Sridhar Pai /Tonse Telecom
20 Dec 2010
The managed services transition was originally driven by carriers merging due to competitive forces that prevailed in respective markets. The large infrastructure vendors either enabled the M&A drive by taking over similar networks under their umbrella, or were forced to participate by operators who were merging and had to shave off redundancies.
Over a short period of time this became a mainstream activity and managed services became an acceptable part of the vendors' revenue models. In emerging markets with low ARPUs, the operators found it safe and low-risk to adopt the managed services model and to pay the vendors for RAN capacity.
This lead Ericsson, Alca-Lu and NSN to accumulate a massive fleet of large networks under their managed services umbrellas, forcing them to become service providers using B2B models – with no retail face, but measured by QoS delivered to operators' retail consumers.
The managed services model appears to have reached fresh peaks of complexity as new network technologies such as TD LTE evolve. Heterogeneous operators are forced to look at new methods to save costs, such as sharing network components or maintaining transparency in billing.
Operators also aim to manage exclusivity of service area while still being able to control the user experience, brand and differentiated services.
This is simply too much of a headache for operators who now feel that owning the customer and managing the brand are their top priorities. They do not want to manage RAN migrations from Rev A to Rev B, preferring to leave this to the experts.