A Lack of Advice about Revenue Assurance for 5G

When you organize conferences you soon learn to predict the subjects that telcos will want on the agenda. The most predictable demand is for presentations about the impact on revenue assurance whenever another ‘G’ is added to mobile networks, and the same has happened with 5G. Several RA managers asked for advice about the latest generational upgrade to be covered by the agendas for RAG Bonn and RAG Toronto. This prompted some familiar frustrations; an audience may want to learn about a topic but that does not make it easier to find a speaker willing to teach them. The most obvious experts in any new technology are the businesses responsible for making it, but the manufacturers of 5G equipment show as little interest in assisting telcos to manage the risks associated with 5G as they did with 4G and 3G, even though the most ignorant equipment vendor must have heard of revenue leakage by now.

I have lost count of the times my requests for expert speakers have been rebuffed by network manufacturers, even though I make it clear that nobody is asking them for money. Talking about risk management should be seen as a way to promote sales – would you prefer to buy a car from a business that shows you how the brakes work, or from one which refuses to tell you about them? Ericsson, Huawei and Nokia employ half a million people between them, but cannot spare a single person to talk about 5G revenue assurance for an hour.

The attitude of these huge multinationals is that revenue assurance is too small to be taken seriously, despite all those estimates that assert leakage is worth a percentage point of global telecoms revenues. With such a standoffish attitude from manufacturers, is it any wonder that professionals working in risk and assurance typically complain they must play ‘catch-up’ with decisions that have been made elsewhere? In what sense can telcos manage risks if all the important decisions are made before a risk manager can evaluate the consequences?

This ebook from WeDo gives a decent overview of the ways revenue assurance teams will need to adapt to 5G. WeDo are the RAFM market leaders, with revenues of around USD70mn a year, so they are fulfilling their duty by also taking a lead with educating telcos. But telcos are expected to spend over 2 trillion dollars on 5G infrastructure, raising an important question about the reasons equipment manufacturers like Ericsson, Huawei and Nokia are so cheap when it comes to advising their customers on how to manage their risks.

Eric Priezkalns
Eric Priezkalns
Eric is the Editor of Commsrisk. Look here for more about the history of Commsrisk and the role played by Eric.

Eric is also the Chief Executive of the Risk & Assurance Group (RAG), a global association of professionals working in risk management and business assurance for communications providers.

Previously Eric was Director of Risk Management for Qatar Telecom and he has worked with Cable & Wireless, T‑Mobile, Sky, Worldcom and other telcos. He was lead author of Revenue Assurance: Expert Opinions for Communications Providers, published by CRC Press. He is a qualified chartered accountant, with degrees in information systems, and in mathematics and philosophy.