Re-Alignment of Operator Roaming and Interconnect Billing Functions Gathers Pace, Says MACH

Informa survey supports MACH’s own findings to validate market trend

New research from Informa Telecoms & Media has added weight to previous MACH research indicating that the roaming and interconnect billing functions of many global mobile operators are merging. This trend is likely to drive operators, ultimately, to embrace the cost and operational efficiency benefits associated with managed service models, believes MACH, itself the leading provider of hub-based mobile communication roaming, charging and interconnect billing solutions.

Artur Michalczyk, Chief Product Officer, MACH, commented: “The traditionally separate processes comprising roaming and interconnect billing demand even closer reporting and reconciliation as they merge. With a greater focus on cost containment and more active wholesale margin management, the very nature of the traditional interconnect billing and settlement markets is changing fast. Furthermore, as Software as a Service (SaaS) and cloud-based data management and processing environments are becoming accepted as mainstream, it is both logical and sensible for operators to consider a managed service environment as a plausible future for interconnect billing”.

According to Informa’s Wholesale Interconnect & Roaming Futures Survey, conducted during August 2011 and commissioned by MACH, the roaming and interconnect functions of many global operators are likely to merge within the next three years. Furthermore, with joint reporting already common for roaming and interconnect, 90 per cent of respondents noted that they believe a full merger will occur in the near-term. The survey was fielded to a global list of telecom industry stakeholders, including fixed and mobile operators, integrated operators, vendors and regulators.

Mark Newman, Chief Research Officer at Informa Telecoms & Media, commented: “Our research has clearly demonstrated a fundamental shift in the way that operators are addressing their interconnect billing and roaming business requirements. For MACH this demonstrates a real opportunity to further extend their cloud-based expertise gained through their traditional roaming businesses into the interconnect sphere. This approach will benefit operators through combined cost and operational efficiencies while opening a new revenue steam for SaaS and managed service providers such as MACH.”

MACH combines roaming, interconnect billing and content partner management functions into a comprehensive SaaS-based Wholesale Partner Management platform. With access to a single platform to manage all their wholesale partner processes, including PRM, Business Intelligence and Financial Settlement, operators can significantly reduce costs. They can also benefit from the reduced risk associated with not having to manage and fund lengthy software implementation and integration projects.

Michalczyk concluded: “As roaming and interconnect billing processes converge, the real opportunity for operators lies in a consideration of the managed service model. Why manage multiple wholesale partner systems, when the processes they support can be managed for you? Why maintain multiple, costly in-house systems when you can enjoy the economies of scale and expertise of a specialist managed service provider? The evolution towards a comprehensive wholesale partner management outsourced model makes sense in terms of cost, organisational effectiveness and control.”

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article/press release are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the approved policy or position of the GSMA or its subsidiaries.

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