With the connectivity of the modern world being at an all-time high, and only set to grow, it’s no wonder many businesses are now looking to expand into international markets. Organisations within the telecommunications industry are no different, many are now realising the possibilities and riches that can be obtained from international trading.
Reaching out into international markets is however fraught with its own risks and dangers. Recent events have shown how different cultures, policies and rule-makers can change over international boundaries in an extremely short period of time. A recent example of this was the different approaches countries took to battle COVID-19 and the effect these had on businesses having to adapt to different rules. The ongoing war in Ukraine has served as another reminder for many businesses how powerless they are against the knock-on effect international politics can impact upon them.
Why the Right BBS is so Important
With this volatile nature in mind, a telecom must be supported by the right business support system when aiming to trade internationally. Having the right systems in place is crucial to overcoming some of the challenges presented by expanding around the globe. These include;
Increased Customer Pool – As a telecom expands into a new market it will be able to attract customers from a much bigger pool. Depending on the territory they expand into this pool could be millions or billions of new potential customers. While the opportunity to sell to such a big customer pool is attractive it is also fraught with its own risks. Support systems need to be able to scale with the pace of expansion, especially in the case of rapid international growth. A good BSS should also be able to deploy automation to ensure that the provider can take on the maximum number of new customers without having to outlay heavily on new staff. Not investing in the right system with the right capacity could be fatal for any telecom launching in a new country.
Differing Regulations – Another challenge of international trade is the difference in regulations between two or more countries. Often business systems are set up to automatically comply with the standards and regulations of one country. Problems then arise if this same system is expected to work in a setting where the regulations are different. Not having a BSS that can adapt its framework to these new regulations can lead to lengthy delays and costly situations. Regulations can also be affected by outside events, often with little warning, in a global setting very quickly, recently many countries have placed restrictions on businesses limiting the custom they can take or give to Russia.
Currency – Billing for international companies can be a tricky area, with telecoms it is no different. If you are operating in two or more countries, you face the possibility that your clients and customers will be paying you in two or more different currencies. This can be difficult for businesses to stay up to date with the latest exchange rates, whilst still being able to bill customers quickly and accurately.
Customer First Impressions – When establishing an existing brand in a new country it is vital to get your first impressions with new customers right. This is especially true for MVNOs who often rely on word of mouth from their core target demographics. If your system fails to handle the increase in customer demand, or your system isn’t creating the optimum customer experience e.g not warning customers of overspending or bill shock, it can create a negative impression of your brand from the off and ruin any momentum gain in the run-up to launching within a new country.
Security Risks - Telecoms face big security issues from fraudsters when opening themselves up to international trade. One scam facing telecoms is International Revenue Share Fraud (IRSF) this involves a fraudster obtaining access to an operator’s network and making a number of calls to premium-rate numbers or international numbers with a high termination rate. The criminals can then access a share of the revenue generated from the termination charge. Due to the nature of the billing to premium numbers, it is vital that operators are able to keep a constant eye on the network and a subscriber’s activity, that way spikes in billing or abnormal patterns can be quickly detected and an operator can intervene if they believe criminal activity is happening.
Telecoms operating internationally must also be compliant with the data security measures that are in place across the two different countries. For example, telecoms operating within the UK and Europe recently had to quickly adjust to the GDPR law introduced by the European Union, and then quickly re-adjust again when “Brexit” weakened the data laws protecting UK citizens.
At Lifecycle, we appreciate the business support systems that underpin a provider’s business operations are important, even more so when these services are offered internationally. The international market is fiercely competitive and rapidly evolving, so a BSS platform must be designed to adapt quickly to support marketing conditions, business models and product offerings. We achieved the internationally recognised ISO9001 Quality Standard, the ISO27001 standard and PCI DSS compliance.
Our ALLinOne BSS is a complete package of modules to support wholesale and retail telecom providers. The solution is highly responsive and flexible from the initial point of sale, through to billing, payment, collection and reporting. With automation processes to allow for maximum efficiency and growth into new and international markets.return to resources