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Reality Check: How to unlock Brazil’s 4G profits

Editor’s NoteWelcome to our weekly Reality Check column. We’ve gathered a group of visionaries and veterans in the mobile industry to give their insights into the marketplace.

There’s no denying it: 4G LTE deployments are underway in Brazil—and across the Caribbean and Latin American region. Brazil’s communication minister, Paulo Bernardo, was quoted by RCR Wireless News at Futurecom 2012 saying that “We auctioned LTE licenses at exactly the right time, because we do not want to wait until the technology is mature to start using it.” Bernardo added that carriers will deploy LTE while continuing to improve their 3G coverage.

The deployment of 4G/LTE will translate into faster data speeds for consumers and greater revenue for service providers. But (you know there’s always a but) before they can fully reap the maximum profit from the new high-speed data networks, service providers need to solve one pressing issue: how can they best monetize their data services and not leave money on the table?

The situation, in short: The data explosion is straining mobile networks, but revenues from data still lag far behind voice revenue. So how will CALA service providers generate more revenue from data? What IT capabilities do they need to fully monetize their 4G/LTE (Long Term Evolution) network investments?

An Amdocs-sponsored global survey* conducted by industry analyst firm Heavy Reading focused on which strategies leading companies are planning to implement to increase their data revenues in the 4G/LTE era. The overwhelming consensus among service providers indicated that policy management and charging integration is key to enabling more advanced services and price plans.

The results of the survey indicate that service providers are looking to 4G to deliver service innovation beyond higher capacity and faster speeds. They want to offer personalized data plans, real-time visibility and control over data spending to improve the customer experience and better monetize 4G investments.

As 4G/LTE becomes the standard network technology across Latin America, service providers are looking to launch more advanced services and pricing plans. In fact, 92% of survey respondents said their marketing departments are asking their IT teams to enable innovative data pricing plans, while 70% said their companies cannot enable innovative data pricing plans because of IT limitations.

But policy management and charging must be unified to enable the above capabilities, and therein lie some difficulties. In the Heavy Reading survey, 40% of the respondents said they had either already tried, or are currently trying, to integrate charging and policy management systems with unsatisfactory results. This is a significant increase compared to 10% last year who admitted to such attempts.

The research indicates that the best solutions for service providers are those that feature pre-integrated charging and policy systems, and include a single product catalog across both systems to solve broken product management processes that cause time-to-market delays.

So what’s the takeaway for CALA service providers? Proceed with 4G network deployments—but take the time to carefully plan how to get the most out of these major capital expenditures. The integration of policy and charging systems can play an important role in the return on investment.

(More information on the Amdocs/Heavy Reading survey is available here).

*Heavy Reading interviewed 70 senior executives from 35 service providers around the world.

Manuel Briseno, Director, Marketing, Caribbean and Latin America Region, Amdocs

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