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Apr 01 2015

Service management: the secret to solving operators’ chronic pain points

This blog is by Amit Sehgal Twitter: @iamitTweeting

If you’re like me, you’ve lost count of how many times your 3G connection has been disrupted – whether you’re on a call, downloading data, browsing Facebook, or watching videos on YouTube. So what is the issue, and more importantly, why aren’t operators able to fix it?

The simple answer is that with the current monitoring setup, operators don’t see these problems since all the KPI’s, server performance data, and operation parameters appear to be fine. Meanwhile, subscriber frustration grows and the probability of churn increases. The Nokia Acquisition & Retention Study 2014 indicates that simply improving service experience can help significantly lower the 40% churn rate.

Nokia Networks launched an innovative Service Management solution last fall which solves this problem. It establishes a control layer across the network, providing proactive service monitoring and performance improvements, and is also applicable for a multi-vendor environment. This is in direct contrast to simply monitoring the performance of network elements. In fact, a Service Operation Center (SOC) actually provides guidance to multiple Network Operation Centers (NOCs) on when and where a service is degrading, based on KPI fluctuations in one of the RAN or Core elements. Activities can be prioritized based on business impact data such as subscribers affected and potential revenue loss. Without Service Management, detection of any network problems may happen much later (often after 24 hours), and the chance to affect the subscriber experience in a positive way is largely lost.

Watch this video to see how Service Management can deliver an excellent service experience and a logical path to a service degradation free network.

https://youtu.be/rXPtIAeTE5k

Minor fixes = major gains in India case

In a trial conducted for an operator in India for 2G and LTE services, the results were self-evident. Data service accessibility improved by 2.5% within a 4 week time period. Extrapolating this over a percentage of the operator’s total subscriber base of 50+ million would result in a potential added revenue per year of approximately €18 million*.

Service Management has OPEX implications as well. With proactive issue identification, 7% of customer complaints could be avoided, resulting in significant saving of up to €473,000 per year in this case. This huge additional impact was the result of just two simple fixes: for 2G we provided prioritization of issues and pro-active identification based on the number of subscribers affected and volume of data; for LTE it was mainly identification. Other easy wins include fixing chronic issues such as call set up time and LTE latency. In this trial case, we saw that the latency for LTE should have been around 60 milliseconds but was actually 80 milliseconds, which can negatively affect subscriber experience. Normal network operations remain unaware of these issues, but Service Management allows operators to identify these hidden - but high impact - chronic pain points.

These two examples illustrate just a few of the benefits that Service Management offers by moving from reactive network-centric KPI monitoring to proactive service quality. Based on the eTOM & ITIL framework, SOC is the future model in which networks would be monitored and managed.

Operators can also integrate with Nokia’s Customer Experience Management solution for a subscriber level view and to ensure smooth service for high-value or VIP customers. From here, operators can evolve to comprehensive Predictive Operations, which is developed on top of Service Management and ensures that service degradation is completely avoided by highlighting potential issues in the network 48 hours before they actually impact service.

*Given increased accessibility, additional subscribers were able to use the service, so the estimated revenue figure was a result of extrapolating across the operator’s total subscriber base of 55+ million at €2.1 non-flat ARPU and calculating for 80% of subscribers.

Please share your thoughts on this topic by replying below - and join the Twitter discussion with @nokianetworks using #NetworksPerform #mobilebroadband.

About Amit Sehgal

Amit Sehgal has an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, and an MS from the International Institute of Information Technology, Bangalore. He has contributed to technical publications, filed patents, and spoken at various forums.