IoT Roaming – One for All, and All for One Agreement

BCE IoT IDA One Agreement

September 28, 2023

Dimitris Zoulis, COSMOTE’s Project Manager for Roaming Services and International Synergies, talks to Daniella Torres about how VoLTE, IoT, and 5G will impact the telecoms industry.

Operators are turning IoT roaming into a profitable business. According to Kaleido Intelligence, targeting low-bandwidth IoT connections in permanent roaming with new commercial models can bring 4 times more than wholesale revenues currently billed by operators in 2027.

How Personalization is Transforming Roaming

A ‘one-size-fits-all’ type of agreement is old-fashioned. Operators are doing personalized agreements per enterprise verticals, such as logistics, healthcare, industrial, and automotive. Consequently, this will ratchet up the complexity significantly. In the roaming world, it means that an average operator will go from managing 300-400 relationships with three telecom services (voice, data, SMS) to thousands of agreements. Automation, simplification, and flexibility are required to scale up business and ensure operators will not be swallowed up by the complexity. BCE will solve some of these issues with flexible charging and aggregation options. But what happens with operators that still use TAP to settle IoT roaming transactions?

The roaming industry is facing the risk of having multiple billing systems for the same purpose – in some cases, even Excel is still used. This will be the case for some time as operators migrate to more efficient processes. To mitigate the complexity of multiple billing systems with dispersed information, agreement management applications need to support all types of commercial agreements, TAP, BCE, and IOT discounts (inter-operator tariff) independent from the underlying technology. This can only be achieved with a significant focus on UX and horizontal integration via open APIs.

There must be a trade-off between all the available options, from rigid TAP and IOT charging models like commitments and balance/unbalance to flexible rating via BCE. The process starts with understanding the most urgent market requirements to create a commercial front-end that enables roaming managers to execute their strategy effectively. It also includes decoupling other billing functions such as forecasting, simulation, budgeting, steering, and settlement, into modules to address all these agreement types equally.

Segment management to address the consumer, IoT, and enterprise market requirements must be a cross-application function to ensure consistency and avoid duplications. Finally, unified business analytics provides a solid foundation for the business to grow, as it allows better tracking capabilities and insights, making it easier, for instance, to deploy new use cases across usage and signaling. With this, wholesale teams can unify all business processes to improve their efficiency in all areas.

The Integrated Approach

TOMIA’s approach is focused on enhancing our clearing services to enable more automation, enabling business, operational, and finance users to effectively manage their wholesale agreements. We plan to continue investing in our One Agreement concept, an integrated deal management application for all types of roaming agreements. Although BCE is the go-to choice for billing, operators expect exceptional usability and more automation, from negotiation to settlement. One Agreement will address these needs and will focus on unified analytics encompassing all settlement flows. The roaming industry is very reporting-oriented, and there will continue to be a strong reliance on analytics for tracking deal performance, financial accruing, budgeting, and revenue assurance control.

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