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In six short months, the Coronavirus pandemic touched almost every corner of the world. A ‘once in a generation’ global event is creating a “New Normal” to which we all have to adapt. For some telecom operators, it is spurring more advances in their digital transformation than any other effort over the past five years. For others, COVID-19 has created a myriad of roaming, network security, fraud prevention, and business assurance opportunities and challenges.

These areas were top of mind concerns for this year’s Virtual WeMeet attendees, hosted virtually on June 23-25, 2020. In fact, a poll taken of the 200 attendees from 90 global communications service providers found that since the COVID-19 outbreak:

- 75% were experiencing new or emerging incidences of fraud
- 61% said network security threats increased or significantly increased

Interestingly, the same poll found that for the majority of attendees, the impact of COVID-19 would not change their 5G or IoT roaming plans (70% and 75% respectively).

These two scenarios: whereby the push to roll out new 5G and IoT roaming services is happening against a backdrop of increasing fraud and network security risks is creating a tightrope for Communication Service Providers (CSPs) to mitigate the risk when chasing the reward.  

This is because the complexity of the communications landscape expands exponentially as 5G adoption accelerates. For network security, 5G demands will see security teams managing multiple network domains. But with the arrival of network slices, they will also need to oversee the thousands of roaming partners. Roaming, in itself, becomes more important in 5G, whereby CSPs need to know what the customer experience will be like for their roaming customers, especially if their roaming partner doesn’t offer 5G. And the all-important measurement, SLAs, will become commonplace for 5G services, so being able to manage SLAs will be critical in the 5G era. 

“As the world adjusts to the new normal, CSPs are right at the epicenter of the change that is happening now and in the 5G future. The traditional lines of delineation between what belongs in the network security, fraud, assurance, and customer experience domains can no longer exist. Instead, CSPs need to create an ecosystem where people across the domain ‘lines’ bring not only their technical knowledge but their business knowledge,” commented Avnish Chauhan, Mobileum’s CTO, during the opening address.

Data and analytics are also at the heart of driving this new normal forward. CSPs need to analyze the data from signaling, OSS/BSS, CDRs to the handset, and applications, such as social networks, to really understand what is happening in the network. This is where automation, analytics, and AI will be critical tools in a CSP’s arsenal to predict, detect, respond, and protect their network from security and fraud threats, capture 5G revenues, support new business models, and ensure an enhanced customer experience for roaming customers.

Our annual user conference is an important way of sharing insights and expertise and driving innovation across the roaming, network security, fraud, and business assurance spaces. During these uncertain times, we did not want to let the pandemic prevent us from doing the same this year. We would like to thank the speakers from du, Econet Wireless Zimbabwe, KT Corporation, Optus, STC Saudi Arabia, Unitel Angola, Vodafone Albania, Vodafone Group, and Xfinity Mobile for sharing their insights throughout the conference.

We look forward to welcoming you to our WeMeet User Conference in 2021 – hopefully in-person.

If you want to learn more, please contact us.

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