Service Delivery Platforms

Developing flexible platform architectures and solutions to enable connected partner ecosystems

Platforms play a significant role in bridging the gap between consumers and networks, providing essential operational functions and enabling innovative services to be developed for end customers. However, all too often platforms limit themselves to serving only incumbent operator brands and virtual operators. If they do not evolve their approach, they risk being left out of the future of the telecoms industry.

We also point out that the current fragmentation of service providers causes uncertainty for end-users, networks, and associated platforms, which in turn stifles innovation. We believe it is time to bring these players under one umbrella term and simplify the ecosystem. To capture this new way of thinking, we have developed the concept MIONs: Mobile Innovators on Networks. MIONs consolidates mobile brands, sub brands, MVNOs, digital service providers and IoT players into one common category, which in turn helps the industry rationalise and become more efficient.

By thinking of MIONs as one group, with a common set of needs, the industry, and platforms in particular, is then able to provide a more integrated and standardised approach.

At RDC, we develop innovative go-to-market strategies for technology focused platform providers by understanding the language of the customer, simplifying complex concepts, brining the vision to life. We have exceptional expertise in developing flexible architectures to cater for multiple geographies and verticals.

Internet Of Things (IoT)

Go-to-market strategies, identifying new segments and verticals, and negotiating airtime deals

The Internet of Things (IoT) is entering a new era, driven by falling airtime costs, new devices, new players and the deployment of 5G. Taken together, these factors are creating a boom in IoT, leading to new applications and new business models. Players in the industry must ready to take full advantage of this opportunity.

IoT service providers generally focus on the orchestration of services – bringing together multi-country connectivity, customer account management and value added services. They ensure efficient management of hundreds of thousands of devices, including airtime aggregation, data and revenue management, monitoring and diagnostics. At the same time, many IoT platforms are playing an increasingly important role in impacting lifestyles, with growth spurred from industries without telecoms expertise such as health, automotive, agriculture and utilities entering the IoT space. Because of this lack of expertise, they will require extensive support from IoT service providers to make sure their use cases are understood and developed with their specific requirements in mind.

Moreover, a number of platforms that have traditionally served voice and data propositions, such as BSS/MVNE platforms, as well as large scale infrastructure players and manufacturers/OEMs, are increasingly pivoting to IoT, aggregating airtime and focusing on ‘as-a-service’ business models. These represent a disruptive model to the traditional IoT-only service providers.

On top of these concerns, deployment of global IoT services still face a number of structural hurdles:

  • Negotiating numerous roaming deals with multiple operators
  • Dealing with permanent roaming issues
  • Inability to get real time data feeds from operators
  • Operators feeling threatened by potential cannibalisation of their own IoT business
  • Lack of established standards
  • Security concerns
  • Fragmented ecosystem requiring multiple partnerships
  • Interoperability and compatibility concerns

    RDC can help you surpass these obstacles and develop a winning IoT business. We have substantial experience in the IoT space, both with traditional IoT providers as well as new emerging innovators, including satellite IoT providers and platform providers. We can help you develop a successful IoT strategy, negotiate airtime deals, determine verticals to target and provide knowledge on the latest technologies, including 5G, NB-IoT, eSIMs and LTE-M.

    How can we help

    • Airtime negotiations & renegotiations
    • Sales enablement
    • Business model development
    • Mergers and acquisitions
    • Platform architecture
    • Proposition development
    • Legacy upgrade solutions

    Wholesale & MVNO

    From strategy to full implementation, for successful MVNOs, operator sub-brands and IoT providers

    From strategy to full implementation, for successful MVNOs, operator sub-brands and IoT providers

    Wholesale services are a huge part of traditional Mobile Network Operators (MNO) business portfolio. Starting out as both a way to use up excess capacity and increase competitiveness in the communications markets through Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNO), wholesale has evolved from purely voice airtime to include mobile data, messaging, fixed broadband, IoT services and more.

    MNOs sell airtime at wholesale prices to resellers, that is, MVNOs, who in turn sell it to consumers. There are various types of MVNOs depending on their capabilities, from full MVNOs to simply brand resellers, but none of them can use radio spectrum. Acting as a bridge between the MVNOs and MNOs are a key set of platform business called Mobile Virtual Network Enablers (MVNE), who offer network infrastructure and related services, such as provisioning and OSS/BSS services. There are also Mobile Virtual Network Aggregators (MVNA), who reduce complexity in airtime negotiations with the MNOs.

