By Jordi Castellvi, Director of Product Management, Clearing Services
As mobile data and content services become more popular, the need to manage IOTs and margins becomes even more important. With the decline in margins for voice service, the opportunities for mobile content and data roaming services are very encouraging, but require careful alignment between retail and wholesale roaming tariffs.
Analyst firm Informa indicates data growth, as a % of overall communications service revenue, from just under 24% of total revenue in 2009, up to just under 40% by 2015. In the same forecast, voice ARPU is indicated to shrink from an average US$13 to around US$7.50, with data ARPU going in the opposite direction, from US$4 in 2009 up to US$5 by 2015. This represents a 20% growth over the period, but when one considers that voice revenue change is predicted to be negative in the final 4 years of the forecast period, this puts the forecast into context.
Recognising this trend, MACH has developed a capability for mobile network operators (MNOs) to directly align wholesale IOTs around retail tariffs. This allows each MNO to directly relate retail roaming tariffs offered to their outbound roaming subscribers, with the wholesale IOTs negotiated with their roaming partners. This is, of course, particularly useful and suitable for high value data bundles. It aligns MACH’s data clearing capabilities with its data roaming engine, enabling the end-to-end management of retail roaming tariffs and bundled roaming services.
To illustrate how this principle works, let us consider the following hypothetical example. An MNO develops a retail roaming tariff for data services, aligned with a wholesale IOT, whereby an outbound roaming subscriber is charged up to a certain amount per K/byte, but no more than a set charge per day, for a 15 M/byte roaming pack. This ensures margin control, encourages data roaming usage and prevents excessive usage. This approach can combine well with MACH’s ‘Subscriber Performance Manager’ tool, so that an MNO can analyze roaming subscriber usage and assess the financial impact of the service in terms of adoption rates and data usage. This also aligns well with use of MACH’s Data Roaming Engine, for real-time roaming, policy control and network data optimization.
Monetization of data roaming requires careful margin control and alignment between retail tariffs and wholesale IOTs. MACH is able to support so-called ‘retail driven’ IOTs that help MNOs to realise roaming margin targets. By combining this new capability with MACH’s usage analysis tool, ‘Subscriber Performance Manager’, and its ‘Data Roaming Engine’, an MNO can achieve complete end-to-end roaming tariff visibility and control.
 Informa: Global Analysis of Mobile Market Prospects