Welcome!

Machine Learning Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Corey Roth

Blog Feed Post

From Coverage to MVNO Service Enabler – A Tale of Small Cell Evolution (and Loyalty Points too)

Breaking the 1 Million barrier

 

A big hand has to go to the mobile operator Sprint, who announced last month (link) that their femtocell deployments (principally for residential use) had topped over 1 million. This is a great boost for those of us working in the small cell area, and continues to show that the original concept remains valid.

 

Numbers are good, but focusing on services and the user experience takes things further

 

What is perhaps more interesting is the evolution in thinking that is moving Sprint forward in the small cell space. Their original need for femtocells was necessity driven: lack of spectrum in certain areas was hurting their ability to provide coverage to many of their customers, and the initial mantra of the mobile phone industry was ‘coverage is king’. However, they have steadily been expanding their offering, first with an evolutionary step – supplying an enterprise solution for grouping cells cooperatively in buildings such as gyms, shopping malls and so on, but now with a more revolutionary approach.

 

Next step – serving customers more

 

Sprint has supported MVNOs (Mobile Virtual Network Operators) in the USA via its network for some time but a new Sprint announcement, covered by Kevin Fitchard for gigaom (here), takes things to a whole new level: they are enabling Femtocell-as-a-Service and Small-Cell-as-a-Service (sometimes denoted FaaS, SCaaS respectively) for businesses from outside the normal telecommunications sphere – in fact pretty well any consumer business with a physical presence that puts effort into customer loyalty – say hotels or retail stores. These businesses will be able to sell either femtocells to consumers themselves under their own brand, or run the cellular equivalent of WiFi hotspots with customers buying minutes or being rewarded for their use of the service with the likes of loyalty bonuses, airline mile, and purchase discounts. All this can be managed by Sprint, possibly including the installation of the femtocells if necessary, as a one-stop virtual network in a box. There would have to be some linking between two customer management and billing systems, but whilst this could be an IT issue demanding good system design and project management, it shouldn’t be too difficult in principle as long as both sides have sound initial designs.

 

What next?

 

It’s possible to speculate how this model could be taken further. .. Families or other groups could pool their loyalty point gains and possibly pool or exchange them for spending purposes. There could be targeted local advertising to the handset and promotions for subscribing customers – meaning that this could be localized to whichever part of a particular store they were in and their consumer profile.

 

A number of aspects of this are available over WiFi networks as well, but the cellular approach does have the advantage of a easily usable (virtually no-touch) in-built and secure billing system that is able to link a customer, billing and their consumer habits. A key purpose of a company is to enable its customers to add value, and this is a key part of the value add that Sprint is now able to bring to its MVNO partners, whilst also expanding their prospective end-user base to a much wider audience. The impact of their continuing innovation will be interesting to watch.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Deborah Strickland

The articles presented here are blog posts from members of our Service Provider Mobility community. Deborah Strickland is a Web and Social Media Program Manager at Cisco. Follow us on Twitter @CiscoSPMobility.

CloudEXPO Stories
In an era of historic innovation fueled by unprecedented access to data and technology, the low cost and risk of entering new markets has leveled the playing field for business. Today, any ambitious innovator can easily introduce a new application or product that can reinvent business models and transform the client experience. In their Day 2 Keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Mercer Rowe, IBM Vice President of Strategic Alliances, and Raejeanne Skillern, Intel Vice President of Data Center Group and GM, discussed how clients in this new era of innovation can apply data, technology, plus human ingenuity to springboard to advance new business value and opportunities.
Business professionals no longer wonder if they'll migrate to the cloud; it's now a matter of when. The cloud environment has proved to be a major force in transitioning to an agile business model that enables quick decisions and fast implementation that solidify customer relationships. And when the cloud is combined with the power of cognitive computing, it drives innovation and transformation that achieves astounding competitive advantage.
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that "IoT Now" was named media sponsor of CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO 2018 New York, which will take place on November 11-13, 2018 in New York City, NY. IoT Now explores the evolving opportunities and challenges facing CSPs, and it passes on some lessons learned from those who have taken the first steps in next-gen IoT services.
The current age of digital transformation means that IT organizations must adapt their toolset to cover all digital experiences, beyond just the end users’. Today’s businesses can no longer focus solely on the digital interactions they manage with employees or customers; they must now contend with non-traditional factors. Whether it's the power of brand to make or break a company, the need to monitor across all locations 24/7, or the ability to proactively resolve issues, companies must adapt to the new world.
In this presentation, you will learn first hand what works and what doesn't while architecting and deploying OpenStack. Some of the topics will include:- best practices for creating repeatable deployments of OpenStack- multi-site considerations- how to customize OpenStack to integrate with your existing systems and security best practices.