    As mentioned, the wholesale sector has been evolving from purely voice to more advanced services, opening up new opportunities and business models. Over the next five years, we predict a doubling in global consumer wholesale connections to over 1bn and a seven-fold increase in IoT wholesale connections to over 2bn.

    To take advantage of this growth, mobile operators need to embrace new wholesale partnerships and business models to further monetise network capacity.

    We see wholesale growth coming from three key areas: lifestyle services, IoT (Internet of Things) services, and converged media giants. Big brands want to deepen customer engagement through connectivity and surge forward with innovations in healthtech, fintech, education and entertainment. Meanwhile, IoT is experiencing a boom thanks to lower device costs and increasing 5G coverage, with new applications and business being unveiled every day. Finally, higher bandwidth, expanded coverage and increased capacity availability will open a new set of opportunities in streaming services such as virtual reality and eSports.

    RDC has unparalleled expertise in wholesale, negotiating win-win agreements with operators for connectivity across fixed, cellular and satellite. We have launched successful MVNOs and operator sub-brands, developed wholesale platforms for MNOs wanting to launch sub-brands and MVNOs, negotiated profitable airtime deals for IoT service providers. RDC has performed the world’s largest number of MVNO projects.

    We create disruptive strategies by encouraging players to shift away from siloed thinking to embrace a wider ecosystem incorporating e-commerce, social media platforms, payment systems, app developers, retail players, and content creators.

    To demonstrate our thought leadership in this area, we have developed a concept to take wholesale a new level, placing a greater emphasis on the role of a well-executed cloud-based platform architecture. We see mobile wholesale evolving beyond traditional MVNOs to include a new breed of innovators: MIONs (Mobile Innovators on Networks). These are IoT, over-the-top (OTT players), app providers and any brand wanting to take control over the mobile connectivity experience to engage with customers. By thinking of MIONs as one group, with a common set of needs, the industry, and platforms in particular, are then able to provide a more integrated and standardised approach.

    How can we help

    • Airtime negotiations & renegotiations
    • Business model development
    • Platform architecture
    • Capital raise support
    • Proposition development
    • Partnership development
    • Legacy upgrade solutions
    • Fast-track launch of MVNOs and sub-brands

    Emerging Tech

    Staying on top of the latest developments and their impact, including AI, Cloud, VR & AR and blockchain

    Always ready for the future

    Technology is experiencing exponential evolution – understanding the latest innovation will deliver both process optimisation and competitive advantage. We strongly believe emerging tech will transform the TMT sector completely, and work with clients to look at the future with a open mind approach.

    On the operations side, blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI), and cloud architecture are gaining huge traction, changing how operators and platforms work. Examples include chatbots and  virtual assistants run by AI to improve customer service as well as predictive maintenance of networks and early fraud detection. Blockchain is already being implemented for identity management and settlement and dispute management and will become a bigger part of operators’ portfolio of industry services.

    On the service delivery side, IoT, payments and application advancements are leading to life changing revolutions in HealthTech, AgriTech, FinTech, EdTech, etc. Digital banks and e-wallets partner with operators to facilitate adoption and reach unbanked populations, while healthcare providers are reaching out to operators to launch secure telemedicine applications.

    The same applies to connectivity: convergence between fixed infrastructure, wi-fi, cellular and satellite means global communication is being transformed at an incredible pace.

    At RDC, we develop disruptive strategies with emerging tech in clear view. From ideation to launch and beyond, we create game changing go-to-market plans which. We are witnessing a huge flurry of investments in this space, thus developed significant expertise in fund raising, due diligence, M&A.

    How can we help

    • Business case development
    • Programme management
    • M&A support
    • Sales enablement
    • Pricing strategy
    • Disruptive proposition development

    Payments / Fintech

    Helping operators and platforms gain a share of the mobile payments and fintech boom

    Support beyond telco services

    All around the world, we are witnessing an unstoppable shift toward mobile commerce. Consumers are now spending more money and time on their mobile devices than on their desktops or in physical stores.Whilst telcos have facilitated this move, they have been left out of the mobile payments and fintech windfall.

    We believe operators and platforms can still benefit from this shift by exploring world beyond recharge and telecom services. As we know, telcos already have a ‘billing relationship’ with their customers and know their profile data. This can be leveraged to facilitate more payments and increase their share of wallet through payment partnerships.

    The way we see it, there are two types of initiatives that can lead to an increase in payment volume and spending:

    • Transaction-enhancing partnerships that make the payment process more efficient and and result in a higher number of transactions
    • Value-enhancing partnerships that increase the amount spent per transaction by the consumer

    At RDC, we have the expertise and tools necessary to make these plans a reality.

