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Profitable Mobile Cloud Computing Opportunities for Service Providers
 

Profitable Mobile Cloud Computing Opportunities for Service Providers

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Service providers including telcos, mobile network operators (MNOs), mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs), Internet service providers (ISPs) and even Web hosts are finding it more difficult to ...

Service providers including telcos, mobile network operators (MNOs), mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs), Internet service providers (ISPs) and even Web hosts are finding it more difficult to increase or even just maintain their average revenue per user (ARPU) as fixed
and mobile voice revenues decline and data usage increases exponentially.

This white paper looks at some of the challenges facing service providers and the opportunities that mobile Cloud computing offers to mitigate these challenges.

The paper then reviews some recent innovative mobile Cloud offerings from service providers.

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    Profitable Mobile Cloud Computing Opportunities for Service Providers Profitable Mobile Cloud Computing Opportunities for Service Providers Document Transcript

    • AzureCoast AG, Renggstrasse 28 -6052 Hergiswil, Switzerland. www.azurecoast.com White Paper from AzureCoast PROFITABLE MOBILE CLOUD COMPUTING OPPORTUNITIES FOR SERVICE PROVIDERS AUTHORS: NIGEL SINCLAIR THOMSON, REGIONAL DIRECTOR AFRICA, AZURECOAST CARLO PETROLO, DIRECTOR BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT, AZURECOAST
    • September 2012 AzureCoast White Paper 2 AzureCoast AG, Renggstrasse 28 -6052 Hergiswil, Switzerland. www.azurecoast.com Introduction Service providers including telcos, mobile network operators (MNOs), mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs), Internet service providers (ISPs) and even Web hosts are finding it more difficult to increase or even just maintain their average revenue per user (ARPU) as fixed and mobile voice revenues decline and data usage increases exponentially. This white paper looks at some of the challenges facing service providers and the opportunities that mobile Cloud computing offers to mitigate these challenges. The paper then reviews some recent innovative mobile Cloud offerings from service providers.
    • September 2012 AzureCoast White Paper 3 AzureCoast AG, Renggstrasse 28 -6052 Hergiswil, Switzerland. www.azurecoast.com Challenges Facing Service Providers Service providers today are fighting off attacks on their business models from all angles. The Increasing Number of Over The Top (OTT) Operators Service providers face a turbulent environment that pits them not just against their traditional telco competitors but also against a wave of new generation telcos and OTT providers like Skype, WhatsApp and Viber. These OTT providers are exhibiting strong growth as they provide services such as mobile VoIP and video which users’ own network operators are resisting because they fear the cannibalisation of their own voice services. As an example, Microsoft Skype had over 660 million users in September 2011 and hit 41 million concurrent users in April 2012. Although it commands 25%
    • September 2012 AzureCoast White Paper 4 AzureCoast AG, Renggstrasse 28 -6052 Hergiswil, Switzerland. www.azurecoast.com of the international call market, Microsoft Skype’s volumes are however small compared to total telco minutes. Because services such as Skype, WhatsApp and Viber are IP based, they have turned the traditional model of charging per minute or per SMS on its head and are having a growing negative impact on operator voice, SMS and roaming charges. Furthermore, they are becoming increasingly popular even though OTT providers cannot guarantee the quality of service (QoS) and are using more and more service provider bandwidth without providing any revenue in return. As OTT providers’ communications services use operators’ networks to deliver services that compete with the operators’ own services, the relationship between operators and OTT providers has become increasingly adversarial as many operators appear blinded and paralysed in the lights of the oncoming OTT threat. It’s thus no surprise that the deteriorating relationship often featured in comments made by speakers at MWC 2012. One of these, Franco Bernabe, CEO of Telecom Italia, compared OTT providers to leeches sucking the blood out of the veins and arteries of telcos. Another speaker, Rene Obermann, Chairman and CEO of Deutsche Telekom, quoted an OTT operator as telling him “You make the investments and I take the profits”. Net Neutrality The threat of OTT operators is compounded by the introduction of net neutrality legislation. Net neutrality laws prevent telcos and ISPs from prohibiting user access to the services of OTT operators. Furthermore, net neutrality means that service providers cannot charge users extra for accessing these services either. Net neutrality laws have already been implemented in Chile and the Netherlands while other countries are considering the introduction of such legislation. Disintermediation of Telcos Subscribers are finding more gratifing experiences with handset manufacturers (Apple, Samsung etc) and application providers through the
