Auchan is an international retail group and multinational corporation with its headquarters in Lille, France. In May 2006, Auchan announced that it would become an MVNO, thus being the first retail-based MVNO in France.
After having successfully entered the French MVNO pre-paid voice market in 2006, Auchan Telecom, a member of Auchan Group, extended its offer to mobile Internet service. Subscriptions are made available in its numerous hypermarkets located throughout the country. The whole service delivery platform, provided by Comarch, was enhanced to grant customers IP network access, depending on the real-time voucher account balance. As a Software Oriented Architecture, using HTTP and web services as main access tools, Comarch’s integration gateway easily interfaced with the dedicated Mobile Network Operator that Auchan Telecom chose to collect IP traffic.
Auchan Telecom decided to quickly extend its MVNO activity to mobile Internet, choosing to work with a different MNO for that particular business. Comarch has been able to provide a very short time to market: 1 month dedicated to in-depth analysis of requirements and 3 more months to complete the implementation. The whole project started in September and was completed at the end of December, 2007.
Comarch provided Auchan Telecom with more than just software with a range of required capabilities. The company acted as a partner and an advisor on the best practices commonly agreed upon among MVNOs all around Europe, where Comarch has many telecom customers. This knowledge also helped to sharpen requirements and quickly drive the analysis phase.
The general architecture and integration for Auchan Telecom’s voice business is presented in the following picture.
The main challenge during the solution implementation was the enormous number of integrations between many systems from different domains and in different technologies.
All complex business processes important for offering and delivering services are connected with the use of certain small features implemented in distributed systems. The problem with integrations was solved during the first project phase connected with voice services and it was extremely important not to increase this complexity of business processes and integration during data service implementation. This would increase the costs of maintenance or even have an impact on existing services.
After the introduction of Auchan Telecom requirements in terms of expanding the actual business and entering the data card market, Comarch decided to perform a multi level approach to convince Auchan Telecom to use eTOM compliant software from Comarch. The first stage of the solution creation process is always dedicated to gathering all the information and requirements from a customer and ends with a draft that usually does not cover all the necessary customer needs.
This is why the final step of designing a solution appropriate for Auchan Telecom requirements was prefaced by:
Thanks to this platform, Auchan implemented a solution similar to WiFi hotspots but on edge technology, thus benefiting from the agility and competitive price available for such technologies. Having been able to integrate an IP traffic controlling device (Cisco SSG) within the MNO network, Auchan Telecom has full control of end customer traffic entitlement. Auchan Telecom increased its average revenue per user as well as the loyalty of its customers. The current service creation environment platform might be used in the future to enhance features of the mobile Internet service, for instance to provide a geo-positioning service for customers, allowing them to get closer to their community.
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