We caught up with William Oliver, Senior Director of Product Management at Syniverse, to discuss the evolution of the wholesale roaming market and how operators can better manage their cashflow

Today, mobile operators are handling more roaming traffic than ever before, necessitating wholesale roaming agreements with hundreds of partners all over the world. These agreements carry varying degrees of complexity and regularly require massive manual calculations, particularly when it comes to discounts.

“You’re typically doing monthly billing to each other on wholesale roaming price. But if you’ve agreed a discount then after a year the operators need to calculate how much of a discount they need to give each other on that roaming traffic. That takes a long time – it may even be the quarter after the end-of-year period before you get the settlement for that discounted traffic. If you think of multiplying that by 500 or 600 roaming relationships, that’s a significant amount of work!” explained William Oliver, Senior Director of Product Management at Syniverse.

Not only is this process inefficient, it can also produce a major strain on an operator’s cash flow. To help reduce this impact, most operators use a technique known as ‘netting’, whereby the difference between two parties’ roaming bills is calculated and only this net value is paid. This cuts the number of transactions in half and reduces their size.

But Oliver notes that this concept can be taken even further, with Syniverse using ‘multilateral netting’ to calculate the net fees owed across a larger pool of operators that all have customers roaming on each other’s networks.

“We’re able to calculate quite accurately how much they are each going to pay each other at the end of the settlement cycle. We can take the receivable funds coming into an operator and use them to reduce their outgoings. That’s a really good way of optimising cash flow,” explained Oliver. “It’s the roaming departments obligation to protect those crown jewels – company cash flow.”

In fact, multilateral netting can even be made more efficient by expanding the process beyond just roaming bills to also incorporate additional payments between operators, including SMS interworking, IoT discounting, application-to-person (A2P) messaging, Rich Communication Services, and Billing and Charging Evolution (BCE).

The amount of transactions being handled here should not be underestimated. Indeed, aggregating all of these different forms of payment, Syniverse’s platform is clearing and settling around $4 billion a year and processing roughly 140,000 invoices monthly.

You can view our full interview with William Oliver from the link below

Want to learn more about maximising your roaming potential? Join Syniverse on their webinar ‘The five secrets to scaling wholesale roaming profitability’ on September 14 at 3pm. Register here

Also in the news:
Verizon strikes $2.1bn Managed Network Services deal with HCLTech
Cisco to buy-out Telenor from Working Group Two JV
Poland’s ‘largest ever’ broadband subsidy draws 300 applications