Mạng và viễn thông P46

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Mạng và viễn thông P46

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Public Networks and Telecommunications Service Providers Historically, telecommunications networks have been run by state-owned organizations, who have operated as legally protected monopolies. These organizations tended run telecommunications to in a manner similar other public utility services (electricity, gas, water, etc.), providing only a few to very basic services, but in a reliable and well-engineered fashion, and available at almost any location to anyone who cared to apply.

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  1. Networks and Telecommunications: Design and Operation, Second Edition. Martin P. Clark Copyright © 1991, 1997 John Wiley & Sons Ltd ISBNs: 0-471-97346-7 (Hardback); 0-470-84158-3 (Electronic) 46 ~ ~~ Public Networks and Telecommunications Service Providers Historically, telecommunications networks have been run by state-owned organizations, who have operated as legally protected monopolies. These organizations tended run telecommunications to in a manner similar other public utility services (electricity, gas, water, etc.), providing only a few to very basic services, but in a reliable and well-engineered fashion, and available at almost any location to anyone who cared to apply. Recently, the trend has been to ‘privatize’ the established ‘publictelecommunicationsoperator’(PTO)andallow new operators to setupnetworksin competition. The objectives in so doing are to improve the quality and diversity of available services, while simultaneously reducing unit costs and attracting private capital investment; in other words there is an attempt to make the PTOs more commercially responsive. Where com- petition is now a reality, the public telecommunications operators (PTOs) are forced minimize to running costs to work at maximum efficiency and so keep their prices competitive. In addition, PTOs are forced to adopt a much more commercial attitude towards marketing and business strategy. This chapter reviews briefly how some of the basic principles of marketing may be applied to a telecommunications marketplace and in addition outlines some of the PTOs’ options for business development. 46.1 COMPANY ‘MISSION’ Like any good business, a PTO needs to define its business objectives clearly, including its overall mission and its strategy for achieving it. A typical mission of a PTO might be: 0 to provide a sufficiently diverse range of telecommunications networks and services to meet business (and/or residential) customers needs 831
  2. 832 NETWORKS PUBLIC AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS SERVICE PROVIDERS 0 to provideservices of highquality at afairpriceandtooperate in an efficient manner, developing the business to sustain growth in company earnings 0 (possibly) to accept an obligation to serve the community at large, providing tele- communications remote for areas, other and specialized services forminority groups, including the handicapped 0 to establish and maintain a certain market share The mission needs to be sufficiently clear to motivate company staff appropriately, but sufficiently flexible to allow for change in business circumstances. Realizing the company mission and determining day-to-day strategy is the task of company management. Each of the various functions and organizational departments need to be kept working in concert - serving their customers. It is no good having a brilliantly well-designed product orservice, if the customers for whom it intended are is so unaware of it that they do not buy it. Similarly if it is far too expensive, not well enough made, simply too difficult to purchase, or if the customer service is poor, then customers will not want to buy it. 46.2 IDENTIFYING AND ADDRESSING THEPTO’S MARKET The first part ofaPTO’smarketingprogrammemustbe to identifyacustomer requirement. A good deal of insight, imagination and research is required to analyse potentialwaysinwhichacustomer’sbusinesscan be improved by aproduct or service,in returnforpayment.Theproductor servicemay makethe customer’s activity easier, more effective, cheaper, more enjoyable, or may be attractive for some other reason. A large PTO will be wise to maintain a balanced portfolio of products and services. Dependence on too few products leaves a company prone to rapid loss of business whenever there is a sudden and significant change in market demand, or when a rival company rapidly introduces a much better product. Nonetheless, each product must be of clearly defined in terms the customers need that serves.In classical marketing terms it this means getting the four P’s right: product, price,place and promotion. In PTO service terms we interpret these as follows: 46.2.1 The Product Telecommunications products (or services) shouldnot be specified only in termsof their technical characteristics; the quality and customer service aspects the product should of be defined as well. The ‘quality’ is not only the service or manufacturing quality, but also the target in-service reliability and back-up measures any). The customer (if service arrangementsshouldincludeanynecessaryenquiryservice, and thestandardand expected speed of repair should be defined.
