Vodafone: How to Tackle the Challenges of Business in Emerging Markets
When it comes to global economics, uncertainty is about the only certainty businesses can prepare for. From future shocks to the Eurozone, to shifts in global economic power or unexpected environmental events, multi-nationals need to be ready to explore new markets and scale-up or adjust operations at any given time.
With European economies on the slow road to recovery, businesses are looking to emerging countries the east and south for new opportunities.
If businesses are going to fully realise the potential of these markets, however, they need reliable fixed, mobile and mobility capabilities to empower their people with information and data, improve their operations and deliver the best possible customer experience. Establishing this requisite communications infrastructure can be easier said than done in markets where connected technologies are at different stages of maturity.
Navigating complex infrastructure landscapes
Emerging markets come with their own unique challenges. Take Africa. The continent is made up of more than 50 countries, each with distinct regulatory environments, historical backgrounds and distinct language, political and cultural differences. The technological infrastructure is just as diverse.
Many African markets, are seen as being challenged in terms of traditional terrestrial communications – according to 2014 Frost & Sullivan research fixed-line communication services only hold a 3.6 percent share of Africa's total telecoms market. But governments are looking to cross this infrastructure divide through mobile and fibre-optic broadband solutions, while sub-sea fibre optic cables are beginning to supply super-fast broadband to regions such as Kenya, giving rise to the region’s mobile middle class.
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Across the continent as a whole, coverage is an issue in some of Africa’s less technologically developed markets. As such, it is important for businesses to balance technological infrastructure with potential intermittent power supplies to mitigate network service delivery to customers. Multi-national organisations looking to realise their expansion ambitions need to therefore know how to overcome these infrastructure challenges.
Steps for establishing consistent communications
1. Consolidate communications
Entering new markets can easily lead to a tangled web of suppliers, contracts, billing and support, as fixed line, fixed data mobile voice, mobile data and broadband connectivity are established. And 67 percent of multinationals agree that having multiple platforms, networks and suppliers can make it hard for businesses to provide effective communications. This becomes even more difficult to manage in markets where regulations, languages and cultures are diverse. Consolidating communications into one total communications services supplier under one contract and with one master service agreement can help to alleviate the pain of country-by-country negotiation. This provides businesses with a consistent experience and better control of communications costs and security.
2. Converge fixed and mobile
When moving into more technically advanced markets with readily available broadband connectivity, fixed-mobile convergence (FMC) provides businesses with an opportunity to simplify communications and become more responsive. FMC works by connecting fixed and wireless networks with a single number and voicemail and simple transfers between desk, fixed or mobile devices. This removes the physical constraints of a landline and means savings, convenience and mobility, not to mention improved productivity for the business.
3. Consider alternatives
In developed markets most communications needs can be met with optical fibre connections or standard 3G and 4G networks. But in developing markets, where infrastructure is lacking and fibre optic connectivity is still in its infancy, satellite can be used as a back-up or temporary fix to support critical infrastructure and services. Although satellite has been used for decades it is still often the best technology for connecting the most remote or unconnected parts of the globe, both simply and quickly.
Seizing the window of opportunity
It’s hard to say for certain what the global economy will look like twenty years from now. Western economies could make a full recovery. Or there could be a global economic power shift that sees the likes of China and India become the most powerful economies in the world.
Businesses will need to be ready to adapt to unforeseen markets conditions and need confidence in their ability to establish reliable communications regardless of the market they are operating in. The simplest way to achieve this is to identify a total communications service provider that can negotiate and navigate the regulatory and technological complexities for them. This empowers the business to focus on core competencies, explore revenue opportunities and achieve its ambitions.
By Jan Geldmacher, CEO, Vodafone Global Enterprise
NetNumber: Time for a cloud-native transformation
NetNumber is accelerating the transition in the telecom industry to 5G as it starts a shift to cloud-native architecture to address the fast-paced demands of global subscribers and businesses.
NetNumber is offering the industry’s first cloud-native platform designed to ensure InterGENerational™ network performance addresses both the legacy and next-generation requirements of telecom networks.
“NetNumber has developed the industry’s most robust cloud-native, InterGENerational platform that addresses both the legacy and 5G requirements of telcos,” said Matt Rosenberg, Chief Revenue Officer of NetNumber.
The platform provides vertical and horizontal scale-out with low latency, coupled with a suite of data replication capabilities, which provide flexible architectural options that can evolve with the changing network over time.
“Cloud-based solutions from other vendors tend to be limited in terms of supporting particular network generations or protocols. We’ve created our latest platform TITAN.IUM to allow customers to take any generation of applications, any generation of legacy services and protocols and move them into the new world of cloud-native architecture,” said Rosenberg.
“This is a really important part for a carrier to harmonise their network, bring data services together, bring legacy with new together in order to make a more effective and efficient network, as well as reduce their cost as they scale forward,” he said.
Established in 1999, NetNumber has fostered a strong team environment that leverages the industry’s best skills to offer software solutions tailored for carriers of all dimensions. Based outside of Boston and with presence in over 20 countries, the company delivers a range of products that address all generations (2G, 3G, 4G, 5G) of network functions in the core network, deep rooted security products and services, STIR/ SHAKEN and set of options around data services in more than 90 countries.
Steeped in experience in building telecom solutions, software, protocol stacks, and integration of third party tools, the company’s development organisation has proven to supply to the industry with the most reliable and flexible solutions on the market.
“At NetNumber, we focus on our core competencies – we are dedicated to providing industry expertise in signaling, routing, security, subscriber management and data services. We provide customers a strong ROI through platform-based solutions that reduce Capex and Opex in the long-term,” commented Rosenberg.
Five reasons why customers choose NetNumber:
- Expertise - NetNumber has experts with deep knowledge in signaling/routing, security, and subscriber database management.
- Integration - An industry-first platform brings together domain services, applications, security, and global data services.
- Scale - NetNumber has the ability to seamlessly increase network efficiency using vertical and horizontal scaling.
- Speed - World-class solutions have the power to help companies create new service offerings and accelerate time to ROI.
- Savings - Customers enjoy significant savings in capex and opex, flexible deployment models, and investment protection.
NetNumber and Virgin Mobile MEA
“We're very proud of our partnership with Virgin Mobile MEA as they've taken the concept of the InterGENerational platform into their regional network strategy,” commented Rosenberg. “That’s accelerated how they develop exceptional services across the Middle East and Africa region.
“We work with them hand-in-hand to deliver multiple applications onto our platform which has enabled them to provide exceptional, advanced and innovative services to their customers across the Middle East, who demand high quality services.
“What they've really taken advantage of is scale. What I mean by that is they are putting multiple generations of applications and services onto the same platform and distributing that data across their network. That has resulted in an advantageous position of time to market and operational savings.
“Rather than having different applications for many different vendors that cause operational chaos, they've been able to consolidate that and reduce their operating costs by having everything on one common architecture. We’ve had a long-term relationship with Virgin Mobile in Saudi Arabia, and recently signed an agreement with Virgin Mobile in Kuwait.”
Rosenberg says that with these solutions, Virgin Mobile MEA can take advantage of getting to the market much quicker and faster—which is what today’s discerning customer demands.