Controlling RF Capital Expenditures
The advent of low cost operators and MVNOs in the past few years has put enormous pressure on Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) to reassess their conventional capital expenditure strategies to provide enhanced network quality and retain constantly eroding margins for the best possible ROI.
MNOs have reacted to this trend by adjusting their offer mix to maintain average revenue per user (ARPU) levels and their marketing efforts to optimize their cost basis. It has become all the more important now for MNOs to consider the cost optimization opportunities relating to daily “build and run” activities. These include re-strategizing of network build and maintenance process by providing consistent and continuous NOC support to field operations at a fixed price that can be accurately forecast for the budget. Many issues can hinder this cost management ranging from system to process based barriers.
One of the major challenges that MNOs face is to maintain and control these costs during ramp up and down of network activities in different markets due to local constraints. The conventional method of altering required staff to support these activities is never as dynamic as the ever changing network requirements and often this cost is overlooked due to busy schedules of daily maintenance activities. Also, operation teams do not always have this data available to act in a cost conscious manner.
The above challenges of daily operational cost management can be solved by outsourcing these daily build and maintenance activities to suppliers who can provide required support to the network. The major prerequisites are outlined as follows:
Experience & Expertise
Experience & expertise of a supplier to provide the required support is primary requisite as it has direct impact on the perception of network quality & reliability by MNOs customers. It is essential that the supplier providing the services has required experience and expertise on the various OEM platforms to provide adequate support and meet a mature network requirements. The engineering staff should be properly trained and experienced in handling frequent calls, run required commands on OSS, analyze the outcomes and accurately convey the information to field operations. As the engineers will work on a live system it becomes important that they are properly trained on the system to not cause any network outages. The supplier needs to have a streamlined process of supporting and reporting the network requirements. The major activities include:
Round the clock support is key requirement which ensures that planned work is completed on required schedule. With support being managed by suppliers the MNOs ensure that they do not have to directly control the costs associated with running a full time support center. Usually these costs are not accounted for by the MNOs operations team and with fixed hiring of resources the MNOs have to bear these costs of support which is not always required. Suppliers with dedicated services and multiple markets are better able to manage these costs and bring down the overall cost for MNOs. Suppliers with multiple NOC locations in and abroad will ensure that the needed support is available 24/7.
Suppliers are able to provide the support with fixed cost per site model to support all above activities as and when any site requires. It’s a model that works with a certain site volume in any given market. Once MNOs are in a position to commit to a certain volume suppliers are able to provide a fixed cost per site structure that helps MNOs accurately plan and forecast their capital expenditure. This help the operations teams and MNOs to plan the future activities with cost in sight and allocate the capital as required in the network. This model ensures costs savings from 15 – 30% depending on site volume in a particular market.
Overall, MNOs need to identify and realize the operational saving measures on an ongoing basis, year on year.
TTS Wireless provides these services through its Performance Assurance Group (PAG) for daily maintenance and new carrier integration and optimization services through its multiple network operation and delivery centers in the US, Europe, and central Asia with a fixed cost per site model. We operate a 24/7 NOC and continually train our engineers on multiple OEM platforms, processes, and communication skills to ensure our departments have know-how of delivering the latest technologies and exceed client expectations.