Enabling flexible Innovation
The cloud can offer so much more to operators when used to improve service innovation. The test network is an expensive, scarce resource -- it's a bottleneck and a barrier that slows the rate of innovation, and blocks unproven ideas completely. But a virtualised service layer opens up a new model -- it provides the opportunity for multiple teams of developers to experiment with multiple new ideas in parallel. Through virtualisation, each team can spin-up their own inexpensive test bed when they need it, and save cost by decommissioning it when they don't.
This lends itself to operators undertaking a DevOps approach: an innovation model where development and operational deployment are closely linked. It encourages operators to innovate at the same pace as internet players. Creating a unique VoLTE offering, therefore, requires a fearless desire to compete -- not on out-dated telecom terms, but on the fast-paced, customer-centric terms of modern service providers. That means providing VoLTE with a range of innovative service functionalities that are completely unique to the operators' brand.
The innovative and competitive benefits for the operator are clear -- in addition to reducing time and cost usually spent on traditional deployment, virtualisation of the service-layer significantly and positively impacts communication service innovation, as well as competitive differentiation.
Virtualisation as the path to differentiation
Today's mobile phone subscribers are always on the look-out for the latest, unique 'must-have' service, and have become accustomed to turning to OTT and internet players to deliver this. In India, competition from OTT players threatens to reduce mobile voice revenues by up to a half, according to industry body COAI. Mobile operators have for too long been providing the same old, undifferentiated voice services, and they're subsequently losing subscribers and revenue to those that are more inventive.
VoLTE offers a means for operators to provide a superior voice service that can show subscribers that there is value in signing up to their networks. However, traditional, closed VoLTE solutions will not provide the required innovative capabilities that operators need to stand out from the crowd. Instead, they must be looking to utilise open, virtualised VoLTE solutions that provide them with the tools they need to innovate faster and create a differentiated offering. If they can achieve this, operators can increase subscriber numbers and boost their revenues. This model is already being adopted by select operators and others need to follow suit or risk being left behind.
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