Why One Size won’t fit all in Global Telecoms


It’s easy to assume, because we operate in a global market, that one size will fit all. We have only to offer one solution. One way of doing things. Telecoms is telecoms. Test and measurement does what it says on the tin. But what if, rather than thinking about what we prefer to supply i.e. what will make us the most money, we look instead at what each region wants and needs?

If we all wanted the same things life would be dull indeed. It’s the same in telecoms. We can’t simply throw out one solution and expect operators to buy that without question. Network operators are individual entities. What works for one won’t necessarily work for another.

Take that one step further and view it on a regional basis. While some work under a tightly controlled independent regulatory system – like the UK / EU – others find themselves having to focus more on the priorities of the government of the country in which they are operating. What do these governments demand? Is it higher revenues so they can increase taxation? Or is it tackling fraud because of the link to organised crime.

It gets further complicated when an international operator finds themselves in different regions. One size certainly doesn’t fit all then. So how do we, as vendors, ensure they get what they need to satisfy the demands they face?

For the commercial models it is very clear that parts of the Middle East, Africa & Asia are against managed services and prefer to run the systems with guidance under a technical installation model. The expectation is we supply the equipment and when they discover issues, they control and manage the findings. If they want additional help in fixing the problem then they will ask – but generally not before they have tried to solve it themselves.

In regions, like the UK and Europe, stricter regulatory compliance often means the network operators are happy for a third party to manage their services. In that way they don’t have the hassle or worry about ensuring they are compliant. They very much have one eye on the regulators and no-one wants to fall foul of them. Employing a trusted, credible and reliable third party with a 100 per cent accurate test and measurement system is the safest option.

We, at Roscom, are providers of both install and managed services so the regional differences have come as no surprise to us. Our UK engineers build and design the hardware and software we install so we are able to show operators exactly how they can get the best out of them. We sit with the operators and run the installations like a managed service for the first month. We set up the preferences and configure the system to suit. Once the operators are confident they can fly solo, we take a step back but with the offer of technical support in the future should they need it.

It is this, build/operate/transfer system which tends to be the first choice in the Middle East, Africa & Asia. It also works for the tier two and three telecoms who usually have no higher than eight to ten million subscribers. For this group it is more about cost.

The problem with the tier two and tier three telecom operators is they can find themselves missing out on the useful tools we provide as a managed service. However, as vendors, we need to understand both the cultural preferences and the operators’ budgets when it comes to the smaller telecoms and not try to push what we want them to buy.

But that doesn’t mean we should turn our backs on regions where the preference is for an installation only either through cultural or financial choice. Sharing our expertise and innovation is what we, at Roscom, pride ourselves on providing. There is no reason why operators can’t come back and add on or convert to a managed service in the future. One size doesn’t fit all and in this global market place there is plenty of value in choice.

Mandy Blackburn, Operations Director at Roscom.