Reader Forum: Controlling quality in least cost routing


Editor’s Note: Welcome to our weekly Reader Forum section. In an attempt to broaden our interaction with our readers we have created this forum for those with something meaningful to say to the wireless industry. We want to keep this as open as possible, but we maintain some editorial control to keep it free of commercials or attacks. Please send along submissions for this section to our editors at:

Interconnect carriers and least cost routing models play an important role in sending voice calls around the globe. It is also commonly accepted that the benefits of LCR are worth the cost of a small percentage of customers that might experience quality issues at some point along the path of interconnected call legs. But customers today, both business and consumer, are no longer tolerant of call quality issues. As service providers hand off calls, they also hand off the ability to control the quality of service experienced by their customers. And, for better or worse, customers hold the originating carrier responsible for call quality and are more likely than ever to change providers when problems arise.

Fortunately, an emerging breed of analytics solutions provide visibility into call quality across interconnected networks and may help providers achieve the best of both worlds – maximum profitability and satisfied customers.

Connecting the dots: Intelligent correlation

QoS metrics such as call complete rates, voice quality mean opinion scores or post dial delay are easily obtained from service assurance and network monitoring solutions. For insight into call quality downstream, however, information must be correlated at a granular level with data that identifies the interconnect partner. This can be difficult, as the information is not always available from the network call detail records that contain QoS specifics. In some cases, this data lives either in a switch, operational system or other external source.

Network analytics engines with intelligent correlation capabilities can connect the significant data points from multiple network elements, monitoring solutions or OSS systems to provide service providers with QoS key performance indicators for each call handled by each interconnect partner. For added insight, network analytics give originating carriers the ability to slice, dice and trend information by partner, geography, time of day, call volume, KPI and more.

Leveraging insight: Smarter decision making

Obtaining downstream QoS metrics is a tremendous leap forward, but it is just the first step when it comes to managing LCR schemes. The key is using this information to make smarter decisions as quickly as possible. For example, service providers now have the ability to set-up alerts that flag quality issues by interconnect partner. When the company receives a notification that voice quality scores or any QoS KPI has hit a specified threshold, the provider can immediately re-route traffic and open up a trouble ticket with the partner company. At the same time, the originating carrier can begin analyzing the problem on its end to quickly eliminate the back and forth associated with interconnect issues. With network analytics, service providers can swiftly determine if the problem is isolated to a specific geography, related to call volume or if it appears more pervasive. This data can then be fed back into routing models, enabling service providers to automatically distribute calls based on both quality and cost considerations.

Benefiting from knowledge: Bottom line results

LCR models were designed to maximize profitability. However, with no control over – or insight into – call quality, service providers have come to expect a certain number of disgruntled customers as a result of implementation. It is to the operators’ advantage to avoid that.

Preempting issues is extremely important in today’s competitive environment. Consumers and businesses alike are no longer tolerant of call quality issues and are increasingly ready to change providers at the first sign of problems. Service providers can no longer sit back and wait for customers to report issues. They must do everything in their power to provide a great experience, every time.

For service providers that leverage network analytics to proactively ensure downstream quality across all interconnect call legs, churn does not have to be “the price of doing business.” Even a slight reduction in turnover rates can have a big impact on the bottom line.

Taking a proactive approach to quality has additional benefits as well. It cuts down on the number of customer service calls, and, as a result, the number of trouble tickets created. Armed with the right information, originating carriers can even help interconnect partners correct their issues faster and create more synergistic, profitable relationships.

Ultimately, service providers no longer have to operate blindly, handing off control to save money. Including quality considerations in LCR models will provide long term benefits for all parties, especially for valued customers.

About Author

Dan Meyer

Editor-in-Chief, Telecom Software, Policy, Wireless Carriers
Dan Meyer started at RCR Wireless News in 1999 covering wireless carriers and wireless technologies. As editor-in-chief, Dan oversees editorial direction, reports on news from the wireless industry, including telecom software, policy and wireless carriers, and provides opinion stories on topics of concern to the market such as his popular Friday column “Worst of the Week.”