Scary Numbers! or is it??

Reaping benefit of having news feeds from Google on key words, I get to know a lot of publications on revenue management across the globe. So Thanks to Google, this article here caught my attention — almost instantly! “Mobile network operators face losing $300 billion due to fraud and billing error“– so says the heading. Now that is a scary number….. USD $ 300 BILLION!!!! or is it??

I am not sure as to how to react to such figures. Having worked with revenue management vendors, I can safely say, it is extremely hard to get the actual numbers from the operators. For most purposes, even if the operators praise the product and acknowledges the benefits they have obtained as ROI, I have hardly met an operator who allows publishing the actual numbers of leakage/RA FM loss/ ROI from the revenue management product. Well, as a product manager I can say it definitely gets irritating at times when I cannot proclaim the actual benefits of my product even when I know of the benefits.

This situation or when I read of such numbers makes me question the authenticity of such numbers, and hence in this short post I seek Your comments to the extent of leakage that You may have seen in real life – actual numbers!


Moinak Banerjee
Moinak works at Protiviti Kuwait, as Product Lead for their Risk Technology Services. Over the years, he has worked in product management for several leading vendors of telecom OSS/BSS software.

2 Comments on "Scary Numbers! or is it??"

  1. Good luck!! It is incredibly hard to get people to give good data. It is even harder to tell how they answered the question – and hence how to compare one answer to another.

    I saw one industry association – I won’t name names but smart people will correctly guess who I am talking about – that recently pushed a ‘scary number’ to all of its members, based on a survey conducted by another firm. But the association forgot to mention that the scary number completely contradicted the results of their own telco benchmarking exercise!!!

  2. Hi Moniak,

    Winston Churchill once said, “Russia is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.”

    That’s an pretty apt description of how hard it would be to arrive at authoritative numbers on actual telecom losses due to revenue leaks and fraud.

    But I’m convinced that a thoughtfully constructed survey of the right people would yield some useful data on the approximate losses for various service types at specific carrier categories and geographic regions.

    In the meantime, the large auditing and RA firms are in the business of estimating these figures for their clients. Check out my interview with Tom Steagall, head of the Risk Management practice at Ericsson who has some interesting things to say about the validity of RA industry numbers.

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