Traditionally, network planning and optimisation software has been used to plan and add the right capacity, in order to improve network efficiency and provide the best customer experience. Currently, operators are enhancing their performance as it is key to be successful in the region.

Paul Black, director of telecoms and media at IDC Middle East, Turkey and Africa
Rami Boctor, CTO at Vodafone Qatar
Alaa Hadi, senior sales manager, MEA and CIS at Tektronix Communications
Teemu Salmi, VP and head of operations at Ericsson, region Middle East

CommsMEA: How are operators working with vendors to improve their network performance?

Black: Currently operators are looking to develop their data analytics capabilities to improve their network performance. Some of their requirements from vendors are geo location based traffic and performance analysis. Performance analysis includes number of customers, KPIs, drop call rate, and particularly location coverage. Operators are looking for tools that provide more insights from the measurements gathered from the network such as geo coding of the performance issues and also type of handsets that experience the most problems, so that operators can provide better customer experience. Overall, operators want to align technical performance KPIs to the overall customer experience indicators and business objectives.

CommsMEA: Users are also demanding ubiquity when enjoying the operators’ services. How are operators enhancing their networks to offer the content customers want anytime and anywhere?

Black: Operators have started to build their content platforms through partnerships with global vendors.

Cloud based delivery of content to multiscreen is becoming a telco industry standard with the growing smart devices penetration and migration to fixed and mobile next-generation networks to ensure seamless content delivery.

Boctor: Service providers are integrating services into the mobile phones applications portfolio. With bigger and stronger partner roaming networks internationally, these services are available to the subscribers at the touch of their fingerprints anywhere they go.

Salmi: Telcos have to participate in the ICT transformation by developing and altering the architecture of their various platforms. This may entail transitioning from copper cables to microwave solutions; introducing LTE services designed to meet their respective countries’ growing demands; and deploying small cells into urban sites to improve their network offerings. The point is, operators will have to rely on various analytics to not just preempt users’ expectations but also meet them. Customers expect a ubiquitous experience across different platforms and devices both indoors and out.

Operators have to address broadband concerns and manage limitations to ensure that their offerings are completely aligned with user expectations and a robust omnichannel experience can be achieved.

Hegazi: Operators in the region realise that ubiquity is an important aspect that consumers and customers are looking for. They are investing in convergence on the network level and on the service level to make this happen. We can see that operators see the economic and cost benefit and service benefit to converge the network into a single multi-service network.

In various GCC countries, they have moved in this direction to converge the access, the backhaul, and aggregation for both, fixed and mobile.

Seamless MPLS is becoming the way forward to tie all the network layers from aggregation to core over one transport technology. IP Multimedia subsystem is becoming the common session control layer to provide service convergence to setup, control, and manage sessions.