Of all the regions in the world, MEA is one in which some of today’s biggest challenges in mobile are coming together to present a particularly crucial opportunity. Soaring demand for bandwidth capacity, new competition from apps and OTT players, and rapid growth of new technologies like LTE and the internet of things represent but a few of these rising challenges.
These factors point to huge opportunities, but ones that require careful understanding and planning. As mobile data use continues to accelerate and evolve across MEA, it’s imperative that operators have a full-scale strategy in place to be able to seize the opportunities now emerging.
Based on recent work that Syniverse has completed with some mobile operators in this region, I’ve observed two areas, LTE and fraud, and developed perspectives on trends that I see as essential for operators to place special focus on in the next few years.
LTE is growing globally, and growing fast, and in few other places in the world is it expected to grow more quickly than in MEA. Work we’re doing with one operator has revealed some of the huge potential for LTE in this region in the near future.
- Cable & Wireless Seychelles – In July, we announced an agreement with Cable & Wireless Seychelles to help this operator improve its LTE roaming experiences for inbound and outbound roaming customers. LTE roaming has become a critical mobile service in the Seychelles as the number of tourists and visiting, or inbound, roamers has soared over the past few years and far exceeded the nation’s 94,000-plus citizens. According to the United Nations World Travel Organisation Tourism Barometer, the Seychelles saw a more than 18 percent rise in number of tourists in 2015, and, in 2016, this number rose by almost 11 percent, to 304,000 visitors from 275,000. To help Cable & Wireless Seychelles better manage the roaming experiences for this growing number, Syniverse is using its network monitoring services to help enable the operator to more proactively solve subscribers’ problems and tailor their individual experiences in real time. What we’ve learned from this is that ensuring a superior quality of experience and providing customized service offerings for subscribers can deliver a powerful solution for enhancing data roaming usage. With roaming competition fierce in MEA, operators must be able to make clear the direct connection between their subscribers and the unique value that operators can deliver to them when they roam.
As long as there have been businesses and consumers, there has been fraud. And now fraud is infiltrating the quickest-growing channel for business – mobile – on a massive new scale. In MEA, this threat has recently been revealed through work we’ve been involved in with two customers.
- Ooredoo Maldives – In July, Ooredoo Maldives and Syniverse completed an agreement for Syniverse to help protect the operator against mobile roaming fraud and more accurately collect revenue for services across its operations. The fraud protection capabilities Syniverse is providing Ooredoo Maldives are grounded on predictive analysis and a global approach that will help the operator to combat a range of mobile fraud. In particular, the services rely on high-speed analysis and processing of event records to enable the operator to better prevent and respond to particular patterns. As a related service, we’re helping Ooredoo Maldives with revenue management and help obtain more accurate data on the operator’s entire revenue flow and identify any problem areas to help eliminate revenue loss in the billing cycle. Critically, what we’ve learned from this is that to combat today’s fraud and revenue leakage effectively, it’s essential for operators to be able to respond to threats in real time and understand behavior patterns on a global level.
- Roshan – Roshan and Syniverse were recognized in May at the Global Telecoms Business (GTB) Innovation Awards in London. There, we received an accolade for advancing the industry’s ability to protect operators’ revenues from the growing threats of mobile roaming fraud and revenue leakage. Specifically, we were recognized for our collaboration in implementing predictive analytic and automation solutions that detect, identify and prevent fraudulent activity from occurring, and also protect revenues by ensuring accuracy in subscriber billing. Syniverse uses the intelligence we gather from over 130 operators across the world to help provide Roshan with an instant view of suspicious activity that is occurring in the market, and allow Roshan to more proactively act on fraud alerts. Similarly, for the revenue assurance portion of our collaboration, we’re working with Roshan to enable rapid detection and automation that eases the task of analysis and issue resolution, and ensures integrity of revenue processes. As we’ve seen through this work, evolving technology and rising connectivity demands have left operators more vulnerable than ever to threats from fraudsters and inaccuracies in revenue collection. The future of healthy mobile growth in the Middle East and Africa depends on our ability to develop dedicated strategies to isolate and combat these fraud types.
Rising data use will soon drive a dynamic phase of mobile development in MEA. This growth will spur unprecedented demands for mobile connectivity, and as we’ve seen in our work, it’s imperative that mobile service providers have full-scale strategies in place to address the emerging trends that come with this exciting future.
Nour Al Atassi is a former Regional Vice President and Managing Director of the Middle East and Africa at Syniverse.