STEM newsletter

State-of-the-art business-case studies in telecoms

30 October 2005

The Telecommunication Development Bureau of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU‑BDT) is developing partnerships with the vendors of professional network planning tools to support its missions promoting best-practice planning techniques in developing countries. A co-operative agreement has been negotiated with ITU‑BDT that will add the STEM business-case modelling software to a roster of network planning tools to be used for training purposes and to be presented during official ITU‑BDT workshops, seminars and training courses.

ITU experts also plan to model high-level business cases for 3G mobile and next-generation networks (NGN) to help the governments and newly-formed regulators of developing nations assess the market potential of their nascent telecoms sectors.

Commercial quality tool for telecoms business planning

Latest ITU policy for network planning is to enter into practical partnerships with specialist software vendors. ITU-BDT has surveyed the market for planning tools over the last 2–3 years, and it is still continuing to do so, in order to enter into partnerships with companies that have tools of commercial quality readily available. In this context, thorough documentation and interoperability with other platforms are just as important as a tool’s ability to generate insightful results. STEM is a tool designed specifically for business planning across multiple technologies.

The primary objective of the collaborative agreement is to promote the application of a standardised modelling process with state-of-the-art procedures for techno-economical evaluation of business case studies in telecoms, such as evolution of 2G to 3G. Business-case showcases based on STEM have been a regular feature of ITU-BDT technical missions around the world for several years now, and the agreement aims to promote wider participation in ITU-BDT events and missions by Analysys and the owner companies of other network planning tools.

As a direct example of this partnership in action, Robin Bailey recently presented a STEM methodology for evaluating NGN migration strategies to an ITU regional seminar on fixed–mobile convergence and new network architectures for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region held on 21–24 November 2005 in Tunis.

A full list of software partners will be available on the ITU-BDT Web site in due course.

Influencing policy with leading-edge business logic

Under the agreement, we will make the STEM tool available to ITU experts in order for them to model high-level business cases on a non-commercial basis and in the public domain for governments, administrations and regulators. Such models will be designed to help evaluate the economic potential of a given developing nation and to establish general tariff levels.

One recent case examined the business potential of mobile 3G solutions for a medium-sized developing country in the Middle East. Oscar Gonzalez Soto applied the migration model from 2G to 3G for the different country geo-scenarios of urban, suburban and rural types. By projecting and analysing key factors such as new services, bandwidth requirements, quality level, network deployment, revenues, investments and financial needs, a set of recommendations was produced to ensure business feasibility in the context of the country.

We may publish run-time copies of such models for distribution to the ITU’s members and other prospective STEM users, in order to facilitate in-country review and validation of concepts. However, such models would omit detailed segmentation of services and resources, to avoid the misleading impression that such a reference case could be directly applied to model a real operator’s specific business issues.

ITU-BDT aims to develop locally benchmarked reference models. The underlying objective is to stimulate interest in the development of commercial studies applied to specific country, sub-regional, or technological issues by specially trained operator personnel and/or professional services agencies.

Through this process, it is hoped that policy makers and investors in developing nations will take a greater interest in network economics, and to this end, we will define procedures to make licences of the STEM tool available at preferential rates to clients from ‘developing countries’ as defined by the UN.

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