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Interview: Mark Greenquist of Telcordia
29 June 2010
Operators should be able to offer customers discounts on services at different times of day or on certain cellsites, says Telcordia’s CEO
Dynamic discounting offers better capacity in emerging
Operators should be able to offer customers discounts
on services at different times of day or on certain cellsites,
in order to maximise revenue and use of capacity, says
Telcordia’s CEO, Mark Greenquist
Mark Greenquist: service providers should be able
segment customers by their use of bandwidth
Mark Greenquist has a new term which he wants telecoms
operators to take notice of: dynamic discounting.
It’s important because data services are
accounting for a greater and greater percentage of
carriers’ business. "As the industry gets more
competitive, the competitive pressure increases," says
Greenquist, who is CEO of US-based telecoms innovation
Telcordia. "As you get more and more competitive you have to
segment your customers more."
As a result of these competitive pressures, operators have to
work out ways of doing more with less, he says.
The challenge is that operators have to connect their towers to
the backhaul network — and you have to decide whether
you build the capacity to cater for those peak loads, that may
last just a short time each day.
That’s where dynamic discounting can help, he
says. "Carriers can in real time provide discounts to customers
based on the capacity of particular cellsites," he says.
Operators are interested, "particularly in emerging markets",
says Greenquist, who has been with Telcordia for five years,
first as CFO and then as COO before becoming CEO in May 2007.
"We want to see if this will drive traffic and maximise use of
sites. We’re in discussions with some of our
customers on this."
Dynamic pricing will use a service that will continuously
monitor capacity utilisation on each cellsite. "When a site is
not being utilised fully you can offer discounts to influence a
user to time-shift or to move to a different site," says
Greenquist. "You’re building to peak capacity, and
as a result you can avoid having to build to higher peaks."
This is all part of a strategy that Telcordia is developing to
allow operators to manage bandwidth in real time. "We want to
provide service providers with the ability to segment customers
by their use of bandwidth."
The idea is to allow operators to add subscribers to their
network "without being in jeopardy of having them overwhelm the
network", he says.
Video is the main problem. "You have a small percentage of
users who use a large percentage of the bandwidth."
The answer, says Greenquist: a bandwidth manager. "That will
allow you to differentiate your charging into a premium plan, a
standard plan and a basic plan." A service provider can segment
its customers according to bandwidth use "and optimise their
Again, this service is embryonic, he says: "We’re
talking to a number of customers and the product will be
released later this year. We’re watching
what’s going on with respect to data. Operators
need to segment their customers."
The trouble is, many operators still have "all you can eat"
data plans. "These are causing problems as we see more and more
smart phones in the market. You will see more and more
How does Telcordia think that operators can offer discounts on
underloaded cellsites? "Send an SMS offering a discount in real
time," says Greenquist.
He sees this strategy as helping to drive the next wave of
growth in emerging markets — attracting lower ARPU
customers. "They are super price-sensitive but they bring
incremental revenue," he says. The idea is that they
don’t spend much, so operators cannot afford to
put in extra capacity.
Hence the need to explore discount structures. "We believe in
flexibility," he says. "You don’t know what the
best discount structure will be. We want to set this up so
operators can see the results of the discounts. At the moment
we don’t know if the location is more important or
the time of day is more important."
Greenquist was speaking to Global Telecoms Business at the TM
Forum’s Management World conference in Nice in
May, where the company launched a tool to help operators make
better use of their network investments by sharing resources
across different sections of the system.
"It’s a business analytics application for
capturing network data to use it to become more efficient,"
says Greenquist. One application is to allow planners to route
a backhaul network in the most effective way to connect
enterprise customers as well as base stations.
The tool — called total perspective planning
— "gives you the opportunity to be more efficient and
more future proof" by bringing together fixed, backhaul and
enterprise factors into network planning, says Adan Pope, the
company’s chief strategy officer. "When
you’re planning fibre you want to know where the
offices of Fortune 500 companies are and you want to integrate
that data so you can identify the business opportunities."
"It’s an OSS mash-up," says Greenquist. "The first
customers are under way but not announced."