  3. IDENTIFYING AND ADDRESSING THE MARKETPTO’S 833 46.2.2 The Price Price is an important consideration in the customer’s final decision whether or not to purchase. The customer may be unable to afford too high a price, no matter how ‘fair’ the price may be for a very high quality product. Paradoxically, however, too low a price may produce customer perceptions of a low quality product. As a first estimateof a suitable price, it valuable to undertake a ‘cost-plus’ analysis. is Figure 46.1 illustrates the costs and revenue associated with a given product. Costs includefixed costs and variable costs. Fixed costs are those costs that are notrelated to sales volume. For the telephone service, the fixed costs are the costs of the telephones and the exchanges. These items are needed by all customers, irrespective of how many calls they make. The variable costs include those associated with the lines interconnecting different exchanges. The number of circuits provided (and so the cost of them) can be adjustedto costs and revenue Number Break even o f units Less I sold units f- I More [loss) 1 units I (profit) Figure 46.1 Determiningproduct price
  4. 834 NETWORKS PUBLIC AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS SERVICE PROVIDERS match actual the inter-exchange demand. call Othervariablecosts include those associated with staff costs (service level could be adjusted), administration, etc. The revenue from the telephoneservice is the total money collected, and it is equal to the total numberof call minutes times the price charged per minute. The relationship of costs and revenues is as shown in Figure 46.1. The break even point shown on Figure 46.1, is the point at which the revenue just equals the costs. At this ‘point’, sufficient products (i.e. calls or whatever) have been made for the company to break even. Selling fewer units than this will result in a loss. Selling more will generate a profit. The number of units that have to be sold to break even can be adjusted, by adjusting the price charged for each unit. The higher the price charged to customers for each ‘unit’, the smaller the number of units that need to be sold in order to break even. This is also illustrated in Figure 46.1. The degree to which the number of sales is sensitive to price is known as the price elasticity. Normally, one expects a lower price to attract more sales and a higher price to deter sales; but different products have different price elasticities, so that with some productsa higher has price little effect on number the sold, whereas for other commodity products the only important factor in the buyer’s decision may be which competitor’s product is the cheapest. 46.2.3 The Place The place at whicha productor service is available is also important.For some products, customers’ loyalty will make them travel long distances to purchase a given ‘brand’ of product. For other products (for example, foodstuffs) the customer is likely to choose from the brands available on the nearest supplier’s shelf (e.g. supermarket). The placeelementofatelecommunicationsmarketingplanneeds to lay out the geographic availability of the service (for example ‘lines are available nationwide’ or ‘lines are available in major cities’). The plan also needs to lay out the location of sales and customer support staff, and the method by which customers may ‘buy’ the service (e.g. by going to the local telephone office, or by calling a freephone number, etc.). 46.2.4 Promotion Promotion is the means by which the intended customers of a productor service get to hear about it. Including ‘advertising’ and ‘publicity’, the reader willbe familiar with many techniques used in this field. 46.3 PTOPRODUCT DEVELOPMENT Duringproductdevelopment, it is helpful to developaset of documentationand proceduresdetailingtheproduct,itslaunchandsubsequentsupport.Onepossible means of doing thisis by means of a ‘product manual’. Suggested topics to be covered in such a manual are given below.
  5. PTO PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT 835 46.3.1 Product Manual e A full description of the product (or service), describing its customer applications and itstechnicalattributes, including precisely how customers’ equipment is connected to the network. e The competing products internal (both products and those of competing companies); the expected product lifetime,and the changeover strategy for products which it is planned to replace. e The geographic availability of the product and any relevant service availability or ‘upgrade’ dates. m The expected reliability of the product, and the methodology for pre-service and in- service quality assurance monitoring checks. e The price of the product and any discounts; the warranty,service, maintenance and regulatory conditions. e Safety and Technical Standards may need to be declared. Customer premises equipment ( C P E ) may have to be type-approved for connection to the network. Data protection regulations may apply to the computer storage of personal data (e.g. addresses) and further regulations are likely to govern communications secrecy, i.e. maintaining the confidentiality of information or other messages carried on behalf of customers. m Is the product to be sold by direct sales or will an agency outlet be used? What advertising and promotional methods will be used? e Is the product tobe sold and transported to thecustomer’s premises (e.g.an item of CPE)? Or does it need specialized installation, in the case a network access wire as of to the customer’s premises (for a Network service)? Products and back-up spares should either be freely available to meet the demand of customers or be deliverable within the target lead-time. e Ordering times installation lead and durationtimes need to be determined. Resources need to be allocated, and training given to company staff. An ordering procedure should to be established. 0 Salestargetsand incentivesneed to beset. An exhibitionsuiteisneeded to demonstrate complex services, and shops are needed for retail sales. A full price list must be available. e Records of customer names, and of the applications to which products will be put, can be invaluable. For example, knowledge the that telephone line is used predominantly in conjunction with a facsimile machine may help maintenance and network design staff. m A telephone number is needed for customer enquiries and fault reporting. 0 Adequate training needs to be given to all staff, and reference information made available.
