Interview with Joe DiFonzo, chief technology officer, Syniverse

Interview with Joe DiFonzo, chief technology officer, Syniverse“We will support TRAI initiative of full MNP and meet their technical requirements”  

Joe DiFonzo, chief technology officer, Syniverse leads the creation and implementation of advanced mobility solutions for both operators and enterprise customers. Prior to joining Syniverse, DiFonzo spent 15 years at Convergys as vice president, innovation and was responsible for developing industry solution offerings for advanced customer care based on internally developed and partner technologies. He also has held telecommunications technology positions at SHL and CBIS. DiFonzo earned his bachelor’s degree in computer science from the University of Central Florida and has served on the advisory board for the TeleManagement Forum.

On his India visit, Joe DiFonzo talked to TeleAnalysis on manpower addition, MNP, enterprise progress and challenges with respect to data roaming.    

How will Bangalore office help Syniverse?
Bangalore office is one of the two primary command centers – Tampa and Bangalore and is used for replicating process, tools and functionality. Every operation in the world is based on distributed functionality, depending upon its capacity. We take care of 70 operators from India and support customers in different regions and time zones. The Bangalore office provides new product support, customer suport and command centre. With respect to functions, focus is on finance, human resources and facilities management.

The challenge is to do it economically and technologically. We do 80-90 services worldwide whether duplicating or replicating and providing all these services requires huge investment. Our average capex infrastructure is 10x in last five years.

The quality of Bangalore office is better than anywhere in the world. People are creating the future of this company and we are trying to give them the environment that they can innovate. We have high hope from the India market as it would be an amazing market once 4G starts and people start using their 4G devices.

What is the plan on manpower addition?
We have close to 2,700 people of which 850 are from India and around 600 are located in Bangalore. Our plan to increase manpower will depend on product and business needs. India has an amazing growth for the next decade both in terms of mobile subscriber and growth and this will be led by – economic growth, decreasing cost of new technology and mobile bandwidth becoming cheap.

Government has moved a step ahead and announced full mobile number portability (MNP). What would be your role in offering full MNP and by what time you will be able to deploy it in India?
India experience is no different from other countries as presently we do MNP in UK, singapore, US and Canada. We already have the concepts and make it work successfully. The MNP demand goes high in the first year and then it stabilizes at around 3.5 percent. In full MNP, it will be higher as it is not restricted to a circle.

We have pleasant experience as both MNP operators have been supporting operators in their respective zone. There is no unique experience which is different from any mature market. Initially, there is an initial rush, pent up demand and then it stabilizes. We have participated in discussions with TRAI and the approaches have been recommended. We will support TRAI initiative of full MNP and meet their technical requirements.

Apart from operators, Syniverse has also started focusing on enterprise. What’s the progress on enterprise front?
On the enterprise front, we have customers in banking and retail. We have different customer profile and same type of services mostly about SMS communication. The focus is on value and security and we do see that changing with the coming of 3G and 4G as they provide other type of service like multimedia messaging. Messaging will be a major concern and the focus is on use cases, notification, alerts, advertising, basic communication and account status check.

In India, the focus is on regulatory and privacy concern. The company is focusing on verticals like – financial, retail, healthcare, travel & hospitality and government support services like emergency services.

What are the challenges with respect to data roaming?
We have global GRX over IPX for transacting business, to manage signalling, authorisation and accounting. Lot of intelligence helps in monitoring roaming resulting in reducing bill shock. We provide services that help reduce data cost by compressing data and also focus on improving performance of videos through intelligence services.

Operators understand data roaming quality and has been stressing a lot. In the Football World Cup there is very specific dashboard reports every day on different parameters. So, it varies from 3-4 percent and in some zone it is high and in some zone it is low.

The shift from 3G to 4G is a whole new world as all the protocol goes away as bandwidth increases by 10x. Syniverse provides all kinds of infrastructure like LTE to LTE roaming and also fallback. Focus is also on roaming and inter-operability of 3G to 4G and 4G to 4G. We don’t do voice transport but data roaming, and data channel can carry voice as well as VoLTE. We do LTE roaming in North America, Asia and Europe.

What future services are you working with respect to India perspective?  
We do not do things specific to industry. The type of use cases that we do are: awareness of what is going on with the customer once they enable; and mobile intelligence portal where info about customer is shared if the customer has agreed to share be it location, device, tariff, time zone, device capability.

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