Quality of Service and Service Assurance Equally Important When Buying Network Access
One of the areas Operators are spending resources on analysing is Customer Experience (CX) based in Quality of Experience (QoE) levels for their services. It is often taken for granted that, as an Operator owns the radio access, backhaul and core networks it should and must be able to ensure a superior Quality of Service (QoS) and user experience.
However, there are a number of scenarios where the service provider is not actually in charge of the whole network but is in reality renting parts of it.
These 5 scenarios are:
- National Roaming – where an Operator might have a license for one type of license spectrum, such as 4G and needs to partner with another carrier who owns and supports 2G and 3G.
- MVNOs – by definition few Mobile Virtual Network Operators have a radio access network, with some varying levels of their own in-house capabilities.
- Inbound Roamers – mobile users from other parts of the world, and thus subscribers of foreign Operators, who are visiting your country on a temporary basis.
- Outbound Roamers – subscribers of national Operators who are travelling abroad and therefore using the services of carriers in another country.
- Internet of Things (IoT) / Machine-to-Machine (M2M) – this can be any combination of the above scenarios where an Operator is providing SIM cards for “things” such as devices or machines to connect to the network and provide meaningful data. Furthermore, machines do not provide “user experience” feedback, therefore new methods to measure and ensure quality are required.
For example, in scenarios 1 and 2, you would expect there to be clear SLA’s in place between the collaborating Operators. However, the amount of data the Visiting Operator has at its disposal to monitor the service provided by the host Operator is very limited or even non-existent. Normally, the Operator buying network access can only use call centres or complaints as an indicator, which is inadequate. It is therefore difficult to correlate any real-time problems or customer experience issues with problems occurred in the host network. This is particularly critical for those operators wanting to service the B2B market.
In the Scenario 5, where companies that base their business processes, sometimes critical ones, on M2M or IoT applications, aspects like the quality of the connectivity provided or other network data become key to their own service assurance.
However, the need to independently verify the quality of service applies to a larger or smaller extent in all the examples set out above.
At BlueTC we have come up with a cost effective way for anyone to be able to monitor the QoS from a host Operator, as the basis to improve Customer Experience. This solution includes having a reference module, which emulates services that can then be correlated with feedback on the other side of the network, in order to understand how the host network is actually handling these services. More importantly, this is all non-intrusive and does not need the involvement or agreement of the host Operator. Thus, this is a solution that could potentially be of interest to Operators and MVNOs alike, as well as to a wide range of vertical customers in the M2M/IoT sphere.