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The Business Case Builds for Mobile IP Service Assurance
Operations support systems (OSSs), network management, and test and measurement (T&M) tools have been around as long as cellular itself. Yet despite their age and the tens of billions that carriers have collectively spent on those products, wireless's quality of service (QoS) keeps getting worse particularly for IP services, such as data and multimedia judging by the mounting customer complaints throughout the industry. AT&T is both the poster child and whipping boy for poor QoS, but there are plenty of other carriers vying for this notoriety.

Over the past two years, these problems have created opportunities for two camps. The first is vendors that sell service assurance products: These differ from conventional OSS and T&M tools by focusing on the user experience, rather than the performance of the network as a whole or individual links and nodes. This is because it is possible for all of the carrier's network infrastructure to be functioning properly, while still delivering a poor user experience.

The second group of beneficiaries is carriers that have deployed service assurance tools and are now using them to differentiate themselves from rivals that have a reputation for poor QoS. With service assurance tools, carriers can expand QoS beyond being just a money saver such as in reduced churn and customer-care costs and turn it into a money maker. Suppose a carrier knows that a significant percentage of its customers use a third-party VoIP service; instead of blocking that service to preserve already-dwindling voice revenue, as some have tried, that carrier could approach the VoIP provider with an offer, such as providing service assurance for a fee to guarantee QoS for the user's VoIP sessions.

Since IP services are fundamentally different from circuit-switched voice, many service assurance vendors come from the enterprise world and believe that their IP networking experience makes them a natural fit for mobile IP. That is a reasonable hope, but to be successful, those vendors also must convince potential carrier customers that they also understand cellular's nuances and unique requirements expertise that could be added by acquiring a cellular vendor or cherry-picking its executives including five-nines uptime. That can be a tough sell.

The Business Case Builds for Mobile IP Service Assurance identifies and analyzes these and other key issues that affect the market for mobile IP service assurance tools. It looks at how carriers can use service assurance to save money and create new revenue streams, including offering tiered services in which customers pay a premium for QoS and bandwidth guarantees. It also examines how service assurance provides carriers with an end run around net neutrality concerns. The report profiles 17 leading service assurance vendors, offering insight into which companies are best positioned to remain or emerge as key players in this market.

Sample research data from the report is shown in the excerpts below:
Table of Contents (mni0310_toc.pdf)
Reducing expenses is a major part of the business case for service assurance. The following excerpt shows how one wireline operator used Telcordia's service assurance tools to collect information detailed enough to improve the efficiency of service calls and truck rolls, saving $3.7 million per month. Though there are significant differences between wireline and wireless networks, this example is still worth studying because it shows how great the financial impact can be when an operator has granular, comprehensive information to guide decisions.
[click on the image above for the full excerpt]
Companies profiled in this report include: Accanto Systems Oy; Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A); Alvarion Ltd. (Nasdaq: ALVR); Anritsu Corp.; CA Inc. (Nasdaq: CA); Compuware Corp. (Nasdaq: CPWR); EXFO Inc. (Nasdaq: EXFO); JDS Uniphase Corp. (Nasdaq: JDSU); NetScout Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: NTCT); Radcom Ltd. (Nasdaq: RDCM); Spirent Communications plc (Pink Sheets: SPMYY); Tekelec (Nasdaq: TKLC); Telcordia Technologies Inc.; Tellabs Inc. (Nasdaq: TLAB); Theta Networks Inc.; Tollgrade Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: TLGD); and United Commtel LLC.
Total pages: 19
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