solution, and that is our core competence. That, for us, is the "turnkey" element.

Q: What is your ongoing role with the MVNO in Germany and with other customers?
A: One of our key selling propositions is that once the customer has one element from SITRONICS TS in the network, all other elements can be added simply, by either adding new functions directly into the element that has been installed, or by upgrading, enhancing and scaling the other parts and components.

One typical example of how we can manage this is with our customer, MTS, the largest mobile operator in Russia. We started in MTS with a BSS/OSS solution and after six months we enhanced this solution with an online charging system. We started with one component and showed that we are able, without any additional effort, to enhance it. This is crucial for each network operator. The interaction between the IT world and networks is really the crucial part, because to integrate our online charging system we had to show MTS that we could manage over 30 different interfaces, products and vendors without any problems.

Q: How does ECP aid this process?
A: For us, ECP is an architecture and concept whereby all products are designed accordingly. There are three main areas defining ECP. First is hardware modularity; all our products are running on advanced TCA equipment. This is designed, developed and produced by SITRONICS Telecom Solutions, Czech Republic. All the elements, regardless of product type, run this way. It gives us a lot of advantages-operators can see results immediately and there is no additional cost for training and other factors with hardware modularity.

The second basic principle of ECP is functional scalability. In each network product, we have identified that there are some components that are common products. Our Number 7 signalling stack uses TDM technology for mobile and fixed operators and is used in each of our products developed under the ECP concept. We developed it only once so that a set of products can build on this component as one would use Lego's.

The third basic element of ECP is platform scalability. From the platform point of view, we start with the systems running on one advanced TCA or one block. This can start small but end up as a really large solution, such as in case of MTS, where the Tier-1 incumbent supplier required a large platform for a huge number of subscribers. MTS has over 74 M subscribers, one of the largest in the world. Scalability, when considering ECP for a project, allows us to create the systems for groups of 1000 subscribers to over 70 M.

Q: What are ECP's unique selling points?
A: That's very simple. It's all-in-one platform, so we can deploy a really cost effective service. Today, when an operator wants to implement a simple new service, they have to talk with 10, 15 or even 20 vendors to do so. They have to coordinate billing because the service has to be billed. They must talk to someone who provides a provisioning system because the system has to be sold. They have to talk with a network vendor because they are using, for example, SMS as a software interface. They have to talk with a lot of people and companies and there is always someone in that chain who will tell you that what you want isn't in their roadmap and they need six months to do it. This makes the implementation of new services extremely costly and time consuming.

With us you have one vendor running on one platform. We have one roadmap for all network owners so that they can implement the new service on all the systems in the network. This is a significant reduction in effort on the operator's side.

The second point is whether high performance is sufficient for operations and functional capability. When vendors offer a fully integrated solution consisting of products from several different suppliers, you may have impaired efficiency because it's not optimised to work together. Our solution cooperates well and tests show that when you have just one system and one concept, then you only have one platform and you train people just once. The teams are the same and the operational systems are the same. If you have thirty different system components from 20 different vendors, then you need a lot of people to maintain that.

Q: How are you evolving ECP?
A: There are several different ways of doing this. First, we are adding new capabilities. We are creating new basic elements that allow us to create new products, especially in the IMS area. The second part is creating new services and applications, because our customers demand this and we are doing it on a daily basis. The third area is that we have a couple of products in the area of IPTV and general multimedia that are not running under ECP and we plan to migrate them over.

The fourth is recognizing that when we design a platform, it should be done as an open platform. Today, we establish networks of partners who will use the platform for their own services and applications, which will then be delivered and sold to the operators.

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