Managed Services: Moving in Full Swing

VoicenData Bureau
New Update

Managed services started in India in 2004 when Bharti airtel signed a network contract deal with Ericsson and since then we have traveled a long way. Initially, vendors were given commissioning of wireless networks but with increased complexity and multi-vendor network capability, networks are becoming complex. Thus, there is an increasing demand for managed services. For example, for both 3G and 4G, the vendors are awarded a managed services contract on day one itself.

Managed services providers can offer services such as alerts, security, patch management, data backup and recovery for different client devices: Desktops, notebooks, servers, storage systems, networks and applications. Offloading routine infrastructure management to an experienced managed services professional lets you concentrate on running your business, with fewer interruptions due to IT issues.

Managed services providers usually price their services on a subscription basis. Depending on the services they provide, pricing is usually based on the number of devices, with different packages priced at different levels. Some provide customer support onsite when required.

Basic services often start with a monitoring service, which notifies you of problems, which you resolve on your own. At the upper end of the spectrum, service providers offer fully managed services that cover everything from alerts through problem resolution.

Presently, the vendors have comprehensive managed services offerings which include: Designing, building, operating, and managing day-to-day operations of the customer's network, including end-user services and business-support systems, to hosting service-layer solutions and providing network coverage and capacity on demand.

In India, all wireless infrastructure vendors provide managed services and what differentiates one from the other is not the infrastructure but the tools and processes vendors use to reduce time taken to solve the problem.

Managed services is being provided by all vendors, be it Alcatel-Lucent, Huawei, NSN, Ericsson, and ZTE. Alcatel-Lucent manages RCom's GSM, CDMA, and backbone network. This is also the largest multi-vendor, multi-technology managed services footprint in the country.

In the fiscal, the company has added Uninor's GSM operations for managed services and is presently looking after 8 circles. The company is also managing airtel enterprise network based on fixed WiMax technology. All this network is managed by world-class GNOC or RDC (regional delivery center) located in Bengaluru. This RDC manages several global and Indian operators' networks through standardized tools and processes.

Signing the Deals

2011 holds great significance with Ericsson as it signed key deals with Bharti, Aircel, SSTL, and Idea. Ericsson has signed managed services agreement with Idea for another 3 years. The contract is valid for 5 circles (Mumbai, Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, North East, and Assam) and Ericsson will be responsible for managing network and field operations, operation and maintenance activities for 2G and 3G sites, network design and planning, network performance improvement, and program management for infrastructure.

Ericsson has also signed up with Bharti airtel across 15 circles for 5 years. In addition to the standard portfolio of managed services, Ericsson will also take responsibility for the intelligent network that manages Bharti airtel's prepaid customer base.

Augere has selected Ericsson to offer end-to-end TD-LTE solutions including managed services for Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh under ZOOSH brand. The partnership is for 14 cities and is valid for 3 years. Sistema Shyam Teleservices has extended its managed services contract with Ericsson and added 4 new CDMA circles for 3 years. The agreement also includes management of fiber transport and wireline networks in Rajasthan.

Huawei does managed services for Tata, Aircel, Uninor, and Idea. To give a big boost to managed services, Huawei opened its first GNOC (Global Network Operations Center) outside of China in Bengaluru. The GNOC complements existing Network Operation Center (NOC) located in New Delhi. The center will help in providing professional services such as network design, customer support, network optimization, systems integration, and network transformation for both in-country and off-shore operators.

NSN has done pretty well on managed services and has also fared well where operators are looking for managed services partner with multi-vendor capabilities. On managed services, the company extended its contract with Bharti airtel for 5 years in 8 circles.

Under the contract, NSN will manage and maintain Bharti airtel's 3G and GSM networks as well as iWAN (internet Wireless Access Network), the operator's enterprise broadband service. The company has managed services agreement for 7 operators-Bharti, Idea, Aircel, Vodafone, Tata, Uninor, and others.

ZTE has ongoing 2G deals with Idea, Aircel, Etisalat, and Tata and on 3G, the company has ongoing deals with Reliance and Aircel. The company has been providing managed services to Tata Teleservices, Aircel, Sistema Shyam, and STel. ZTE's GNOC has been operational in Gurgaon and helps operators' manage their operations.

Future Play

With networks becoming complex, operators are opting for managed services model to reduce opex, capex, and improving end-user experience. Service providers are also looking at innovative delivery models as there is a shift from network-centric approach to service-centric approach. Even there is a shift from traditional services model to focus on end-customer experience.

Expansion of 3G networks and rollout of 4G networks is driving demand for managed services. Managed services allow operators expertise in technology and a clear cost structure through which they can enhance value and reduce network operating costs. All this saving results in investment in innovation, sales, and customer management. So, in high growth markets, it helps in handling rapidly growing customer base whereas in mature markets it helps in reducing churn.

With Trai laying a lot of emphasis on green energy, the operators need to focus on energy management in a big way through managed services. And lastly, we will also see active sharing being provided through managed services but this is still a far fetched dream.