Industry Thought Leadership

Reducing Complexity in the Roaming Business

June, 2017
Nasser Salim
General Manager

Emirates Data Clearing House

Data clearing services industry helps reduces the complexity in a roaming business, both the data and financial clearing elements. Customers today have an improved cost efficiency and maximum convenience being able to make better decisions through comprehensive reporting tools.

Emirates Data Clearing House (EDCH) is the only company in the Middle East that has established itself in the roaming clearing services industry working with GSM mobile operators across Middle East, Africa, Asia and Europe. Its core services today include Data Clearing, Financial Clearing, Revenue Assurance, Value Added Services, Mobile Financial Services and other customized solutions.

Going Beyond Data Clearing
Moving ahead, EDCH is looking to evolve and go beyond data clearing house core services with value added offerings to operators based on their changing requirements. EDCH wants mobile operators to see them as a reliable intelligent roaming and revenue management partner who continuously strive to help grow their business.

As the overall mobile network operators revenue from voice and SMS continues to diminish every year it is essential to focus on business areas that provide long term revenue and growth. It’s also not feasible to rely only on data but start focusing on value added services (VAS). EDCH is already investing in moving its focus from core services to building innovative value added services. The value added offering is mainly its Mobile Financial Services Hub (MFSH) which is a new service introduced for all customers. This is a key differentiator to globally support customer acquisition, retention and increase revenues for clients present in the EDCH mobile financial services hub.

Addressing Challenges
EDCH’s continuous interaction with its global clientele has seen that mobile network operators are struggling to retain their customers in today’s competitive environment, maintain revenue and increase profit. For the end users, it’s all about cost savings and the best customer experience.

EDCH has always invested in technologies and services to meet various requirements of its clientele across markets. The mobile financial services hub works closely with mobile network operators to manage their needs from initialization to realization. EDCH has managed to establish itself as a turnkey solution provider with its unique solutions helping clients meet the changing market environment and address the challenges faced by them.

Monetizing Network Investments
EDCH primarily focuses on roaming clearing and play a major role in monetizing operator’s roaming data by developing analytical tools that can help clients to plan, implement, monitor, predict and settle roaming agreements with special discount leading to cost savings and generate revenues. With fraud threats impacting the business environment it has become integral to support customers in minimizing these risks by working closely with them in preventing these threats.

Threats Faced by Operators
With technology innovation and advancement impacting all aspects of businesses today, it’s become a challenge for businesses to innovate and launch new business propositions in the market. Companies invest in creating new products and services however in today’s competitive scenario face the threat of cannibilisation of products and services.

Upcoming Trends in the Next Gen Revenue Management Space
As companies get more customer centric and launch new initiatives to enter new markets, they are constantly looking to create new business models to improve operational performance. They are investing in analytical tools to capture relevant data and use business intelligence to analyse business performance and create avenues for business growth.

Enterprises are investing in creating tools for predictive data analysis as it helps them chart out their business path in the future. Business are also looking at aggressively building their online platforms with the right tools as this has become top priority for growth today. This is the best way to reach out to audiences across markets to meet their various requirements.

EDCH in Asia Pacific Markets
The next level of growth is from developing markets with an expectation of high business volumes. Inspite of a low ARPU, these markets have low ARPU and present vast opportunities. This is mainly due to the increasing adoption of technology and these markets are tech savvy with a majority of them being early adopters. They are also willing to pay for premium services and quick to adapt new technology and services. With the regulatory environment becoming more conducive to online business and its platforms, these countries will gain more popularity and be one of the top destinations to conduct business.

Plans in 2017 for Business Growth
EDCH plans to focus on carrier grade WiFi, SIM based authentication, data and financial clearing across the markets to expand its business footprint with a successful business portfolio.

With operators globally focusing on roaming, EDCH was closely working with Sudatel in Africa to provide international WiFi roaming services to enable subscribers to use these services at a cost lower than roaming data. This development will also help subscribers to recharge their local SIM card with the recharge vouchers while roaming abroad. In this case subscribers can retain their home number while roaming internationally. EDCH is currently providing both WiFi hub services and recharge everywhere to Sudatel with state of the art technical architecture. They have also signed a strategic alliance with Roshan Telecommunication Afghanistan for recharge everywhere services and look forward to growing this partnership further.

Today, EDCH is among the top global five data clearing houses and gives us a unique positioning as they are part of Etisalat Group. EDCH’s plan to invest further in relationships, technologies and services to achieve further milestones. As diversification is key to business growth, it is integral to increase market share across MEA and APAC region with a strong focus on venturing into new product domains. EDCH believes that the mobile financial services hub can grow and has tremendous potential in the MENA region. It is also important to note that the company strategy should be focused on growing market requirements. Mobile network operators also have an important role to play by focusing on innovative product offerings for retail and loyalty via the MFS platform.