T-Mobile is a business unit of Deutsche Telecom. Responsible for mobile operations, it concentrates on the most dynamic markets in Europe and the United States. By the end of the first quarter of 2009, more than 149 million customers were served on ten T-Mobile markets. T-Mobile is gradually integrating OSS systems used in its European operations in order to simplify network management and provide a common management platform for an entity that is composed of multiple national GSM operators in Europe.
The business need
It is commonly accepted that an efficient central inventory system is required to support a network operator in providing high quality services in a costefficient manner. The significant obstacle in building such a solution is the process of integrating existing data sources to feed the central inventory. It is especially challenging when the network environment is implemented using different technologies e.g. 2G, 3G, SDH, ATM, IP/MPLS, based on equipment originating from different vendors.
T-Mobile Austria launched the project in order to build a central inventory covering a heterogeneous network environment. The main part of the project consisted of integration with existing data sources. Taking into account active network elements, such integration seems to be costly and time-consuming but possible. The challenge is to feed into the system data regarding passive elements like cables, muffs and DDF/ODFs, which itself do not provide any information about its configuration. To draw the complete picture of project challenges, a number of existing data sources like text files or in-house databases - which had to be smoothly migrated to a new system - have to be noted
Comarch Resource Inventory within T-Mobile Austria is part of a broader project rolled out within the whole T-Mobile Group. The goal of the project is to integrate five national companies from the T-Mobile group. So far, Comarch has delivered the Resource Inventory to one of them – T-Mobile Austria - and the Resource and Service Inventory at international level. This is, however, only the beginning of a complex process of transforming the whole environment of T-Mobile by Comarch. The increasing need for unified operations will inevitably push T-Mobile towards integration, and Comarch will be a key enabler in this process.
T-Mobile Austria decided to face the challenge together with Comarch and build a central resource inventory based on Comarch OSS Suite modules. The proposed solution, covering different technologies, vendors and layers, consisted of:
During the implementation of the project, additional challenges arose that had to be solved, including:
- Design of mechanisms supporting inter-domain connectivity, including algorithms for matching data coming from different vendor and technology domains
- Customization of mechanisms supporting the planning department.
The successful Comarch implementation fulfilled T-Mobile Austria’s requirements including:
- Central repository maintaining data ranging from physical resources like cables, wires and switches, IP devices, 2G and 3G network elements to logical resources like Ethernet, microwave links, leased lines, IP connections, IP addressing, 2G and 3G mobile hierarchy
- Up-to-date information is assured by nightly reconciliation with a live network, carried out by the Comarch OSS Mediation platform
- Easy import and export of data assured by in-built mechanisms of the Comarch Framework
- Visualization of data using a broad set of views fulfilling the requirements of different groups of users
- Predefined library of equipment models and templates, allowing quick creation of a new device with its internal structure
- A number of validation mechanisms verifying the compatibility between equipment e.g. insertion of a card to an incompatible slot is not allowed
- Support for different groups of planners realized by the mechanism of network snapshots
Benefits for T-Mobile
- Reduced maintenance costs by replacing many scattered systems using the comprehensive resource inventory
- Higher resource utilization due to comprehensive and up-to-date resource view and planning capabilities
- Comarch Resource Inventory is an enabler for improved Incident and Problem, as well as Change Management processe
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