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Network as a Service And Mobile Cloud Computing

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AEPONA LTD

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FEBRUARY 2010

Copyright

February 2010 Aepona Limited, Interpoint Building, 20-24 York Street, Belfast BT15 1AQ, N. Ireland.

All rights reserved. This document or any part thereof may not, without the written consent of Aepona Limited, be copied, reprinted or reproduced in any material form including but not limited to photocopying, transcribing, transmitting or storing it in any medium or translating it into any language, in any form or by any means, be it electronic, mechanical, xerographic, optical, magnetic or otherwise. The information contained in this document is proprietary and confidential and all copyright, trademarks, trade names, patents and other intellectual property rights in the documentation are the exclusive property of Aepona Limited unless otherwise specified. The information (including but not limited to data, drawings, specification, documentation, software listings, source or object code) shall not at any time be disclosed directly or indirectly to any third party without Aepona Limiteds prior written consent. The information contained herein is believed to be accurate and reliable. Aepona Limited accepts no responsibility for its use by any means or in any way whatsoever. Aepona Limited shall not be liable for any expenses, costs by damage that may result from the use of the information contained within this document. The information contained herein is subject to change without notice.

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WHITE PAPER NETWORK AS A SERVICE AND MOBILE CLOUD COMPUTING

As more and more mobile operators embrace the Telco 2.0 model and provide open network APIs to enable the Network as a Service (NaaS) business model, it becomes increasingly necessary to provide cross-network single points of access for Application Service Providers, for both commercial and technical interaction with multiple operators. Mobile Cloud Computing, provided by Cross Network Service Providers (CNSPs), represents a significant business opportunity for CNSPs, Application Service Providers and mobile operators alike.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

Introduction .......................................................................................................................... 4 Network as a Service .......................................................................................................... 6 Mobile Cloud Computing ................................................................................................... 9


4.1.

Mobile Cloud Business Model....................................................................................... 11


An Example ................................................................................................................................ 12

Industry Initiative GSMA OneAPI ............................................................................. 14


6.1. Standardised Interfaces ........................................................................................................ 16 6.2. Platforms and Architectural Requirement..................................................................... 16 6.2.1. Cross-Operator Abstraction and Routing .............................................................................. 16 6.2.2. Privacy Management ...................................................................................................................... 16 6.2.3. Payments and Settlement ............................................................................................................. 17 6.2.4. ASP Support ....................................................................................................................................... 17 6.2.5. Reliability, Availability and Maintainability.......................................................................... 17 6.2.6. Scalability ............................................................................................................................................ 17

Implementing Mobile Cloud Computing .................................................................. 16

7.

Conclusion ........................................................................................................................... 19

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1.

Introduction

One of the most exciting and potentially profitable developments in computing and the Internet is the emergence of Cloud Computing. With their valuable communications assets and massive subscriber base, the global (mobile) telecom network can tap this market and provide valuable, revenue generating cloud computing capabilities in the form of Network as a Service (NaaS). Cloud computing is essentially the evolution of computing in which processing and data storage move away from desktop and laptop computers and back into large data centres. Cloud Services are applications, products, and services that take advantage of Cloud Computing by hosting the primary processing or data storage in the Cloud and making them available, on demand. Cloud Services require real-time access to the Internet, interworking with low footprint applications on users devices (such as browsers, email clients, widgets, etc). The high access bandwidth that is now available within both wireline and wireless domains is one of the key enablers driving the adoption of Cloud Computing across many industry sectors. As well as well-known, ubiquitous applications such as web mail and video streaming, many companies have launched Cloud Computing services in the form of cloud based software and/or platforms. Referred to as Software as a Service (SaaS), or Platform as a Service (PaaS), examples include: Salesforce.com Provides centralised sales force and Customer Relationship Management SaaS, as well as providing a CRM oriented platform for 3rd parties to develop and run their own services and applications or to extend or customize the base CRM capabilities Provides APIs towards a variety of its services (e.g. Google maps). Most involve some commercial relationship with the 3rd party Offers powerful APIs and hosting facilities to its merchants Facebook and other social network sites offer APIs for extending the service. Typically, these are used by 3rd parties to provide services, chargeable to individual users

