By Raghunatha Chary, Regional Vice President Sales, MACH India
The inaugural MACH Insights India event, which took place last week in India’s pink city of Jaipur, was an enormous success, attracting more than 100 delegates from India’s major mobile operators, plus representatives from operators in Srilanka, Bangladesh, and Bhutan.
After the traditional lamp lighting ceremony, the conference was opened by myself stressing the message that CHANGE in the industry is inevitable. “He who adapts well to change has the greatest chance of survival and success. This industry must look forward to change in the form of innovation and the immense opportunities it will bring.”
Day 1’s sessions kicked off with a keynote speech from Rich Grohol, MACH’s Chief Commercial Officer. Rich spoke on the changing dynamics of the global roaming industry: how the balance of profits are moving from the wholesale to the retail environment; how data roaming is fast becoming a force to reckon with and is on the path to replacing voice as the main revenue stream; and how operators’ interconnect and roaming processes are becoming more closely aligned.
Then Mr. Abhishek Chauhan, Senior Consultant and Lead – Mobile Wireless, Frost & Sullivan, presented global and regional data on the telecoms industry in general and the roaming industry specifically. He emphasized the need for the industry to embrace the new practices of cloud computing, and SaaS, NaaS or PaaS models, in order to remain an integral part of the changing world order.
Mr. Anand Parthasarathy, Editor, India Techonline and industry veteran of over 25 years, moderated a very lively panel discussion on 3G Roaming Pacts. We have seen much media hype on this topic recently as the Department of Telecom (DoT), the Telecoms Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and mobile operators have struggled to determine the legitimacy of the model. After much debate, the panel participants – Mr. Abhishek Chauhan of Frost & Sullivan, Mr.Binoay of IDEA, Mr. Satish Chander , Head of Roaming, 3G, MNP & Special Projects at Aircel, and Lokdeep Singh, Vice President Technology & Innovation, MACH – concluded that 3G Roaming Pacts are indeed natural competition and business catalysts. No government should put a stop to them as long as they continue to benefit the subscriber – by enhancing user experience and adding more value to services.
Mr. Anand Parthasarathy also presented a perspective on the National Telecom Plan -2011 that was very well received. In his opinion, we are all of us in India benefiting from the mobile revolution – it is already significantly impacting the way we live – whether we are in the city or rural areas of the country. He believes wholeheartedly that the new telecom policy is essential to improved transparency and far reaching benefits.
The conference also touched on various recent MACH innovations, such as:
- MACH Data Roaming Engine, a solution that will benefit operators by encouraging data roaming use through better controls for end-users and lower roaming phone bills, thereby increasing ARPU.
- MACH Revenue Protection, a solution which provides operators with a full suite of services, including domestic and international fraud management and revenue assurance, either through a licensed software model or as a SaaS option.
- MACH Direct Billing Gateway, a Direct Operator Billing solution which inserts operators in the mobile apps and content value chain by allowing users to make app and in-app purchases from their mobile, placing the payment on their mobile phone bill. Although India may not be ready for this now, it is an inevitable option to simplify a complex process.
The conference was also an opportunity to share market trends from the rest of the world. 3G data offload is one such trend and operators were curious to understand how other regions are progressing in this area. With LTE and 4G on the horizon and smart phones swamping the market, spectrum is expected to be scarce, demanding high levels of data offload and a proper coordinated strategy along with it.
All in all, MACH Insights India 2011 was a resounding success, and an event we will look forward to in the years to come.