    • September 2012 AzureCoast White Paper 5 AzureCoast AG, Renggstrasse 28 -6052 Hergiswil, Switzerland. www.azurecoast.com abundant app stores of Apple, Android, and Windows Mobile than with their service provider, leading to loss of loyalty and perceived value. Since telcos are intermediaries in this chain, they run the risk of becoming commodities in the eyes of their users. The Bitpipe/VAS Dilemma Given the increase in OTT activity, service providers now face the challenge of not only trying to remain a competitive specialist provider of quality access networks but also having to provide value added services in order to compete with OTT providers. If a service provider specialises in high quality networks while only providing a limited portfolio of value added services, it runs the risk of allowing its networks to generate value added income for third party OTT providers. While there is nothing that prevents service providers from offering both access and value added services, it is unlikely that a service provider will be able to excel at both. In a worst case, this could lead to a lack of focus and attention to the service provider’s core business and hence compromise a hitherto successful business model. Increase in Data Usage Operators are looking to data services as a way to offset declining voice ARPUs. Data usage is forecast to increase exponentially as smartphone use increases. Service providers in developing regions of the world such as Africa and South Asia are not immune to this trend. Even though data usage by late adopters might be lower than that of early adopters, the introduction of smartphones costing less than USD 50 will lead to a rapid rise in smartphone usage in developing countries. This will require large increases in capital and operational expenditure by operators to support this demand. In addition to increased usage of smartphones, faster data networks and the availability of more mobile applications also results in increased data usage.
    • September 2012 AzureCoast White Paper 6 AzureCoast AG, Renggstrasse 28 -6052 Hergiswil, Switzerland. www.azurecoast.com The challenge facing operators is illustrated by the latest Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast1 . Released in May 2012, this forecast anticipates that global data traffic will increase more than 78% CAGR (18 fold) from 2011 to 2016. Data traffic in the Middle East and Africa is forecast to grow at 104% CAGR (36 fold), although off a relatively small base. As would be expected, a large increase in video traffic is forecast. Although much is made about the growth in mobile Voice over Internet Protocol (mVoIP), the contribution of mVoIP to total data usage and growth is relatively small. Although large data growth is forecast, service provider revenues are not proportional to this data growth. In a worst case scenario, as per the first illustration below, revenues taper off even though traffic growth increases exponentially. This might be expected in immature markets with ‘All you can eat’ packages and late adopters having similar data usage as early adopters. Such a scenario will be catastrophic for service providers hoping that data revenues will take the place of declining voice revenues. 1 http://www.cisco.com/en/US/solutions/collateral/ns341/ns525/ns537/ns70 5/ns827/white_paper_c11-520862.html
    • September 2012 AzureCoast White Paper 7 AzureCoast AG, Renggstrasse 28 -6052 Hergiswil, Switzerland. www.azurecoast.com In the second example below, data traffic tapers off over time while revenues start to increase. One would expect this scenario in mature markets where late adopters use less data than early adopters and service providers offer tiered plans with differentiated data pricing. Although operators’ actual ratios of data usage to revenue generated will probably fall somewhere between the above two extremes, it is clear however that in addition to generating just the direct revenues accruing from data
    • September 2012 AzureCoast White Paper 8 AzureCoast AG, Renggstrasse 28 -6052 Hergiswil, Switzerland. www.azurecoast.com services, operators need to earn additional value added service (VAS) revenues from their data services. Mobile Cloud Computing Opportunities Wikipedia2 defines Cloud computing as “the use of computing resources (hardware and software) that are delivered as a service over a network (typically the Internet)”. Mobile Cloud computing is in turn the delivery of Cloud computing resources on demand to mobile users. Many of these services can be accessed by users via thin clients or browsers on their mobile devices and hence are not dependent on the processing power or data storage capacity of the devices. We believe that given their strengths, mobile Cloud computing offers service providers a cost-effective and efficient way to generate VAS revenues from their data services. Service Provider Strengths Service providers such as telcos have strengths which they can leverage to provide profitable mobile Cloud services while improving the experience they offer their subscribers. These strengths include: • Their relationships with their customers. Service providers usually have well known brands. These brand names can be leveraged with service providers’ knowledge of subscriber information and their billing relationships. 2 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloud_computing
