Effective service delivery relies on unique mobile
networks assets: identity, charging, location and presence.
Leading operators can implement new services for their
subscribers as part of a powerful service delivery strategy -
giving them a suite of integrated solutions. Co-sponsored
feature: Jinny Software
CEO Max Wilkie: operators' key existing assets
the strengths which can be leveraged now to
implement effective, long-term service delivery
There are three major channels of communicating
service delivery environment: web, messaging and media,
each with different aspects of user identity, user location
Operator inventories already include a plethora of solutions
for the delivery and execution of new subscriber services,
solutions which, when used individually, provide a specific
function, but when employed en masse in an integrated
manner, can create their own powerful service delivery
Without the need for new and complex protocols to drive even
more complex service delivery platform solutions, these key
operator assets are the strengths which can be leveraged now,
to implement effective, long-term service delivery
Take the operations in Tanzania of the leading Middle East
and African operator Zain, for example.
Zain has used Jinny's service delivery environment approach
to service delivery in Tanzania. This has given it a suite of
integrated solutions including Jinny's SMSC, Message Router,
Voice SMS and Voicemail products.
Zain had already implemented Jinny's Ringback Tone Server
and Charging Gateway on its network - services that were
generating high return-on-investment. The complete suite of
products, built on Jinny's standard platform environment,
provide Zain with a fully integrated and effective service
"Effective service delivery relies on assets used in the
normal, everyday functioning of most mobile networks," says Max
Wilkie, CEO of Jinny Software.
"Without the need for new and complex protocols to drive
even more complex service delivery platform solutions, these
key operator assets are the strengths which can be leveraged
now, to implement effective, long-term service delivery
Zain required a comprehensive VAS strategy, including a
service delivery environment approach, for Tanzania.
Jinny addressed a number of key operator challenges, which
focused on improving speed of service introduction and
time-to-market, the need to manage OPEX and CAPEX and the
requirement for full call completion and ARPU-generating
Jinny recommended, and implemented, an integrated solution
where all components are interconnected and use a common
interface to the external world. With one interface to the
billing system, all VAS components can be rated and a single
command can be sent to the IN system for charging. And with one
interface to the provisioning system, integration time was
A major factor in the selection for Zain Tanzania was the
product integration built into Jinny's solutions, making it
unnecessary for the operator to become involved in complex
integration issues between VAS components.
This approach was welcomed by Alexis Indenge, the IT
director of Zain Tanzania. "We are very satisfied with our
experience with Jinny Software. Their consultative approach to
our challenges and the solution strategy proposed was very
welcome and their service delivery environment tactic meets our
service delivery platform needs perfectly. Our experience
working with them has been very positive and rewarding."
"It is important for a mobile operator to identify the
unique network assets they have and then design an architecture
that will maximise their usage", says Wilkie, "and at the same
time protect them. Mobile operators are currently at risk of
becoming bit-pipes as a result of the latest web technologies
and properties. Competition is becoming very intense and
operator revenues are likely to substantially decrease as a
At the heart of the problem is the fact that the industry is
moving so quickly. "By the time a mobile industry standards
committee has the chance to meet, analyse and agree on a
situation or latest protocol to create and deliver a new
service, numerous Web 2.0 sites will have already come and
gone," he says.
"If mobile operators want to remain relevant, they will have
to open the networks and allow innovation to flourish. This is
the role of either a service delivery platform, or an effective
service delivery environment created by operators and based on
their key assets and strengths."
In general, a mobile network operator has four main assets
that ensure competitive advantage compared to content or
application service providers: identity, billing, location and
Operators have the necessary infrastructure to manage the
identity of a subscriber. Once a subscriber is on the network,
the MNO can provide identity information to the application
provider. There is no need for a new login process when using a
A service delivery environment should facilitate delivery of
subscriber identity to authorised ASPs.
Operators have a billing relationship with the subscriber.
They can enable content and application providers to sell
material and non-material goods to users. For soft,
non-material goods, they can act as a trusted third party,
reserving the funds, performing the delivery and confirming the
Using a service delivery environment that integrates online
charging, the operator can provide applications that charge
immediately on content delivery, thus simplifying the charging
process and making sure it is fraud-free and safe for both
users and content providers or ASPs.
Location and presence
An operator knows the location of a subscriber with varying
precision, and whether the person is reachable or not. This
information can be relayed to an ASP or content provider to
create enhanced services.
Location-based services are enhanced by having GPS-enabled
phones, which communicate directly with the application - but
this feature is not universal and is restricted to high-end
Providing a user's location to the application as part of
the service delivery environment empowers ASPs to write
compelling applications very easily.
Opening an operator's assets
Wilkie explains that a comprehensive service delivery
environment will enable third parties to write, test and deploy
new applications quickly and efficiently.
There are three major channels of communicating across the
service delivery environment: messaging, media and web, each
with aspects of user identity, user location and billing.
"Vendors tend to emphasise one channel over the others," he
says. "The three channels are, however, different and have very
different protocols and modes of operation."
An ASP can use traditional mobile messaging applications
such as SMS and MMS to communicate across a service delivery
environment. No single protocol can solve all problems - some
provide better performance, while others are easier to use.
"One key benefit of messaging to the service delivery
picture is that user identity is inherently included in the
messaging protocols. A further benefit is that user location
can be passed to a selected set of applications."
Billing can also be easily, safely and efficiently
implemented by using 'reservation' before a delivery attempt is
made, and 'committing' after the message is successfully
Typical messaging applications include
- a news push service;
- an SMS voting application; and
- an MMS photo printing application.
Although content providers currently access operator
infrastructure to generate these services, it would be much
easier if provisioning and charging were handled transparently
by the service delivery environment.
There are simple, well defined protocols - such as VoiceXML,
ccXML and MSML
- for the initiation and termination of voice and video
calls in an effective service delivery environment. However,
vendors have created new protocols, Parlay and Parlay-X, to
perform voice calls using web services, which are complex to
implement and manage.
Caller identity and location can be passed to an external
application using HTTP headers embedded in the elected
communication media. Billing can be handled within the service
delivery environment using a time-based charge or on an
event-based charge basis.
The application can tag some content, such as audio or video
clips, with an amount to be charged. Charges are based on
"The service delivery environment should provide unlimited
and unrestricted access to all web-based applications," says
Wilkie. "Subscriber identity and location can be provided to
certified applications. It should also be possible to allow the
subscriber to purchase goods and bill them to his or her
Digital and non-material goods can be delivered over the
HTTP channel. The operator can then ensure the delivery of the
goods and charge only on successful delivery. This service is
simple as there is no need to provide a username and password
like other services. A simple PIN may be sufficient.
"Mobile operators have the opportunity of being an integral
part of the web 2.0 phenomenon," he adds. "All they need to do
is to open their networks using simple, open and standard
protocols. A simple implementation that performs the needed
functions in an easy, scalable and open way is the direction in
which to go.
"We are delighted that Zain Tanzania has adopted our service
delivery environment approach," Wilkie continued. "This
strategic engagement illustrates Jinny's ability to be a total
solution provider and not simply one bringing stand alone
products to market. Whilst we will be strengthening our
relationship with Zain, we firmly believe that the time is
right for all operators to view their current assets in the
same way and we look forward to more and more operators
adopting our service delivery strategy in the future."