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  Intercomms Issue 17
Issue 17 Articles
Thomas Schöpf, COO of Kapsch CarrierCom
Thomas Schöpf
COO of Kapsch CarrierCom

Network Optimisation: take action before your client does!

Thomas Schöpf, COO of Kapsch CarrierCom, talks about how to make the most of a telco’s infrastructure and improve customer experience

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Thomas Schöpf is a member of the Kapsch CarrierCom Executive Board and Chief Operating Officer. Kapsch CarrierCom is an independent systems integrator for fixed and mobile operators as well as access network providers, who specialises in network optimisation.

Q: With increasing pressure on mobile operators to catch-up with the latest technologies and to improve end customer satisfaction, what are the key areas that need to be developed?
A: For voice and data mobile network operators, the key areas are efficient bandwidth and resource management, end-customer satisfaction, a high level of reliability and feature awareness.

For voice customers one of the key issues at the moment is the step towards VoIP/VoLTE including IMS, which leads to the challenge of integrating an entirely new infrastructure into a legacy core system, driving new features on the voice core network and thus improving the end-user’s experience.

For data mobile network operators, the biggest challenge is the traffic growth driven by new technologies, applications and markets such as vertical machine to machine communication markets. Whereas an average user up- and downloads 0.15 GB/month today, by the end of 2015 the average volume per client is expected to increase to 1GB/month.

Q: What are the real benefits of network optimisation?
A: The ultimate goal is to satisfy the end customer by increasing the mobile network’s efficiency. This can be done by cleaning up and using existing infrastructure, surroundings and services more efficiently, optimising the parameter settings, deploying end-to-end quality of service, and reducing the operational and capital expenditure.

Another approach is to increase the network stability, by optimising issues that were found during the e2e analysis and deploying new market leading features and functionalities into the existing network.

Q: So, in a first step telecom operators need to leverage deployed infrastructure to manage higher traffic, new services, and the latest technology?
A: Yes. Due to increased network complexity caused by new services, applications and technologies, networks are getting more and more sophisticated, which creates the need for more extensive network analysis.

Q: And during such network analysis, what are the hidden problems of telcos you encounter?
A: There are three frequent problems. First, we often encounter a very complex network infrastructure, which is mostly caused by the organic growth of a network structure and elements that were provided from different vendors and integrated over the years. Second, network upgrades from one technology generation to the next causes compatibility issues, which are not always obvious at first sight, and as such make the configuration of network elements problematic. Third, increased traffic caused by new applications imposes new challenges to the transmission network.

To sum up, all this can lead to a substantial reduction of network performance.

Q: How do you overcome such network problems?
A: By using the latest monitoring tools, defining the Key Performance Indicators and more than 20 years of troubleshooting experience on the global telecom market, we are able to discover the hidden problems within any given network and make them visible. Our experts have the capabilities and know-how to go straight to the source of the problem in an unbiased and vendor independent manner. The tools we use allow public operators to get real-time information on network traffic and problems arising with it.

The results of the network analysis are then presented to the mobile operator. Together, possible actions and their impact are discussed in order to find the best possible solution for our client. Also, as part of our end-to-end network optimisation package, we offer full support during the rollout phase to ensure that network improvement activities run as smoothly as they possibly can.

Q: Can you test a telco’s system to look at the key faults and improvements they need to make?
A: Absolutely. Our in-house developed “miracle tool” - as our customers refer to it - is DataXtender. This tool provides end-to-end network and service visibility by delivering network performance, quality and usability information, consequently helping to improve customer experience which is key for customer retention, profitability and ultimately an operator’s success. It touches on each aspect of a telco’s system and automatically generates reports that allow each department of a telco company to identify and resolve problems the respective unit is concerned with. During this process we are also able to uncover the potential for new services and often drive their innovation together with our clients.

Q: How would a mobile network providers’ customer support benefit from the optimisation process?
A: Customer support directly impacts end customer experience. By supplying the right information in real-time the call centre agent can competently handle end customer complaints. To give an example, the caller data and the related content-based billing reports are visible to the agent who has to handle a billing complaint. Also, if the information about potential problems is available before the end-customer realizes that there is a problem in the network, the operator can proactively work on the elimination of such. Of course, due to the improved network quality the operator also expects fewer calls on the hotline, which can further lead to the reduction of operating expenses.

Q: What is the USP of Kapsch CarrierCom’s end to end optimisation offering?
A: Kapsch CarrierCom has been active in the telecom business for over 30 years. We have extensive expertise with all the generations of mobile networks, cooperate with a wide variety of vendors and are familiar with most elements and equipment on the market, yet are completely independent and unbiased. We do not favour one vendor over another, nor one equipment over another and can, as a neutral party, concentrate on making things work.

Q: How do companies around the world benefit from working with Kapsch CarrierCom?
A: Kapsch CarrierCom offers a best of breed portfolio and combines the elements thereof to offer turnkey solutions covering the entire value chain. Through constant exchange with the customer we are able to identify and analyse the problems and thus capable of proposing tailored solutions. We fully respect our customer’s wishes and believe that the customer’s success is the key to our own.

Q: Is there a key project that shows this as a work completed?
A: One of the major global players in the European telco market has contracted Kapsch CarrierCom to help identify and solve the problems concerning the voice quality in the provider’s mobile network.

As part of our end-to-end network optimisation process we completed an analysis of the transportation and application layers for the entire network. Also, we conducted a customer experience analysis. We were able to perform such an analysis with full network access and with the help of the data the operator collected regularly on single network elements.

Based on the compiled analysis report and together with our client, the telco operator, we then delivered a proposal and implementation plan for several significant changes, which were implemented by the operator and led to improved customer experience and the strengthening of our client’s market position.

Q: Where do you see the market’s next big area?
A: We believe that, while today mobile operators generate most of the revenue with voice and SMS services, in the future the mobile broadband will deliver operators new business opportunities which also bring new revenue. The challenge will be to combine these two revenue streams. LTE could be a possible solution for that. However, LTE is an all-IP network architecture designed for data traffic and does not yet adequately support legacy circuit-switch (CS) domain services. The success of Voice over LTE (VoLTE) will depend on the interoperability of different network generations with the goal to simplify the interconnectivity and roaming.

Furthermore, we see machine-to-machine network communication as the next big market trend. This trend is driven by consumer electronics such as connected e-readers and portable navigation devices and is thus of particular interest to telecommunication providers as it is going to open up space for new applications. The operators need to proactively consider this market development already during the planning phase of new network infrastructure. Only then will they be able to cope with the additional traffic and subscribers, as well as to guarantee further the network quality.

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