We’re into the TOP 3. This article is the 8th in a series of 10 articles on the techniques which can be used to get Roaming Partners to sign Roaming Agreements with you. Seduction may not sound like the right word for the skill needed to get other Operators to be your partner, but what we really mean here is that you have to “win them over” to your way of thinking. These articles are intended to help you get your roaming agreements signed and launched quick!
I remember 15 years ago when deal-making didn’t really exist. We simply accepted the Inter Operator Tariff (IOT) we were offered and passed on the costs to our customers.
Cost consolidation due to mergers meant that big operator groups started to appear and those without a group formed alliances to defend themselves against these groups.
Steering capability then came along and the world changed. Every Operator started sending their minutes to the most optimal partner in terms of price, coverage and services and moving the minutes from those partners who either didn’t offer deals, good coverage or good rates.
These days deal making is not so political but more driven by true commercial strategy. IOTs remain the high value factor in the Roaming department – simply because there’s a lot of money to be saved when finding the most optimal win-win deal and because when you have all the roaming you want and your facing the financial squeeze, there are always some savings possible on wholesale rates which may allow for bigger margins in Retail.
It’s not to be underestimated that IOTs between Roaming Partners are only as good as the deals behind them but what is clear is that this is an Industry of discount deals so if you want to play in it you got to think strategically, get yourself a good deal maker and start negotiating.
The Basic Technique: Offer a small discount on what you perceive to be the IOT of your competitor (5-10% ought to do it). Under no circumstances do Operators in the same market share their IOT’s with each other so you have to experiment and try and work out the market rates yourself. To offer a discount of this kind optimally you can update your RAEX AA.14 IOT with the specific IOT you want to give and treat this as the standard IOT for everyone, or the Standard IOT for the specific partner your after. A good RAEX Agent can help you with this. All discount deals are out of scope of GSMA PRDs so there’s no use looking for guidance in their documentation.
The Seduction: Offer discounts that you know are competitive. Hire a great IOT Negotiator to help you understand the best rates offered in your market (obviously competing Operators don’t share their IOT information with eachother let alone their discounts, but) an experienced IOT Dealmaker will know what rate to pitch at depending upon the specific market, region and other deal they have made.
Making bespoke IOT discounts partner by partner can be done in RAEX AA.14 IOT but this is not common practice yet. The problem here is that AA.14 IOT is only unidirectional and not bilateral. Therefore you will need to find a great Discount deal template somehow and start working with it. GSMA have recently launched a Discount Deal template as part of AA.50 but it’s only very basic.
This works because if an operator believes they can get a better price from you than your competitor, it will be cost effective to open a Roaming Agreement with you.
Look out for next weeks article on Technique Number 2.
Grow Roaming Consult Rocco.