Google Amazon Facebook

The APIs provided by the SaaS/PaaS providers are used by enterprises or 3rd party Application Service Providers (ASPs). The latter provide services to their users, whom they may or may not charge (the services may, for example, be advertising funded). A generalised view of these relationships is shown on the following diagram:

Cloud Computing Main Players

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There are many business models in the general Cloud Computing model and the business models for paying or part paying for services (if not advertising funded). However a generic business model for Cloud Computing can be characterised as follows:

SaaS providers provide software services to users on demand - sometimes charging their users (typically if they are enterprises) PaaS providers provide platforms and APIs on which 3rd parties (enterprises or ASPs) can develop their own applications and services - charges may or may not apply depending on the business arrangements between the parties ASPs provides services to their users - and may charge for the services

Telecom operators are sitting on a huge gold mine in the form of their powerful telecommunications resources and massive subscriber bases. By opening APIs to access and control these resources and allowing payments to be made through end-users accounts, operators can extend their Network as a Service capabilities into the Cloud Computing domain, enhancing existing services and enabling new ones, thus generating a valuable addition to their own revenue streams. In the mobile domain, mobile devices have become indispensable tools for consumers worldwide. Due to the publicity and ensuing success of the iPhone and similar smart-phones, increasing numbers of subscribers are becoming aware of the growing practical uses of the mobile phone beyond communications. Mobile Internet use is growing rapidly and smart-phone sales are on the increase despite the global recession. However these devices are still very limited in power and real estate. Mobile Cloud Computing is the obvious answer, where the device provides the access, user interface and local capabilities, while the core service is provided on demand in the cloud. Network as a Service and the associated Telco 2.0 business model, is being adopted by many individual operators. However, currently, there is a lot of fragmentation, limited number of capabilities, and a lack of cross-operator inter-operability. Mobile Cloud Computing has a huge potential, but it requires on-demand access to NaaS services (network and payments resources) across multiple operators. This paper examines NaaS in the mobile cloud, its enormous potential and benefits to operators and application service providers alike. It discusses the solution requirements along with the role played by industry bodies such as GSMA, whose OneAPI initiative aims to provide an industry-wide commercial and technical framework for Network as a Service and Mobile Cloud Computing.

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2.

Network as a Service

Telecom operators (Telcos) are recognizing the so-called Telco 2.0 business model and adopting the idea of the Network as a Service (NaaS) in the same way that the software market is evolving into the Software as a Service (SaaS) approach. With the NaaS model, Telcos treat their key network assets communications, information and intelligence, and a billable customer base as marketable resources that can be offered to third parties on a commercial basis.

The Telco 2.0 Two-Sided Business Model NaaS is fundamentally a collaborative model, under which application service providers and Telcos contribute their unique capabilities to the creation of compelling composite applications or mash-ups that can be highly targeted towards thousands of niche markets. Since this type of collaboration has been common in the Internet for many years, NaaS is the extension of a well-proven model into the telecoms arena. At its simplest, NaaS involves the Telco opening network and payments APIs to ASPs, enterprises and merchants, supported by an appropriate management and business infrastructure.

NaaS - Network as a Service

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In technology terms, NaaS follows exactly the same principles as Web 2.0 in that the Telco is following the Webco model of exposing its capabilities through a set of APIs to the broadest possible community of developers. These APIs can be presented either as SOAP-based Web Services, or the simpler REST interfaces that are extremely popular amongst web developers. In either case, developers can use familiar programming techniques, as well as their existing tools, to integrate telecom capabilities into their applications, without having to learn and implement arcane telecoms protocols such as SMPP or ISUP. A true Network as a Service strategy must encompass the management of Service Level Agreements (SLAs), including policy management, an online portal providing web-based partner registration and self-care, automated provisioning capabilities to speed up the partner onboarding process, and comprehensive tools and resources to help partners develop and launch their applications in the shortest time possible. The NaaS vision is partly about attracting many hundreds, perhaps thousands of partners, reaching the Long Tail of niche markets and consumers that Telcos have traditionally found difficult to service due to the relatively low revenues generated per customer compared with the cost of acquisition and management. Third party management with rapid and efficient sign-up and ongoing management both technically and commercially is crucial to a successful NaaS platform. Perhaps most important of all, a NaaS platform needs to support payments and settlement services and associated business infrastructure, which allow ASPs and merchants to charge their customers through their accounts with an operator. Known as Bill on Behalf of (BoBo), these payment and settlement services are very valuable to both ASPs and operators alike.

