One of Global Voice Group’s (GVG) many strengths is that the company continuously innovates in order to adapt its solutions to its clients’ changing requirements in the dynamic and ever-evolving telecom environment.
The availability and popularity of Smartphones and other portable devices that provide easy, on-the- go access to the Internet and to web-based communication services has greatly changed the telecom landscape by causing the data traffic to increase exponentially. This led GVG to develop a new platform, the DMS, with a view to helping their government clients to improve their visibility of the booming data traffic.
Michel Cauchy, GVG’s Director of Corporate Communications, answers a few essential questions about the DMS.
- What is the DMS?
DMS stands for Data Monitoring System. Roughly speaking, it consists of a computerized tool that measures and analyses the Data and Internet traffic flow going through the telecom networks of a given country.
- GVG is best known for developing telecommunications traffic measurement, analysis and billing systems. What prompted the company to add a Data Monitoring System to its offering?
The telecom industry is a technology-driven sector that is constantly evolving, and so are the solutions we develop at GVG to efficiently assist telecom regulators and governments in ensuring revenue mobilization and regulatory oversight throughout this important sector. The only thing that never changed at GVG, since our foundation twenty years ago, is our core mission. We are here to ensure that authorities get a firm grip on all aspects of the industry that can impact on government’s revenue, consumers’ interests, national security, and overall compliance to taxes, policies and regulations. Data services certainly count among the most important aspects of the telecom sector right now. In many markets, they are even overtaking traditional voice services in terms of volume and revenue. We saw it coming for a long time at GVG.
- Why is it important for governments and telecom regulatory authorities to measure and analyse data consumption in their country?
First of all, data consumption measurement and analysis is of paramount importance, not only for the governments and regulators, but also for the operators. Indeed, many of the latter us tools similar to our DMS, such as Deep Packet Inspection and other systems, to monitor data and bandwidth consumption within their networks for management, security, planning and commercial purposes. This is done primarily to serve the particular interests of a telecom provider whose core business increasingly consists in selling mobile broadband to people, through prepaid and post-paid bundles. The DMS provides the same capacity to telecom authorities and governments in order to serve the wider interests of the State and the public. What is the real impact of mobile Internet on the tax base? How does the market evolve? What are the areas of concerns for the government? The regulator? The consumers? The industry? How do we plan ahead? What do we decide and how do we monitor the outcomes of our decisions? The DMS is the information backbone that allows governments and agencies to properly answer those questions.
- It is difficult to talk about data communication without encountering references to Over-the-Top operators, or OTTs. Could you explain what they are?
Actually, the OTTs represent the central issue here, to such an extent that they are sometimes presented as the “bad guys” who cannibalize telecom revenues and harm the tax base of governments. The term OTT designates any service or application that provides a product over the Internet and bypasses traditional distribution. In many cases, they offer a completely new product or service; in others, they offer a free or much cheaper substitute to traditional services already provided by telecom companies, such as Voice Over IP as a substitute for traditional calling services. There are a multitude of OTTs of different sizes operating from the Internet. It ranges from the small OTTs that offer specific applications and contents to the Internet giants that offer a wide range of products, including messaging and calling platforms that are in direct competition with those of the telecom providers. Overall, there is a bright side to this OTT revolution. It brings a multitude of new services and applications that often have a positive impact on the life of billions of users. It fosters creativity and progress at an unprecedented scale. It also creates huge demand for mobile broadband, which in turn creates new revenue streams for the telecom operators. However, in many markets, and particularly in emerging countries, revenue from mobile broadband barely compensates for declining voice and messaging revenue. More importantly, telecom operators face increasing competition from Internet-based OTTs that are not subject to the same regulation and tax regime. This entails huge implications for the governments that strive to protect and widen their tax base, while maintaining an effective regulatory environment that reflects the evolution of the telecom industry in a digitized world. These implications go far beyond the telecom sector. They raise questions about virtually all socio-economic aspects of a given country, including its capacity to mobilize domestic revenue and its fair participation in the global digitized economy.
- How does your DMS solution address the challenges linked to the OTTs’ activities?
The DMS is all about information, and not just general information found in periodic reports from foreign agencies and organizations, but real-time, accurate and country-specific information. The platform allows governments and state agencies to know for sure what is really going on in their respective countries. It shows both the big picture and the details of the Data services market.
- What can a government or a regulator do with such information?
First of all, before you decide or do anything as a government or a regulator, you need reliable information. Without it, you are blind, helpless and vulnerable to misguidance and undue pressures. With the DMS, a continuous flow of information is collected, structured, and analysed for critical purposes. Overall, the platform allows governments and relevant authorities to stay abreast of the evolution of data services in their respective countries. This continuously updated country-specific information informs the decision- and policy-making processes and makes it possible to monitor the market in real time.
- Why do governments and regulators need systems like the DMS when they could simply get the information from the telecom operators?
We’re talking about real-time, exhaustive and continuously updated information here, not partial reports provided by operators on demand or on a quarterly or yearly basis. We’re talking about timely and actionable information, not rough statistics that are already outdated by the time regulators wrap up their annual reports. We live in an increasingly connected world. Governments and regulators want to take advantage of this connectivity to connect themselves to the data sources for greater efficiency, better visibility and increased transparency. That’s basically what the DMS does. It connects the authorities to the data sources, and it does that in a non-intrusive manner without affecting data services in any way.
- What about privacy laws? Does the DMS comply with them?
The DMS is a neutral tool. If you purchase security cameras for your store or your office, nobody questions the compliance of these devices with privacy laws insofar as you don’t install them in the restrooms. Likewise, the DMS only shows what it is allowed to show. It mainly focuses on key indicators such as bandwidth consumption and OTT trends.
We invite you to visit GVG’s website for a complement of information on the various functionalities and benefits of our DMS solution.