Telecom Italia Sparkle is a wholly owned subsidiary of Telecom Italia, created in 2003 to develop and consolidate the Italian Group's international wholesale and retail business. Telecom Italia Sparkle is a full-service provider, offering a complete range of solutions spanning voice, IP, bandwidth/managed data services for fixed-line and mobile operators and a complete set of services for mobile operators (Global Signaling, ANSI/ITU conversion, GRX, SMS Antifraud-Antispam, SMS Hub, MMS Hub, Enhanced Roaming Services, mVAS, etc.). Telecom Italia Sparkle is ranked number one in voice services revenue in Europe. The mobile operator sponsoring Telecom Italia Sparkle/Mobileum's Roaming Replicator Solution is TIM Italia, running a GSM, EDGE, UMTS and HSPDA network throughout Italy.
Smaller, or newer, mobile operators interested in offering highly profitable international roaming services to their subscribers face the daunting task of establishing individual, bilateral roaming partnerships. This process can be complicated and time-consuming, delaying the inflow of revenues by months. Even if an operator has existing agreements, it must again navigate the negotiation and testing process if it wants to launch new services, such as GPRS, CAMEL or 3G roaming.
As a leading mobile operator, Telecom Italia Sparkle's sponsor network (TIM) has negotiated International Roaming Agreements with nearly 500 operators around the world. How could it leverage those agreements to garner incremental revenues and profits?
Mobileum's Roaming Replicator is designed to enable operators with extensive roaming relationships and infrastructure to leverage these assets. By installing the Roaming Replicator hub, an operator can offer smaller operators immediate access to all of its roaming relationships, thereby accelerating their ability to offer roaming services. "We analyzed the addressable market of small and mid-sized operators and estimated that we could make a profit, even if only five percent of their roaming traffic was routed through our hub," says FabrizioGelli, Head of Mobile Marketing at Telecom Italia Sparkle. "Based on that analysis, we decided to enter into a partnership with Mobileum using the Roaming Replicator."
Mobileum's Roaming Replicator supports voice calls and roaming short and multimedia messaging, with optional support for GPRS, CAMEL and 3G roaming. It is highly configurable to the needs of the operator. For example, the hub can handle all roaming traffic from a sponsored operator, or only the traffic not already covered by existing bilateral agreements that the sponsored operator has entered.
BASE deployed the Mobileum solution in June 2006. Mobileum was very supportive during and after the implementation. "They worked with us every step along the way," says Stevens. "In addition, the product has been very easy to use."
By addressing the international roaming needs of smaller operators, Telecom Italia Sparkle expects to generate sizable incremental revenues in 2008. The future looks bright for Telecom Italia Sparkle's hub-based roaming service because it has enabled newer operators to extend their roaming capabilities around the globe easily, without tedious negotiations and testing on an operator-by-operator basis. The company expects to sponsor at least six more operators in 2008.
"Both operators are very pleased with the service and the numbers are good. We have been very satisfied with the level of support received from the Mobileum team"
- FabrizioGelli, Head of Mobile Marketing, Telecom Italia Sparkle
Telecom Italia Sparkle launched the Roaming Replicator hub in November 2007 and immediately signed up two operators in the Nordic region for outbound roaming. The service supports GPRS and CAMEL roamers (dual IMSI). According to TIM, both the operators were very pleased with the service and the numbers were good. The level of support received from Mobileum added to their satisfaction.
In addition to the approximately 500 voice roaming partnerships, Telecom Italia Sparkle currently offers its sponsored operators access to nearly 250 GPRS networks, 150 CAMEL networks and 50 UMTS networks around the world. The ability to extend CAMEL agreements is key, as prepaid subscribers represent the largest growth opportunity for international roaming.