Red+Blue = Purple

The roadmap to Fixed-Mobile Convergence

Call To Colours — Dec 2016 by Nuno Periquito

Mixing colours has as much of additive as of discovery. The possibilities are endless and it’s a never ending process to the right combination.

The result is neither better nor worse than the starting point, it’s different, encapsulating new possibilities and opportunities.

When CSPs decide to embark on a Fixed-Mobile Convergence (FMC) project, the journey results in the consolidation of the mobile and fixed stack and enables the creation of a new one, as a result. Like in colour mixing, the end result will be something different, which will enable the CSP to expand its offer and provider customers with a quad-play service.

FMC enables CSPs to offer customers a unified communication experience by combining the convenience of the wireless world with the high quality and speed of fixed communications. However, it is a completely new business, requiring a completely different stance.

The motivation to embark on an FMC project varies significantly based on the CSPs’ core business. The decline of more traditional services such as voice, the need to fight commoditization and the emergence of OTT (Over-The-Top) players has led service providers to look into offering new enhanced voice, data, and fixed-mobile convergent services.

The advantages of delivering convergent offers, clearly offsets the cost of maintaining a siloed legacy IT architecture. It has an impact on both the revenue stream and cost reduction, by improving:

  • Time to Market
  • Customer Satisfaction
  • Lower TCO

Embracing a transformation project and aiming at becoming a convergent player is about satisfying customers’ needs. Depending on the target group, consumer or enterprise, the use cases are quite different.

For consumers, it can include, watching a TV show on a tablet, while in the car, or having a family account to control all services and being able to buy content and data using a single platform. For this group, it is about worry-free usage, transparency, a single point of contact and one bill.

For enterprises, the benefits are significant and can result in productivity gains, cost reduction and flexibility. Some of the most common use cases include the ability to transfer a call to any device, routing to the best available resource and transforming the phone into a personal secretary that won’t bring you coffee in the morning.

FMC represents an opportunity for CSPs to strengthen the relationship with both consumers and enterprises. To reprise its role as a value-added partner by purveying a new digital consumption, simplifying offer complexity, delivering more value, flexibility and answering to the new business dynamics on connectivity: always on, using any device, from any location.

The approach to any transformation project is highly influenced by the CSP’s context, objectives, budget and many other variables. When talking about an FMC project, the same principles apply.

Invariably, CSPs have a complex IT landscape with hundreds of legacy systems supporting thousands of products and business rules. This scenario is the result of years of fast growth and fierce competition. However, it is now too inflexible to accommodate the capabilities required to support a truly convergent offer. A typical example is the order management of a mobile operator that processes orders in seconds and now has to cope with fixed-line orders that may take up to 2 weeks and undergo changes in the meanwhile.

New systems will need to be setup, existing systems will need to be changed or decommissioned. Changing the CSPs’ IT landscape requires careful planning.

The extent to which CSPs embrace FMC varies and may include a full blown and complete transformation to a lighter approach and shifting key applications. CSPs have different options to become convergent players, each carrying its risks and opportunities.

You will get different kinds of Purple by mixing Red and Blue, it depends on the quantities, types of paints and other important variables but the result will always be something new, something that can´t be undone. Purple is more than the simple mixing of Red and Blue the same way a convergent CSPs is much more than the joint capabilities of the previous fixed and mobile operations.

Customers crave for simplicity but, in order to attain it, CSPs must also simplify their operations from complex IT ecosystems, with overlap systems and solutions which aren’t customer centric.

When Monet was painting the Water Lilies series he wasn’t looking for any type of Purple but the one that he saw in the Valley of the Creuse, the same way CSPs thrive for convergent not as the end game but as a way to improve the customer experience by providing a new value proposition leveraged on connectivity, content and service.

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