Rajesh Sharma, President, Global Sales and Customer operations, Astellia

Why is Customer Experience Management (CEM) in the spotlight right now?

We are seeing the convergence of 5 key trends – exponential growth in wireless broadband usage, VoIP, video, social networking and smartphones/tablets. Mobile services are becoming a fundamental part of improving the quality of daily living and interaction between people. As a result, customers are expecting a multitude of high quality services from mobile operators anytime, anywhere and on any device. CEM is all about handling the gap between these growing end-users expectations and mobile network infrastructure as well as handset capabilities.

What is the most important aspect of the customer experience?

Customer’s quality experience is intimately linked to mobile data service experience, which is mainly driven by two key performance indicators: network throughput speed and continuity of data services when moving from one cell to another. Therefore data services’ experience is directly linked to network capacity and mobile handset performance. Hence, in order to provide the best customer experience, mobile operators need to continuously monitor and improve the dependencies between network and handset performance.

What are the major trends you are seeing in CEM?

We are moving into the post PC era where more and more subscribers are using smartphones/tablets connected to wireless broadband networks. For CTOs, it is therefore becoming increasingly important to have a 360° visibility of network efficiency, handset performance and subscriber behaviour and of how these three domains interact and correlate with each other. As a result, monitoring and troubleshooting solutions which can provide this 360° cross-dimensional visibility is of utmost importance to deliver the best possible customer experience.

How should operators address these

three areas?

Let me illustrate this with a few concrete The first important point is to measure service quality in the same way as it is perceived by end-users. This is only possible with a probe based monitoring solution since OMC counters are system-focused. They are capable of identifying problems but not the cause. Astellia provides an end-to-end probe-based monitoring and troubleshooting solution to address CEM issues of mobile operators.

One of our customers, a major Asian mobile operator with 100M+ subscribers, worked with us to resolve capacity constraints in certain RNCs. A growing number of subscribers were complaining about slow web browsing but the operator was unable to identify and diagnose the problem with its OMC counters. With the Astellia solution we were not only able to measure the poor end-user experience but also identify root cause of the lower throughput speeds. The analysis improved data throughput by as much as 30%. This allowed the operator to make better use of radio capacity without making additional capex investment.

Astellia’s solution was used to troubleshoot the network when a mobile operator was experiencing 10.000 dropped calls a day in a certain area. Our recommendations to reconfigure the SCCP parameters led to zero dropped voice calls. However, the operator’s equipment vendor had suggested adding more capacity by buying extra equipment. So by reconfiguring and fine-tuning network elements additional investments were forestalled and customers’ quality experience increased since they weren’t suffering from dropped calls anymore.

The second crucial asset is to understand how mobile devices behave and interact with the network.

A European mobile operator with 10m+ subscribers registered about 5,000 different handset models on their 2G, 2.5G and 3G networks. So the level of complexity is phenomenal. Astellia helped the operator to reduce capex investments in its 2.5G network by 70% by analysing data collected from SGSN for both 2.5G and 3G networks as well as the behaviour of certain handsets. Based on the collected data, benchmark database and expert analysis, Astellia helped the operator fine tune handset and network settings to allow most of the data traffic to migrate from 2.5G onto 3G networks, hereby increasing utilisation of 3G network capacity and reducing capex investment in its 2.5G network.

This third example illustrates the importance of understanding usage patterns and its impact on the network and on user experience.

An important South-American operator received a high number of customer complaints unable to access data services in a high trafficking business district. Astellia’s experts were able to easily localize congested hot spots, identify heavy data users and analyze data usage.

How can Astellia help an operator bring added value to its CEM strategy?

More than 180 mobile operators worldwide are using Astellia’s solutions and services to provide the best customer experience to their subscribers. Astellia delivers real business value through a team of 50 dedicated CEM experts based at our Global Knowledge Centre in France where they share best industry practices. Over the past few years, we have completed more than 4,000 audits at 100+ mobile operators globally. This has allowed us to continuously update our QoS and QoE benchmark database consisting of more than 600 KPIs, one of the most comprehensive ones in the mobile industry. Therefore, we are able to provide operators with specific benchmark KPI values so that they can evaluate how they compare to other operators.

Astellia can provide operators with regular QoE reports for each of its customers. By using these reports, mobile operators can understand the levels of service they are providing to their subscribers.

In addition, Astellia helps some of the mobile operators to set concrete KPI targets for Services Level Agreements to allow operators to evaluate their equipment suppliers’ performance in an objective, unbiased way.

Customer Experience Management is becoming fundamental for mobile operators to differentiate themselves and to succeed. Therefore, mobile operators need probe-based monitoring solutions which can detect, analyse, correlate, report and troubleshoot issues which are linked to network and handset performance. Mobile operators not only need monitoring solutions, but also need tight relationships with teams of experts who can deliver value-added customised services. Astellia has a track record on both fronts: proven technology and dedicated team of experts addressing CEM needs of 180 mobile operators globally.

Post your comment

@telecoms