Out of the cloud and into the streaming service
Telco software vendor Amdocs is to integrate Virgin Media O2’s streaming services to be more manageable for the cable operator as it attempts to transform into a communications service provider. The project’s objective is to make it easier for consumers to add entertainment subscriptions to their monthly bill or enjoy them as part of a bigger bundle with their existing broadband, mobile or entertainment packages. The lack of cohesion in VMO2’s customer service has made it Britain’s most complained about telecoms provider.
Oft complained about
Surveys by UK regulator Ofcom have shown that Virgin Media O2 runs the most complained about service in the UK. Part of the problem, according to systems integrator sources, is that the telco originally grew by acquisition of small cable companies and inherited systems that were incompatible with each other. To date this does not seem to have adversely affected its profitability. In May Virgin Media O2 told CityAM that it’s on track to ‘fork out’ £1.6bn to its shareholders this year. Its financial results for the first quarter of 2022 revealing profit had climbed to £91.9m, up 5.3% on the same period last year.
“The cash distribution to shareholders is anticipated to be £1.6 billion including cash from recapitalisations,” the company wrote, reiterating guidance for 2022. There are questions about the company recording net free cash outflows of £319m. Virgin Media O2 did add 478,100 mobile customers over the first three months of the year as its commitment not to reintroduce roaming charges set the firm apart from its rivals.
In March Virgin Media O2 asked VMware to integrate its IT systems, from the cloud, using the application moderniser VMware Tanzu for Telcos. which is a ‘Kubernetes cluster’ (a type of sealed off system) in order to build a proficiency in offering ‘Containers as a Service (CaaS)’. CaaS, in layman’s terms, allows developer to bundle entire systems up into one virtual container (or silo), with software partitions defining its perimeters. The Container strategy will help Virgin Media O2 to add more virtual network functions to its service, said VMware.
Integrating VM O2’s internal systems could be challenging as the company grew by acquisition and has multiple disparate databases, using different file formats and proprietary management systems. Amdocs’ software service may have to pull all these incompatible systems together and streamline them. The new MarketONE system provided by Amdocs runs from the public cloud to deliver the new digital and OTT (over the top) subscription service offerings. The ‘future-proof, turnkey solution’ promises to allow new OTT partners to be easily added by Virgin Media, after which its customers have the flexibility to add multiple subscription services.
The announcement raises many questions, which we have put to Amdocs’s Group President of Technology and Head of Strategy Anthony Goonetilleke. In the meantime, Amdocs has issued a company statement. “This is an exciting project that highlights Amdocs’ role at the heart of the ever-growing communications and entertainment ecosystem,” said Goonetilleke. “With our MarketONE SaaS platform, we are bringing together industry-leading capabilities to help Virgin Media O2 grow its media and entertainment business while providing end-users with a centralized and frictionless experience.”