For ASPs it provides a way of getting paid for their services, without the need for their own, complex financial instruments For operators, it provides a valuable revenue source in the form of both commission (revenue share) on the payments transactions, and charging 3rd parties for the use of their network resources

The business cases for operators adopting the Telco 2.0 business model and opening APIs to their Network as a Service and offering payments services is compelling. Nevertheless, they cannot tap the whole market. The Telco-specific walled garden service business model is no longer viable for mass-market services, which is where the real potential of NaaS lies. Whilst exclusivity can be effective for high value services, it does not work in the mass market. In this context, it is worth noting that Apple could hold out for exclusivity for a relatively short time, but even it is now succumbing, recognizing, perhaps, that the bigger the cake, the more for everyone. From an ASPs perspective, the main challenge to the effective use of NaaS is the fragmentation (technical and commercial) and the lack of cross-operator inter-working for certain services, such as payments, location, or any subscriber information services. Telcos offer different APIs, multiple business relationships need to be established, and ASPs need to handle number portability issues to determine with which operator to obtain service. The Telcos that have developed their own API programs are using a variety of technical approaches, which makes it difficult for developers to both offer services to the full subscriber base in a given country or across countries, and to port their applications from operator to operator. This is in stark contrast to the Internet model that developers have become accustomed to, whereby they can reach a global customer base for their applications easily. This disenfranchises all but a few large ASPs (traditionally known as Large Accounts).

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Up to now a few aggregators have emerged, but these are by and large oriented towards messaging and, to a lesser extent (primarily in North America), location services. Even then the fragmentation still remains with multiple interfaces and commercial arrangements. Hence, a new breed of aggregators, an inter-working cloud of cross-network service providers (CNSPs), is needed, who provide on-demand access across multiple networks to both network capabilities and payments resources. Enter Mobile Cloud Computing and Cross Network Service Providers.

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3.

Mobile Cloud Computing

Cloud Computing represents a huge opportunity for the mobile industry as a whole. The renowned analyst firm, ABI Research, forecasts that the number of Mobile Cloud Computing subscribers worldwide will grow rapidly over the next five years, rising from 42.8 million subscribers in 2008, (approximately 1.1% of all mobile subscribers) to just over 998 million in 2014 (nearly 19%) representing a global revenue opportunity of almost $20 billion. According to ABI, business productivity applications will soon dominate the mix of mobile cloud applications, particularly collaborative document sharing, scheduling, and sales force management apps. (Source: ABI Research: Mobile Cloud Computing report, July 2009). On demand access to cross-operator network and charging services adds a new dimension to Cloud Computing. Specifically it enables the Cloud Computing players to enhance their services with network capabilities. Of course, for this to be realistic, it needs to be properly commercialized, end-to-end. This is where the cross-network service providers (CNSPs) come into the picture. Their role is critical to the successful commercialisation of Mobile Cloud Computing. It must be straightforward to enfranchise large numbers of ASPs. Just as Internet commerce is predicated by, and thrives on, volume and diversity, the same will be true of the mobile cloud. It is clearly not realistic for all but a few sophisticated ASPs to interwork with and have commercial relationships with large numbers of Telcos. Just as with SMS, the CNSP will be essential, both in providing the technical interfaces and supporting the commercial models. The essential difference is the need for a standard set of interfaces, both technical and commercial. ASPs can then create mass market services and applications that use a combination of standard NaaS APIs and existing APIs from the Web and/or device domains, without being "locked in" to a specific operator. Of course operators must still be able to differentiate based on their own unique capabilities (the embrace and extend model). ASPs are then in a position to combine common cross-Telco enablers with Telco-specific enablers, just like they do in the Internet. This gives the Telcos the best of both worlds a larger playing field combined with the ability to differentiate. As discussed in the previous section, payments services should be one of the jewels in the crown of a Telcos NaaS offering. This becomes even more important in the mobile cloud. Introducing payments and settlement capabilities across multiple Telcos allows ASPs (and SaaS providers) to charge their customers via their phone bill, regardless of their subscription network. The real power of cross-operator payments is evident when one considers the benefits to Mobile Cloud Computing. The simplicity of charging services to their phone account, will not only encourage subscribers who discover and use services from their handset, to avail themselves of the payments services but also to increase the total number of such services that are adopted. Everyone benefits:

