By Pabitra Pradhan, Program Director, APAC
Optiva • January 25, 2022
Pabitra Pradhan has been with Optiva since 2022 and has a career spanning more than 20 years in the Professional Services domain. He holds a M.Tech in Electrical Engineering from IIT Kharagpur, India. Pabitra has delivered numerous projects for mobile operators throughout APAC, Middle East and Europe. He is passionate about Project Management, Delivery and appreciates working across continents with multicultural, global and diversified teams.
A mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) is a mobile service provider that does not have a network infrastructure or radio spectrum licenses. Rather, it uses an existing mobile network operator’s infrastructure and spectrum to sell and deliver a full suite of mobile services to end-users with their own branding, customer service, and billing.
MVNO services began in the telecom industry in December 1999 — almost 23 years ago by a MVNO service provider in the UK. Since then, a significant transformation has taken place in the MVNO industry. This includes service offerings, digital brands, network technology, cloud-native technology, billing and charging, automation, CI/CD, and how MVNO service providers deliver innovative digital services to their customers. Per the latest data, more than 1,300 active MVNO service providers are providing services to over 220 million subscribers across the globe, and the MVNO market size is more than US$65 billion.
MVNOs have to differentiate their offers from the big MNOs to be successful. That presents a massive opportunity for BSS, billing, and charging system suppliers to capitalize in the MVNO space.
In 2022, a new greenfield MVNO logo in the APAC region selected Optiva and our cloud-native BSS platform, which has been widely deployed worldwide. The MVNO, an existing regional broadband service provider, wanted to diversify its business to provide mobile services to customers as a new MVNO. It is categorized as a thin MVNO because it manages its own marketing, sales, handset management, billing, collection, and customer care. It also has its own applications and services for its customers. The MVNO has a lean technical team with minimal telecom background. It primarily depends on Optiva’s technical, business operation, delivery, and managed services expertise for its BSS platform deployment and operation management.
The MVNO wanted a BSS solution that was a flexible, out-of-the-box, pre-integrated stack for rapid launch. It also wanted easily configurable open APIs to quickly tailor new price plans, bundles, and promotions for its customers.
The key business requirements of the MVNO included:
Optiva BSS Platform provides a rich set of configurations, such as build-your-own plans and shared data plans with flexible promotions, that are very attractive and popular with the conscious and youth segments. In its pursuit of low total cost of ownership (TCO) and faster time to market, the MVNO mandated support for public cloud, agile delivery methodology, cloud-native architecture, and deployment automation. Optiva BSS Platform fulfilled the MVNO’s key technical and business requirements and provided favorable TCO with low upfront costs and a pay-as-you-grow model.
As the MVNO aspired to build a digital, fully automated, and scalable BSS product offering, Optiva was determined to be the right partner for its MVNO digital journey and to build its next-generation BSS platform and MVNO business.
Optiva’s project delivery model is front-loaded and cross-departmental to ensure that all launch risks are identified at the beginning and successfully mitigated during the project delivery cycle. The first phase of a project delivery starts with the scope, design, and building of the solution specification and designing the business requirements and infrastructure setup. Optiva and the MVNO decided to deliver the project in a hybrid mode with a combination of waterfall and agile modes by defining and tracking the delivery sprints through preliminary customer acceptance.
Optiva’s standard is to deliver such projects fully in remote mode. However, Optiva was flexible and responsive to the MVNO’s requirements. Further, we deployed resources on the ground during project execution and user acceptance to fast track the project delivery and launch process.
Optiva has developed a proprietary and innovative automated test framework, Optiva Test Framework (OTF), which significantly reduces the test phases at each stage of customer delivery. It is used by Optiva’s internal team and by customers during acceptance testing. OTF uses the network protocol simulator tool, independent protocol simulator (IPS), and a mobile device simulating optional components based on Raspberry Pi to run end-to-end network tests. Additionally, OTF integrates popular optional DevOps tools like TestRail, GitHub, and Jenkins and is fully integrated into Optiva’s CI/CD pipeline.
With test automation set up to align with the project test scope, the task became easier and smoother for running the functional test cases. For this MVNO customer, who is on a private cloud, we developed nearly 150 end-to-end test cases using OTF. We identified from the Optiva inventory database that 30% of the test cases already developed could be used entirely or adapted to meet the customer’s test specifications. We released the test cases to the customer and, as a result, reduced the time to user acceptance testing (UAT) and project duration for the initial launch. In addition, all automated test cases can be reused later by the customer to test and validate thousands of new tariff combinations and scenarios based on call detail records (CDRs), saving the customer hours of additional test development and execution.
Optiva delivery team also focused from the beginning of the project on other key aspects of project management like documenting the scope and design clearly, monitoring and control, risk identification and mitigation plans, project governance and transparent reporting, and dynamic change management processes to fast track the overall project delivery.
At Optiva, we are focused on innovation to build a future-ready BSS platform with the latest technologies for our MVNO customers. Simultaneously, we deliver projects in an agile and automated manner to fast track launches for our customers.
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