    How can we help

    We have developed extensive thought leadership around the subject of payments and telcos as well as actionable plans for telcos capture a larger portion of the fintech boom, for both operators and platforms.

    • User experience (UX) design
    • Partner negotiation and integration
    • Direct Carrier Billing strategy
    • Pricing strategy
    • Revenue assurance
    • Regulatory compliance
    • Application design and development

    Loyalty

    Customer loyalty strategies to engage competition from digital disruptors, developed specially for TMT players

    Moving beyond the race to the bottom

    With threats from OTT players, saturated markets and fierce competition, customer loyalty to operators and mobile brands is at huge risk. Facing dwindling ARPUs, operators need to focus their attention on retaining their core customers rather than enganging on price wars to take customers from competitors. Gaining new customers involves significant acquisition costs, while loyal customers provide greater revenue opportunities and act as brand advocates and channels to market to their communities.

    Traditional loyalty schemes reward customers with points, based on how much money they spend; therefore, points can be redeemed for products, services or discounts. However, this “earn & burn” model does not create stickiness through engaging rewards and activities in the long term. Ideally, companies should focus on creating long-term trust and value, avoid a “me too” approach.

    We believe there is a clear gap in the industry with regards to customer retentention schemes, as most platforms do not offer dedicated solutions for loyalty management that address the needs specific of communication service providers (CSPs), relegating this to an afterthought of customer management.

    You can read more about our innovative approach to loyalty, developed specifically for the TMT industry, in our white paper.

    How can we help

    • Loyalty and m-commerce strategy
    • Interactive dashboards/single customer view development
    • User experience (UX design) including gamification
    • Promotions and pricing development
    • Customer segmentation and analysis
    • Loyalty scheme development
    • M-commerce and social media integration

    Enterprise Solutions

    Improving productivity through real-time communication between people and tech

    The most important outcome of a well executed enterprise strategy is improved productivity. Seamless integration is at the core of enterprise solutions, allowing for uninterrupted, real-time communication between team members and customers plus different technologies and platforms.

    The challenge for enterprises is to decide which unified communications and collaboration (UCC) solutions to procure and rollout throughout it’s organisation. Not only must solutions work across multiple device types, they must work seamlessly across geographies, languages, time zones and cultures. Integration between mobile, landline, IP, Wi-Fi, cloud infrastructure, networking solutions and applications required complex architecture and a partnership mentality.

    There is no one size fits all solution here – what works for a single country SME will not be appropriate for a global enterprise subject to regulation and exceptional latency requirements such as in banking Considering the government sector as an example, there may be a requirement for private networks with dedicated service and security levels, combining terrestrial with satellite solution.

    We cannot ignore the huge impact COVID has had on the nature of working – home working and video collaboration has shifted emphasis to an unprecedented level – so it is time to re-think the entire employee experience to maintain welfare, security and productivity
    Our solution all focus on improving productivity and generating more revenue through sales leadership

    How can we help?

    • Unified communications-as-a-service (UCaaS) strategy
    • Fixed-mobile convergence
    • Sales enablement
    • Channel and partner management
    • Private networks architecture

    Convergence

    Innovative propositions for future-proof fixed-mobile connectivity, media and tech convergence

    Traditional telcos need to future-proof their business against the commodisation of their services through convergence and value-added services (VAS). Convergence entails diversifying the ways in which operators engage customers through multiple service offerings and this can happen at several levels, beginning with bundling of services and moving towards full technical convergence.

    Fixed-mobile convergence is driven by operators leveraging their infrastructure capabilities and combining these with partners in adjacent areas. It usually entails discounted bundling of various products, such as mobile and fixed line services plus fixed broadband or pay-TV services. However, operators must advance beyond pure price-plays to gain a sustainable advantage.

    A growing area of convergence is taking place between industries, with telcos forging partnerships with media, banking and health services or outright acquiring established companies. Examples of these include connected health devices and e-wallet solutions – as mobile is the de facto distribution mechanism for many lifestyle services.

    For telcos, value added services need to evolve beyond basic content to avoid being disintermediated by ‘over the top’ (OTT) innovators. For example, areas such as cloud, cybersecurity, IoT, virtual reality, artificial intelligence (AI), fintech, smart homes are areas to consider.

    We develop disruptive convergence strategies and architectures to ensure customer stickiness and sustained service delivery.

    How can we help

    • Solutions architecture
    • Proposition design
    • Pricing strategy
    • Regulatory compliance
    • Product roadmaps
    • Airtime and partnership negotiations