    • September 2012 AzureCoast White Paper 9 AzureCoast AG, Renggstrasse 28 -6052 Hergiswil, Switzerland. www.azurecoast.com • Ownerships of high speed networks. Mobile data connectivity is the future and these networks are becoming more ubiquitous and faster while latencies are decreasing, making them ideal for accessing cloud services. In addition, because mobile connections don’t require a wire, they are quicker to roll out while enabling users to access services wherever they are. Control of the network and quality of service (QoS) also enables service providers to manage the user experience from end to end. Increasing User Expectations Users expect more and more of their service providers. These expectations are illustrated in the following questions: • If emails are traditionally from the PC world and voice is from the mobile world, now that I can receive emails on my mobile phone, why can’t I answer my mobile phone calls on my PC? • Given that I get a mobile phone number with my SIM, why can’t I get my Internet identity (e.g. my domain) with my SIM too? • Why can’t I have multiple SIMs associated with my account? • And why do I need separate voice and internet service providers? As user expectations increase, so do the opportunities offered by the mobile Cloud. Opportunities for Service Providers There are many opportunities for service providers to provide mobile Cloud computing services, particularly in the small and medium enterprise (SME) space. e.g. • There are now more mobile devices than desktops • Service providers such as fixed line operators can provide services to mobile device users
    • September 2012 AzureCoast White Paper 10 AzureCoast AG, Renggstrasse 28 -6052 Hergiswil, Switzerland. www.azurecoast.com • Many businesses don’t have the financial (particularly CAPEX), technical and infrastructure resources to build and operate solutions in-house • By accessing Cloud based services from third party service providers such as telcos, companies are able to concentrate on their core business. • Many employees are mobile and want to enjoy access to the same services outside the office as those available to them within the office. • Some businesses are seasonal. Such businesses, as well as businesses which are growing or getting smaller want access to services which can scale up or down as per their requirements and hence are good candidates for Cloud based services. • Users, particularly younger ones as well as business executives who are moving away from BlackBerry devices to iPhones/iPads and Android devices, want to use their own personal devices at work. Businesses wish to cater to these ‘Bring your own Device’ (BYOD) requests without compromising the security of their information and networks. Given that BYOD users’ devices access the Internet via multiple networks, BYOD is thus an opportunity for telcos to provide OTT services. • The Cloud creates opportunities for operators to provide and monetise services to upstream service providers as per a Telco 2.0 model in addition to just providing services to their traditional downstream customers. • Service providers can outsource their own Cloud services by entering into partnerships with other service providers, thus converting their own CAPEX into OPEX Service providers can deliver mobile Cloud computing services to multiple user bases via multiple routes, e.g.: • To their own subscribers
    • September 2012 AzureCoast White Paper 11 AzureCoast AG, Renggstrasse 28 -6052 Hergiswil, Switzerland. www.azurecoast.com • To prospective subscribers (e.g. by forming MVNOs) • To subscribers of other networks on an OTT basis The delivery of Cloud services by MNOs or MVNOs allows these service providers to associate many more services with their SIMs than just voice and SMS. New Mobile Cloud Offerings As Cloud computing moves from being just an interesting idea to real implementations, service providers have been experimenting with mobile Cloud computing. Apart from allowing them to capitalise on the opportunities offered by mobile Cloud computing, this is blurring the lines between their roles as traditional telcos and their need to become innovative service providers. Recently launched mobile Cloud service offerings include: TU Me from Telefónica Telefónica launched TU Me in May 2012 following Telefónica’s purchase of Jajah in 2009. TU Me is a VoIP/messaging/file sharing application. At the time of writing it has no connectivity with PSTN or SMS networks.
    • September 2012 AzureCoast White Paper 12 AzureCoast AG, Renggstrasse 28 -6052 Hergiswil, Switzerland. www.azurecoast.com Telefónica’s launch of TU Me is a good example of a telco offering OTT services. This is particularly interesting given that Telefónica is also a member of ‘joyn’, a GSMA inter telco RCSe collaboration which was unveiled in February 2012.