  6. 836 NETWORKS PUBLIC AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS SERVICE PROVIDERS 0 Means and procedures are needed to measure the ongoing performance of the prod- uct, not just in technical, quality and reliability terms, but also from the marketing and sales perspective, and in financial viability terms. 0 A proper procedure should be established for updating the product manual. 46.4 PTO BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT Finally, we consider the directions in which the world’s major public telecommunica- tions companies are likely to evolve and develop their business over the next few years. Historically,mostPTOswererestrictedtoprovidingtelecommunicationsnetwork services within a single country, with international extension of network services made available as a result of bilateral agreement between two or more PTOs. Figure 46.2 illustratestypical a spread a ofPTOs currentactivities, the with predomination of business in thehome country. Most business is in ‘basic the interconnection market’, though there is growing business resulting from international traffic interconnection, and there may be a considerable source of income from CPE sales and value-added services. From this position, PTO each must develop business its strategy,takinginto considerationanumber of factors,including size, legal constraints,thedegree of deregulation in its home market, the sophistication of its customers, the degree of its network development and its capital resources. One PTO may decide that its appropriate short termgoal is simply to make its established business grow in financial terms, without a significant change emphasis in of 1 Information technology and value -added service markets c PE sales, cellular radioetc. Home country \ Overseas markets market * lnternational traffic Main business i n basichome market telecomms Basictelecommunications interconnection market Figure 46.2 Typical PTO business (late 1980s)
  7. PTO 837 itssphere of activity. In thiscase, the activity and resources of thePTOcan be concentrated on developing the sophisticationof its established network, on increasing itscoverage area (perhaps by increasingthe proportion of households with a tele- phone), and maybe by diversifying the number of basic services offered (for example, by introducing a packet switched data network). In support of this strategy, finance is needed for network developments, modernization, research and development (R&D) and product innovation in the home market, and revenuereturnaccruesfromthe expanded home customer base, until the point of home market saturation is reached. In contrast, some of the world’s large PTOs, already operating in deregulated and well developed home markets, appear to wish to diversify their business into other spheres of activity. Opportunities for diversification include the specialist international service markets, and the whole field of value-added and information services. It seems possible that by the early 21st century a small number of major PTOs will have grown into large international conglomerates with spheres of business activity much wider than their previous operations. Notably British Telecom (BT), AT&T,France Telecom, DeutscheTelekom, MCI,Sprint,Unisource (a joint ventureofthe PTTs of the Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland) andCable & Wireless appearto havethis goal. Figure 46.3, illustrates an example in which a PTO’s business is diversified over a large range of markets throughout the world, with steady and balanced growth in each of the markets. How will these companies achieve thislevel of expansion? Well, their first stepwill be the generation of spare cash from their established business. Then, diversification into the new markets will come about by financial venture in those countries where new deregulation permits it, by joint venture or by simple company acquisition. We can @ Balanced business expansion t Informationtechnology and value -added service markets Basictelecommunications interconnection market Figure 46.3 Business sphere of major international PTOs (mid to late 1990s)
  8. 838 NETWORKS PUBLIC AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS SERVICE PROVIDERS thereforeexpecttheestablishmentoracquisition of anumber of PTO subsidiary companies.Largelyautonomousat first,thesecompaniesmay be keptsmall and dynamic to cope with the initial market entry, but will be able to call on the massive resources of the parent. Later on, fuller integration of the subsidiary organization into the main company structure may help further development of the company’s ‘core’ business. EachPTO’s primebusiness and itsprimecompetitors will constantly be changing. We may see majoralliances of PTOs withtelecommunicationsmanufac- turers, computer hardware and software suppliers, and may even see enormous PTO conglomerates, operating in a numberof regions of the world. Aspirations to become a ‘global’ PTO have already been demonstrated by a number of PTOs, which have sought variously to infiltrate overseas CPE markets or to run foreign networks on a franchise basis. Some PTOs are already in close joint cooperation, specifically aiming to meet the telecommunications and value-added service needs of the world’s multi-national corp- orations. This is a crucial market, since the top 60 corporations have annual turnover between E 10 billion and E100 billion, and valuable telecommunications business. PTOs will ignore this business at their peril. In Europe we can expect a fight for the domination of the single European market ( S E M ) in the European Union and a ‘goldrush’-like scrambling between western PTOs as they attempttocapturemarketshare intheunder-developed parts of eastern Europe. The fight for the North American domestic market is already raging and the gloves are off for the world market battle! A major business conflict in prospect, and is we can expect some of the world’s major PTOs, as well as some computer and tele- communications equipment manufacturers, to get bruised on the way! Let the fittest company survive!
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