Just a few short months ago, it was hard to imagine the transformational turn our lives were about to take as we were ringing in the new year and welcoming a new decade. The pandemic has at every level - learning, shopping, socializing, and working - changed everything we know.
For example, the working environment will never be the same, influencing how we interact with each other and, in turn, how we do business. It may seem short term, but triggers like these unknowingly change our behaviour forever.
Social interaction and networking have always been the core of the job of a Wholesale Manager. Without the grind of meetings with our colleagues at gatherings such as the GSMA WAS event, we do not feel as if we have accomplished all that we could have. As representatives of our organizations, we need to meet our peers and network to advance our business cases. In the current situation, however, we have had to make do with virtual meetings. No handshakes, no social gesture, no debates, and no more business lunches or the wonderful WAS after-parties. So, how much has changed?
In the more immediate term, the situation is quite grim. With travel bans imposed by most countries, analyst firm Analysys Mason forecasts a decline in international roaming of over 80%, with full recovery not expected until 2021.. Some of the critical challenges Wholesale managers will face are:
- Reduced roaming traffic (users and usage)
- Cost commitments difficulties due to lower traffic
- Budget revisions based on new forecasts
- Challenges managing accrual and cash flow effectively- Decreased service revenues
It is no more about your traffic or mine, but of collectively working towards how to optimize the declining numbers best and mitigate losses by renegotiating commitments. There is little we can do to influence traffic. We have been forced to look back at the most forgotten ‘force majeure’ clause in our contract. These times call for quick actions, as this jolt to our industry impacts not only regional partners but also partners across the world.
Although the problem is shared, the situation is being handled differently across the globe. Some countries are feeling the impact more adversely than others. This diversity means Wholesale managers need to be selective and isolate the problems at a partner level. Daily tracking of dynamically changing traffic is necessary to understand which countries and partners are feeling the repercussions the most. Proactively tracking the consequences of the loss of roamers is the first step in taking corrective actions.
There is an overburdening quantity of measures that need to be taken across partners, from knowing where to look for the most significant impact and singling out the best-case scenario in this ever-changing forecast. When the usual algorithms have failed, there is a need to have a nimble prediction that eliminates outlier traffic and calculates the scalable response to fluctuating volumes.
While there is a need for renegotiating, operators need to be careful with what numbers they are willing to commit for ‘end of year’ deals. The most optimal scenario would be somewhere in between the best and worst-case, which keeps all options open. The impact of revision not only has implications for the operator but has a cascading effect on other operators and groups as well. Moreover, it’s all tied into the budget that we so painfully achieved at the end of last year. For mid-year deals in this competitive market, there is a thin line to under committing or not committing at all. Assimilating such large volumes of data and crunching it makes one sink back. Innovative solutions are needed to bring together all data sets, apply machine learning, and present it in simple dashboards for consumption.
If you are interested in learning more about how Mobileum can help optimize your Wholesale Business, contact us. And of course, please feel free to share this article with your colleagues from Wholesale Roaming and Interconnect Business!