Telcos get additional revenue from the payments services, with reduced overheads CNSPs get more customers and more chargeable transactions ASPs, SaaS providers, etc, not only sell more services but reduce costs Finally the end user gets access to more advanced capabilities with simple and secure methods of payment

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As reported in the UK Sunday Times (10-Jan-2010) business section Remember one number about Apple: iTunes has over 100m credit cards on account. Compare this with the eventual commercial connectivity to 5bn mobile users that a globally available payments API would provide! There are many parallels. As a comparison, it is worth looking at one of the major success stories of mobile communications. Quite apart from phenomenal success of the mobile phone itself, SMS text messaging has mushroomed into one of the worlds major communications media, bringing massive revenues to operators and aggregators alike, and also enabling a wide variety of value added services, which themselves bring revenue to ASPs. Until interoperability was achieved and, moreover, the service was enabled for pre-paid subscribers, SMS was a niche service only used by the technically knowledgeable. Now SMS is used by nearly everyone as a personal messaging medium, and, thanks to aggregators, is widely used for value added services. So, with cross-network availability of all network capabilities (not just SMS) and of payments services, the same will be true of the mobile cloud and the underlying Telcos NaaS. With standard ubiquitous access, Telco resources can be accessed on-demand via the Cloud and mashed-up with Web and device APIs to create or enhance almost any Web, device, enterprise or desktop application. Development efforts will be more cohesive and less fragmented getting closer to a write once, run and sell anywhere goal. The resultant market is potentially huge. Most mobile cloud applications will be sophisticated mash-ups of all sorts, including applications that incorporate core mobile phone and Telco capabilities, like location, presence, phone calendar, address book, and cameras. Perhaps one of the most interesting and exciting aspects is that of device based applications. Due to the relative size and price points that consumers demand in mobile handsets, vendors are limited in the amount of processing power, and data storage they can put on a mobile device. Because mobile cloud applications move processing power and data storage into the cloud, they require a great deal less battery power and can run on less-expensive processors than native or downloadable applications. In addition to the services accessed by traditional means such as via mobile handsets or web browsers, there is huge potential for machine-to-machine (M2M) services availing of Mobile Cloud Computing. Recent forecasts suggest that there will be up to 50 billion mobile connected machines over the coming years, including appliances, smart meters, security systems, healthcare devices and many others all of which can benefit from network capabilities accessed on-demand from the mobile cloud. A ubiquitous mobile cloud will benefit the telecoms industry as a whole, by making it much more attractive for application service providers to create new services, or to enrich existing services, that use capabilities, information and intelligence provided by mobile and fixed telecoms operators. Eliminating fragmentation will result in a much larger addressable market of ASPs, resulting in increased service innovation, customer satisfaction, and new revenue sources for the industry as a whole, and consequently for individual operators. Moreover, a Cloud-based, crossoperator manifestation, such as that being implemented for the GSM Association's Commercial OneAPI Pilot in Canada, will further drive adoption by the ASP community, whilst still allowing operators to differentiate based on their own unique capabilities.

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4.

Mobile Cloud Business Model

By necessity, any description of a business model in a paper such as this one, is a simplification as there are many possible variants. However, the main players are clear, with two key players logically extending the generic cloud-computing model: Network operators providing NaaS services, Cross Network Service Providers (CNSPs) who make these services ubiquitously available and create the mobile cloud.

The following picture shows how this works.

Mobile Cloud Computing Hosted services (SaaS) are extended with NaaS features. These features are then offered to enterprise and consumer users by 3rd party application service providers. Alternatively, they may be independent applications, extended with NaaS features; they may take the form of chargeable plug-ins into existing SaaS services; or the ASP may simply use a PaaS providers platform. Finally a SaaS/PaaS provider can themselves offer the NaaS features (and sell them). Whatever the actual demarcation between SaaS/PaaS and ASP, users (whether individuals or enterprises) subscribe to the enhanced services and ultimately pay for them, either bundled into a subscription or on a pay per use basis 1.

