(Starring increased ARPU through integrated, end-to-end Network Policy Control)
In some respects Vox Telecom, a South African communications service provider (CSP) operating a DSL network, is not so different from other operators. Like CSPs globally, Vox faced the following issues:
Diverging revenue and cost: Subscription revenue was not growing at the same annual rate as delivered bytes
Changing subscriber preferences: Subscribers were actively looking for services tailored to their needs and research indicated they were willing to pay for them
Increased competition: Multiple competitors in the market were offering additional choice to subscribers
Also, like other operators, Vox wanted to increase subscriber revenue and achieve competitive differentiation. What did make Vox different was that they already had a policy-based network built to achieve these goals, and they were open to new ideas. Vox’s integrated, end-to-end network policy control solution, from Sandvine, included the following standards-based capabilities:
- Traffic detection
- Policy control (a PCRF, PCMM, Policy Server, depending on network access technology)
- Policy enforcement (e.g., PCEF in 3GPP)
- Network Analytics for insight into subscriber trends and segmentation
- Open APIs for easy integration B/OSS systems
Using Network Analytics, Vox identified gaming enthusiasts as a market segment that would respond positively to a tailored service plan and promotion, as Quality of Experience (QoE) was both understood by, and important to, the gaming population.
Based on real network data, Vox designed a new service tier and promotion tailored to the needs of gamers, which included the following features:
- Reliable detection of gaming traffic
- Prioritization of all gaming protocols to ensure that gaming traffic is given highest priority for maximum quality, even during periods of congestion
- Increased download and upload speeds over standard service plans
- Increased monthly quota, for the period of the promotion
Enter the Main Feature: a ‘Third Party Partnership’…
Once the plan was defined, Vox Telecom formed a partnership with Look & Listen, a leading electronics retailer in South Africa, which provided subscribers a unique code when they purchased the Call of Duty video game. Subscribers could then login to their self-service portal, enter their code, and their service plan would automatically be upgraded to a trial of the new gaming-focused service plan.
Vox utilized Sandvine’s open APIs to integrate their B/OSS systems so that when a subscriber entered the promotional code, the subscriber was automatically provisioned to the gaming-specific plan and promotion.
After the 30-day promotion period was complete, subscribers were offered an option to upgrade to the gaming-focused service plan or purchase additional blocks of quota. The promotion was a success, converting a significant number of free trials to monthly subscribers of the gaming plan.
With multitudes of gamers everywhere in the world, it’s hard to imagine a network where this kind of plan couldn’t have similar results.
Operators globally are exploring other innovative ideas for partnering with third parties to increase ARPU, including:
• Loyalty points providers: Subscribers redeem their travel or grocery loyalty points to gain additional quota or temporary speed increases to their service plans
• Online retailers: If subscribers make a purchase, they are offered zero-rated unrestricted access for a given time period or quota amount to selected online retailers’ websites
• Advertising networks: When subscribers’ monthly quota is reached, they are given the option to view video advertisements to gain additional quota