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Elitecore Technologies has over 16 years of experience in delivering next generation BSS, packet core and carrier WiFi solutions having over 175 network deployments with 59 service providers worldwide. The company proudly serves 13 of the top 30 global telecom operators. In the following interview, Vaibhav Mehta, Sr. VP - New Business Development, Elitecore Technologies, caught up with Telecom Review to discuss Elitecore's unique capabilities to monetize IP networks, pain points facing operators, the struggle operators face to increase ARPU in the data market and Elitecore's future focus points.

Can you discuss Elitecore's unique capabilities to monetize all IP networks ranging from 3G/LTE, cable broadband and WiFi?
Elitecore gives service providers a significant data monetization advantage through its network agnostic platform, which supports all IP networks: 4G/LTE, WiFi and fixed broadband. The platform can be seamlessly integrated into multi-vendor, multiple IT scenarios with various mobile core components resulting in reduced time-to-market for new offerings, enabling operators to monetize their next generation services more effectively and faster than the competition.

Elitecore's end-to-end pre-integrated platform can be deployed on-premise or on-cloud which comprises of convergent billing, real-time policy and charging, product catalogue, CRM, 3GPPAAA, DSC, captive portal, convergent mediation, real-time analytics, WiFi service management platform, advertisement server, mobile app and web self-care.

What are the main pain points operators are facing today, and what business cases does Elitecore Technologies offer to assist with these pain points?
Operators are under pressure to quickly launch next generation services to maintain high customer experience, improve ARPU, increase subscriber base and still keep costs low. Elitecore's end-to-end, modular solutions for all IP networks help operators for faster rollout of multiple services, delivering innovative business cases such as shared wallet, sponsored data, tiered FUP, location-based advertisement and services, real-time contextual offers, pay-per-use, WiFi offload, WiFi network discovery, push notifications, bundled LTE + Wi-Fi, VoLTE, VoWiFi, OTT-based charging, venue WiFi, bill-shock prevention, turbo-boost and time/device based plans.

Moreover, the pre-integrated stack reduces the time for installation, commissioning and SIT, resulting in significant time saving in all deployments; and hence, faster time to market. It also ensures single license and a common source for support and maintenance. A single centralized database for all user information helps in reducing the storage cost. Self care mobile apps help users to sign-up for operator's plans faster and manage their user cycle more effectively.

What other personalized services does Elitecore provide for subscribers?
Elitecore helps operators to offer personalized services through configurable product and price plans based on operator's requirements and market needs. Elitecore also helps by the use of analytics to carry out targeted campaigns based on user buying behavior and demographics. Elitecore's mobile self-care and captive portal provides the subscriber with the flexibility of subscribing to services anytime, anywhere on the move.

The same platform is also used to send right offers at the right time on which the users can act upon in real time. Lastly, our location based services are offered on subscribers' mobiles which are based on a device's geographical location. It can be used to provide information on entertainment, basic services, security, or can also be used to carry out ad campaigns.

How does Elitecore help create partnership opportunities with OTTs?
In spite of heavy investment in network infrastructure and other support services, telcos are not able to leverage on their existing network. On the other hand, OTT players are leveraging on operator networks for providing content and services to the end users free of cost and creating all kinds of problems for CSPs who are facing a decline in their voice, SMS traffic revenues and ARPU.

Elitecore offers a carrier-grade platform that supports diverse partnership models with various OTT partners like ecosystem players, VoIP and messaging players, content streaming players and contextual players. The platform supports multi-party partnerships based on the content, co-promotion activities, revenue sharing based on a subscription or data usage, and OTT specific plans. In-built multi-currency support eases out the discrepancies of financial agreements between the parties. Integral customizable business critical reports and MIS reports help the operator and the OTT partner in revenue analysis.

Can you explain why operators are struggling to increase ARPU in the data market?
Operators are struggling to increase ARPU due to the following reasons: the rise of OTT players like WhatsApp, Facebook and Skype who use the network and its customers, offering voice and messaging services at a fraction of the cost. Operators are forced to reduce their prices in order to maintain their market position and retain customers. Another issue is the relatively low disposable income of subscribers from rural areas, increased customer support costs, and regulator's policies and tariff controls.

Many subscribers have multiple SIMs which usually result into lower ARPU since spending on second and subsequent connections is likely to be lower than on the primary connection. Lower ARPU discourages the operators to innovate and launch new offers and services. Subscribers are left with only basic services. The customer experience index would also be low. Customer retention would also be difficult.

What is Elitecore Technologies focusing on for the future?
Smart cities & IoT: Cities across the globe are harnessing the power of technology to offer seamless connectivity, real-time information with IoT and user authentication. Smart cities represent the greatest opportunities for CSPs to establish their context in the evolving market as a technology provider offer platforms which in large part are driven by the Internet of thing (IoT), which is simultaneously creating and being enabled by advances in cloud technology, security, mobile connectivity and M2M.

MVNO: The number of mobile virtual network operators (MVNO) is on the rise, as they make better business sense. MVNOs are essentially reselling voice and data services of a larger operator. Several reasons why MNOs allow such MVNOs to leverage their network: to target and attack a specific target/niche segment, generate economies of scale for better network utilization, increase revenue, service differentiation, government policies that hinder flexibility and growth, acquire new customers and increase market share in mature markets.

Monetization of digital services: Most of the CSPs are considering digital transformation as they step ahead and it requires them to build a new customer digital experience which is smart, adaptive, lean and ensures faster time-to-market. The demands of the digital marketplace require new capabilities, and service providers need to create a blueprint for launching new digital services such as OTT video, mobile entertainment, digital payments IoT-enabled offerings like smart homes and connected vehicles, thus enabling new monetization opportunities.

WiFi calling & VoLTE is expected to gain grounds: Next generation WiFi calling with VoWiFi and voice over LTE (VoLTE) pre-integrated in the smartphone dialler, will offer a completely different experience to its users with better indoor coverage and seamless call transfer support between WiFi and LTE. With these advantages, it is set to become the de-facto standard very soon.

Data analytics is a key driver for telcos: Global mobile data traffic is expected to increase tenfold by 2019, with more connected devices and apps. Operators do not have such deep pockets to cater to this level of traffic and subscriber personalization. This is where analytics as a tool helps in unlocking the real-time intelligence from operator's networks and equip them with the right information to rollout more personalized plans at the right time, resulting in high business value.

Virtualized networks expected to accelerate impetus: Cloud-based solutions and NFV are becoming the new norm in the telecom industry. It offers operators the agility and speed to expand horizontally and vertically to quickly rollout new monetization and personalization use cases needed to innovate in next generation data services.

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