I hosted a panel at the Asian Carriers Conference looking at “Pragmatic IPX Strategies – Operator Challenges and Opportunities”. The discussion centered on where IPX is today and the challenges that need to be addressed for it to progress in the future. It was a great discussion, and there were a lot of interesting topics that came out of it.
One of the bigger questions was around the end game for IPX. As operators and equipment vendors, we are focused a lot on IPX as a concept but, as one of the panel’s mobile network operator (MNOs) representatives mentioned, we need to remember what we are ultimately trying to achieve.
Nyoto Priyono, VP Sales Data & Voice at Indonesia mobile operator Telin, said, “IPX is really just about getting a better result for the customer and delivering a higher quality of service (QoS) in roaming, voice and other new services.”
I totally agree. I think it is really important that we don’t lose sight of this very basic concept. Operators and vendors should be focused on doing whatever it takes to support their MNO customers and IPX is very much a part of that. As Nyoto said, results are what matters.
In voice, IPX is playing a role in streamlining voice over LTE (VoLTE) adoption and enhancing QoS and quality of experience (QoE) for subscribers. For operators, that means greater efficiency in the network, increased customer satisfaction and in turn greater profitability.
VoLTE brings voice and data onto a single high performance network while improving voice quality. Subscribers still look to voice as a key indicator of the performance of their mobile service, so it is important that MNOs do what they can to ensure quality.
Similarly, roaming is not a dominant revenue stream but a critical one. IPX can play a big role in enhancing the quality of roaming services globally and in turn reduce subscriber churns. If IPX can deliver new levels of QoS and QoE for roaming customers it can help MNOs compete with over-the-top (OTT) players and maintain roaming revenues.
Beyond voice, IPX can support new business models and enable new transparency into subscriber behaviors. MNOs are looking at the next generation of services and how they can monetise their subscriber base and infrastructure. IPX with real time network visibility is an opportunity for MNOs to understand their subscriber base and create new revenue streams.
Profiling subscribers and understanding where, when and how sessions take place can be extremely valuable to MNOs. While ARPU may remain flat, enterprises and global brands can leverage the data collected as well as the close relationship subscribers have with their mobile devices. Global brands have significant budgets that MNOs can tap into using Big Data and analytics with an IPX environment.
I think IPX is turning a corner, and as it evolves to enable even greater quality and visibility it will deliver increasingly positive results for MNOs. The outcome for the MNO will be new profitability and long-term growth opportunities. That’s what matters to them, so that’s what IPX must deliver.