For the sake of simplicity, advertising-based business models are not considered here, although the same general principles apply

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Going through a CNSP allows the ASP to have a single interface and single business relationship, but interwork with multiple Telcos. For SMS services, whilst it is important to be able to send and receive across operators, it usually doesnt matter through which operator messages are actually sent. However for location and presence based services, for payments, and for other customer oriented functions, the end service needs to be handled by the correct operator, appropriate to the end user 1. One of the most valuable services, that can enfranchise many thousands of new ASPs, is the Billon Behalf-of (BoBo) ability for them to be paid through their customers phone accounts. Comprehensive payments and settlement and the associated business infrastructure, is a critical component of Mobile Cloud Computing. This is not just a simple matter of submitting a payments request and getting paid (a proportion). For this to work in the mass market, a comprehensive infrastructure is needed that is fully traceable (auditable, for dispute management), can handle refunds as well as charges and can take account of network usage. The CNSPs in the mobile cloud can take over the complexity from the operators, handling the different payment models and policies that need to be catered for; these include: Who pays (e.g. enterprise or user); Bulk payments versus pay per use; Different settlement terms (revenue share); Recurrent subscriptions; Advice of charge and mandating payments; Tax considerations; Refund policy Incentives

4.1. An Example
The potential power of Mobile Cloud Computing is best shown by an example. A SaaS provider, for example SalesForce.com (and Force.com), sells as a subscription service, powerful Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and sales force management cloud services to enterprises. Plug-ins from third parties are actively encouraged, many of which are independently subscribed to by end users. Whilst some plug-ins are free, many are chargeable, either as a one-off payment, or as a subscription. Mobile Cloud Computing enables these payments to be made through customers phone accounts (BoBo). Furthermore plug-ins can take advantage of NaaS features. An example of such a third party plug-in could be an ad-hoc mini-conferencing service integrated with users SalesForce contacts. Via the ASPs server, this would invoke call-control features provided by a CNSP, and ultimately from one or more Telcos. In addition, SMS and location/presence features provide a rich set of capabilities. In the general case, the facilities would be available from a browser, either in a desktop or on a mobile phone. Though the user interacts with the plug-in on the force.com platform, the requests would be handled by the ASPs server.

Number portability needs to be handled by the CNSP.

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These Network as a Service capabilities need to be paid for. For illustration, in this particular case the ASP charges a flat rate for setting up conference calls, and other services such as location requests. The ASP is paid by utilizing BoBo services and submitting payments requests via the CNSPs APIs. Users may be charged by the ASP on a per usage basis; alternatively, they may buy credit from the ASP. The user (or their enterprise, depending on the agreement the model must allow for both) will then be billed by their end operator on their phone bill. Users must, of course, mandate the CNSP to accept such charges, either on an advice of charge basis or over a user-defined period for that ASP.

SalesForce.com NaaS Plug-in Example of Mobile Cloud Computing

The CNSP provides access and connectivity across multiple operators. On one side they settle with the individual ASPs, taking a commission, and on the other side they procure NaaS services from the individual operators. These NaaS services are both network resources and BoBo payments services. The revenue share for the latter provides perhaps the most powerful business case for Telcos and CNSPs alike.

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5.

Industry Initiative GSMA OneAPI

The global mobile industrys main trade body, the GSM Association (GSMA), has recognized the need for (mobile) telecom operators to treat their assets as marketable resources and to offer APIs to third parties, i.e. to embrace the NaaS model. Moreover, it recognizes that in order for this model to be successful, the industry must better address the needs of third party developers, in particular to reduce the current level of fragmentation in the industry relating to APIs. Launched in 2008, GSMAs OneAPI is an initiative to define a commonly supported API to allow mobile (and other network) operators to expose useful network, information, and payments capabilities to application developers. It aims to reduce the effort and time needed to create applications and content that is portable across mobile operators. The GSMA OneAPI is intended to complement existing client-side and server-side APIs by providing a missing piece: access to network capabilities and information, regardless of operator. As such it can be accessed by client and server side technologies when required.

