AsiaInfo claims first European deal with Telenor Denmark transformation project

Chinese telecoms software provider AsiaInfo Linkage has announced a supply deal with Telenor Denmark, the vendor’s first European mobile operator win since its launch in the region last year. AsiaInfo described the project as a BSS transformation, which will include the provision of its proprietary billing, CRM and real-time analytics solutions, including its Veris BSS product.

Alex Hawker, general manager for EMEA at AsiaInfo, told that more than 100 legacy systems are being decommissioned at Telenor Denmark as part of the project, with large deployments of both Amdocs and Geneva (acquired by Convergys in 2001) solutions being ripped out.

Key information surrounding the deal—its value as well as details on the capabilities that Telenor will gain—are being protected by the operator for competitive reasons, said Hawker, who earlier in his career was VP for global sales at Amdocs. But he added that “Telenor was sick of having silos” in its back end systems and suggested that the deal was “the most substantial in Europe for many years.”

The deal may generate speculation that AsiaInfo competed hard on price, leveraging its own comparatively low cost base to undercut Western rivals. Similar observation were made about Huawei and ZTE when the two Chinese NEPs first arrived in the European markets and began to pick up business. But Hawker rejected the suggestion, saying “you don’t win business by being cheap.”

There are clearly competitive benefits to being a Chinese firm, however. AsiaInfo has more than 11,000 BSS engineers on its books, Hawker said, a resource that would be impossible to sustain in the West. It has built its business as a supplier to Chinese mobile operators, where huge scale and low cost are crucial to operations. And he added that part of the attraction of this European deal for Telenor is that it promised to dramatically lower the operator’s BSS TCO, although by how much he would not say.

“It is fair to say that Telenor did find our solution would enable them to significantly reduce costs compared to legacy vendors,” he said.

The solution is cloud based and will run on blade servers in a datacenter that Telenor is deploying to AsiaInfo’s specification and the operator expects its new vendor to share in the risk of a full BSS transformation. “Telenor wants to pay for results not for work,” said Hawker. “Customers want outputs not inputs and as a vendor you have to be in the same boat as the operator.”

In a statement underlining this, Telenor Denmark CEO Marek Slacik said:  “The development of a new IT platform is crucial in our ongoing efforts to create a new, simpler and more efficient Telenor, and we have high expectations in AILK as our partner on this journey.”

Much of AsiaInfo’s messaging since it launched in Europe has been around the benefits available to multi national operators through the virtualization, standardization and centralization of BSS systems and further penetration into the Telenor portfolio clearly depends on the firm’s performance in Denmark.

“This is a system built as a private cloud, capable of multi tenancy and centralisation,” Hawker said. “While there’s no contractual commitment from Telenor, clearly if [Telenor Denmark] achieves its business goals it will make a lot of sense if other operations are able to adopt the system quickly.”

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