    • September 2012 AzureCoast White Paper 13 AzureCoast AG, Renggstrasse 28 -6052 Hergiswil, Switzerland. www.azurecoast.com Rogers One Number Rogers One Number (RON) was launched publically by Rogers Wireless, Canada’s largest mobile operator, in February 2012. RON turns users’ PCs into extensions of their mobile phones. This enables users to answer calls to their mobile numbers on their PCs and send SMSs from their PCs. Apart from syncing users’ mobile address books to their PCs, RON also allows calls to be handed off from mobile phone to PC in mid call.
    • September 2012 AzureCoast White Paper 14 AzureCoast AG, Renggstrasse 28 -6052 Hergiswil, Switzerland. www.azurecoast.com 1toGo Mobile 1toGo Mobile3 (www.1togo.net) offers end user customers such as businesses, prosumers, expatriates, frequent travellers, direct selling organisations, fan clubs, support groups and other communities a unique experience and their own easy-to-use mobile Cloud with services such as: • An IP PBX with multiple phone numbers accessible on all of a user’s devices: smartphones, PCs/Macs, via popular browsers as well as hard IP phones and analog phones via VoIP gateways • The customer’s own internet domain with a single address for each user’s email (including push email), instant messaging/presence and HD Voice/video for on-net calling/conferencing • Online storage (enabling the same information to be accessed from all the users’ devices) for archiving the user’s life and business • A single wallet for paying for everything with the same bill. 1toGo Mobile also provides a quick time to value delivery mechanism for service providers such as MNOs, MVNOs, ISPs and Webhosts to generate VAS 3 Nigel Sinclair Thomson is CEO of 1toGo Mobile
    • September 2012 AzureCoast White Paper 15 AzureCoast AG, Renggstrasse 28 -6052 Hergiswil, Switzerland. www.azurecoast.com and PSTN minute revenue from users on their own fixed or mobile networks without having to host the technology themselves. Furthermore, by offering 1toGo Mobile’s services to clients of other service providers on an OTT basis, service providers can generate VAS and PSTN minute revenue that was previously unavailable to them. 1toGo Mobile has CommuniGate Systems’ (www.communigate.com) carrier grade unified communications technology at its core. CommuniGate Systems is a trusted, well established strategic partner to over 300 carriers worldwide including Verizon, Deutsche Telekom, Tele2, Orange, BT, China Unicom and Etihad Atheeb Telecom.
    • September 2012 AzureCoast White Paper 16 AzureCoast AG, Renggstrasse 28 -6052 Hergiswil, Switzerland. www.azurecoast.com In Conclusion Mobile Cloud computing offers service providers a quick time to value method to leverage their strengths and generate additional revenues from users of their own networks as well as from clients of third party service providers. By partnering with third party Cloud VAS providers, service providers can jump through the horns of the ‘Bitpipe/VAS dilemma’. This allows them to concentrate on providing their clients with high quality networks while enjoying the peace of mind that even if they’re not a walled-garden their networks will generate VAS revenue for them. In addition, by delivering such services through branded applications, service providers can remain uppermost in the minds of their users instead of facing disintermediation. About AzureCoast Cloud Communications Innovation AzureCoast help executives deliver high value through technology and services enablement. Our team works with strategic decision makers in the telecoms, military and banking sectors. We help organizations leverage cutting edge technologies and techniques for the success in the Cloud. The AzureCoast team is a collection of industry experts from California and Europe that have built some of most secure and massively scaled IP Communications systems in the world. In some cases the team have built the systems for entire countries. Together, we bring experience and expertise only possible from years of determination and dedication to excellence. We have seen every type of problem and worked in every sort of environment.
    • September 2012 AzureCoast White Paper 17 AzureCoast AG, Renggstrasse 28 -6052 Hergiswil, Switzerland. www.azurecoast.com AzureCoast at a Glance • Executives with seasoned experience building telecommunications systems at super scale • Our technical team has solid, proven expertise, with carrier and government security backgrounds • We partner with trusted sister organisations to bring additional specialties and skills to projects Our Mission AzureCoast’s mission is to help executives deliver services that their customers love and that improve their bottom line performance. We are passionate about delivering value, not just technology for the sake of technology. We believe that the selection and use of only the most appropriate technology is critical in the success of any service; no matter the industry sector. Our aim is to help executives break free from the constraints of incessant technology advancement and vendor lock-in, to learn from the successes and failures of others and deliver compelling, useable services that make a real difference. For further information please contact: Nigel Sinclair Thomson Regional Director Africa Email: nthomson@azurecoast.com Website: www.azurecoast.com