(Courtesy GSMA)

GSMA OneAPI Provides the Missing Piece

The GSMA OneAPI initiative is adding momentum to NaaS and Mobile Cloud Computing through a rapid expansion of the two-sided business model: multiple Telcos per ASP, thousands of ASPs per Telco. Following the highly successful reference implementation in 2009, and ongoing work within the OMA to identify the appropriate standards, a commercial pilot is being launched in Canada 1Q2010, involving all three major operators in that country (Bell Canada, Telus and Rogers). This pilot is aimed at demonstrating the technical and commercial benefits of a ubiquitous aggregation model.

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GSMA OneAPI Canadian Pilot

In effect the GSMA is acting as the Cross Network Service Provider, providing ASPs access to network capabilities and payments services of all the Canadian operators. Comprehensive partner relationship management (portal, self care, development tools, sandboxes for off-line testing, etc) makes it a quick and easy process for application developers and ASPs to sign up, test their applications and deploy them commercially.

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6.

Implementing Mobile Cloud Computing


a. Developer friendly standardised interfaces b. Appropriate carrier grade platforms and architecture, which support both the highly technical communication infrastructure and secure and auditable payments, settlement and charging infrastructure c. Cross network service providers to establish the necessary business relationships with operators and with each other (for inter-region access). The GSMAs OneAPI commercial pilot in Canada is paving the way for this.

The requirements for implementing Mobile Cloud Computing are three-fold:

6.1. Standardised Interfaces


As has already been discussed, a global Mobile Cloud is predicated on there being appropriate, developer friendly and widely accepted NaaS API standards. Without such standards, fragmentation is inevitable. The GSMA OneAPI project is championing and actively supporting the definition and refinement of these standards within the OMA (who took over responsibility from 3GPP). Many of these are already mature and have been implemented by several operators already and are the basis for the GSMAs successful OneAPI reference implementation and the Canadian pilot. Whilst operators are strongly encouraged to implement these standards themselves, a great advantage of Cross Network Service Providers is that they provide the necessary cross-operator abstraction, mediating operator proprietary APIs (where they have them).

6.2. Platforms and Architectural Requirement


It is beyond the scope of this paper to go into detail on the various platform and capabilities needed. However, it is worth highlighting some key points.

6.2.1. Cross-Operator Abstraction and Routing


The heart of the requirement is the cross-operator abstraction, and routing. The APIs being exposed to the ASPs need to be operator and subscriber independent. It is the platforms task to route requests to the appropriate operator and mediate protocol where necessary. This applies equally to network capabilities and to payments. Some network capabilities are subscriber independent or partially independent, these include SMS/MMS and call set-up. Others can only be handled by the subscription network of the end user. These include location, presence, subscriber information and, of course, payments. For the former, the platform needs to support the CNSPs business requirements for least cost or equitable routing. For the latter the platform needs to route requests to the correct network for a specific end user and take account of number portability.

6.2.2. Privacy Management


Services that use network capabilities and information such as location and presence have to have the consent of the end user in most cases, whether explicit or implied (law enforcement and emergency services being notable exceptions in some countries).

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The platform needs to be able to manage the necessary privacy, and support the CNSP taking legal responsibility if necessary. This is a complex area, but the primary requirement is to be able to audit any mandate given by the end user. It is worth noting that the advice-of, mandating and auditing requirements are very similar to those required for payments.

6.2.3. Payments and Settlement


As this paper has stressed, the business infrastructure in general and payments and settlement in particular form the lynchpin of the Mobile Cloud. The payment and settlement solution must allow the service provider to enable ASPs to bill their customers safely and securely, via their subscription operator without exposing the operator, the CNSP or its customers to potential revenue leakage, fraud or unsolicited charges. The solution must also support charging ASPs for use of network resources either as part of service delivery to a customer or simple use on their own behalf. Supporting a payments API, the solution must enable ASPs and merchants to charge subscribers of the participating operators for their services and to receive appropriate settlement. As well as submitting payment requests, ASPs must be able to submit refund requests (with disincentives to minimise how often this happens); in extreme cases, the service provider needs to be able to force a refund, though, with care, this should be rare. Preventing unsolicited charges and at the same time preventing user charge repudiation must lie at the core of the payments and settlement solution. A combination of explicit user mandating, advice-of-charge techniques, and comprehensive reports and auditing are required. Comprehensive 3rd party and customer care and self-care functions are an essential component of payments and settlement. As far as possible both ASPs and users should be able to manage their own accounts and view usage reports.

6.2.4. ASP Support


In the Telco 2.0, two sided business model, the ASP is the customer and, therefore, requires comprehensive support and relationship management. In addition to the business management requirements identified above, ASPs and developers require a single point of access (a portal) to be able to sign up for use of the NaaS service, learn about the APIs, test their services, participate in forums, etc.

6.2.5. Reliability, Availability and Maintainability


Clearly, the platforms that provide the core functions must be capable of being deployed in carrier grade configurations. Quite apart from their role as an extension of the global communications network, the financial instruments therein need to be both highly available and maintain transaction integrity, appropriate to the size of the transactions.

6.2.6. Scalability
Projections of 50 billion connected devices over the next few years, hundreds of thousands of ASPs and other users of NaaS services all means that the platforms that support mobile cloud computing must be highly scalable.

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In addition to individually scalable platforms, a global architecture is needed that supports scalability. The key to both is the support of a network of regional nodes, that route traffic between each other. Whether within the same CNSP (supporting multiple countries), or between different service providers, the requirements are basically the same. The essential difference is that between service providers, the payments and settlement engines need to support an additional layer of revenue share.

Scalability by Regional Nodes

For a truly global service, global commercial mediation will almost definitely need to be supported, in much the same way that there is global mediation for mobile operator interworking.

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7.

Conclusion

Today's communications market presents arguably the richest potential for network operators since the beginning of the mass mobile market in the 1990s. The proliferation of the Internet and mobile broadband has sparked the creativity of thousands of application providers worldwide eager to deliver their products and services into the waiting hands of willing endusers. This burgeoning "open" movement in mobile has so far focused largely on the handset, due to the success of the iPhone, the Apple App Store, and the push by handset providers to replicate that model and alter their role in the value chain by becoming service providers. Additionally, web companies have also entered the value chain and are pushing mobile operators to become bit pipes. Operators, faced with competition from multiple directions, have therefore been turning their attention towards opening their networks and are embracing the concept of the "Network as a Service" (NaaS), exposing their capabilities for consumption by application providers on-demand, to enable new 2-sided business models. With NaaS, the operators network and billing capabilities become marketable resources with multiple features that are attractive and readily available to enterprises, web service providers and application developers. More recently, the emergence of Cloud Computing, and its extension into the mobile domain, has brought a new dimension to NaaS: the vision of a global, interconnected Mobile Cloud where application providers and enterprises will be able to access valuable network and billing capabilities across multiple Telco networks, making it easy for them to enrich their services whether these applications run on a mobile device, in the web, in a SaaS Cloud, on the desktop, or on an enterprise server. The Mobile Cloud will provide a full commercial environment for applications, providing an easy way for smaller developers to monetize their services as well as new routes to market. Crucially, the Mobile Cloud will eliminate the commercial and technical fragmentation that has thus far proven to be a barrier to successful collaboration between application providers and Telcos on a global scale. However, operators will still be able to differentiate based on their own unique capabilities, exposed directly as APIs via their existing NaaS platforms. To realize the global Mobile Cloud, Cross-Network Service Providers will emerge to take on the role of providing standardized, harmonized interfaces toward Telco capabilities across multiple networks. CNSPs will provide a single point of access for Application Provider registration, provisioning and support, centralized payment and settlement, policy and security control, routing, security and privacy management.

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Over the past 2 years, Aepona has been at the forefront of the mobile industrys evolution towards the Network as a Service business model, and the companys award-winning Universal Service Platform has become the solution of choice for mobile operators implementing NaaS strategies globally. Thanks in part to the work Aepona has been doing with the GSMA on its OneAPI initiative, particularly its role in providing the platform and management services for the worlds first OneAPI-based commercial pilot in Canada, Aepona is now poised to become a leading player in the Mobile Cloud Computing marketplace. Its Universal Service Platform is a comprehensive, carrier-grade solution that contains all of the essential elements for Mobile Cloud Computing described in section 6 of this paper. Moreover, through its work with both individual operator NaaS implementations and the GSMA Commercial Pilot, Aepona has gained unparalleled operational experience as well as commercial insights to the business models that will underpin this new era of Network as a Service and Mobile Cloud Computing.

The Global Mobile Cloud, Powered by Aepona

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