Collaborating behind the scenes

With more and more Telco groups focused on building scale, are partnerships crucial for Telcos to stay competitive? Telenor Linx believes so. We spoke to Telenor Linx, a new global unit born out of Telenor Global Services (TGS) and Telenor Digital (TD), to understand why.

Telenor Linx sits within Telenor Amp and is informally considered the “wholesale arm” of Telenor Group. Its 200-strong team located in Norway, Sweden, Poland, Dubai, Pakistan, Thailand and Singapore uniquely offers the global telco sector, especially those without scale of major international players, flexible roaming and software solutions to enhance and safeguard digital customer experiences.

The team connects MNOs, MVNOs and digital partners, enabling people, telcos, and digital players to embrace the opportunities global connectivity and digitalisation provide. Telenor Linx provides software and platforms that allows telcos and their technology partners to access voice, messaging, roaming, digital sales and direct-carrier-billing services. These solutions, such as digital sales platform Millom, operate in the cloud, are highly secure and scalable to customers and partners worldwide.

“Interestingly in the telco industry, there is a lot of collaboration behind the scenes. We work with more than 150 telcos across Asia-Pacific. Roaming services would not be possible without telcos working together for example. Our customers like the fact that we are also a telco, as we share common goals and understand intrinsically what the opportunities and challenges are for the industry,” said Jay Patel, Telenor Linx’s Director of Partnerships and Customer Success, based in Singapore.

A gatekeeper against fraud

An important area where telcos need to work closely together is around fraud prevention. Telenor Linx has zero tolerance on fraud, and believes the industry needs to stand united to set high standards to combat fraudsters.

“Through the Big Data analytical capabilities of Telenor’s signaling platform, we built a signalling monitoring solution together with a technology partner to identify and block wangiri attacks (where scam callers drop call from a premium or international number in the hope you will call them back) and other types of fraud traffic. We are proud to say that on our platform, we have detected and stopped incidents at an early stage, very often before we inform our customers about the incident. We have had close to zero fraud incidents in 2023 so far,” he added.

Telenor Linx’s fraud prevention journey has yielded good results so far with a 70% decline in annual number of fraud incidents and a 96% fall in the average financial exposure per fraud incident. While fraud incidents are reduced overall, the hallmark of the model is preventing money from reaching fraudsters through timely withholding of payments. This is essentially the heart of Telenor’s zero tolerance policy against fraud, ensuring no amount of money reaches fraud perpetrators involved in criminal activities.

Telenor Linx continues to play an integral role by sharing best practices and success stories at industry forums to build awareness and more importantly, a sense of urgency for the need to develop unity amongst operations in the industry fight against fraud.

Powering telcos with seamless connectivity

Beyond combatting fraud, another top priority for Linx is to help telcos grow digital sales and distribution in third-party apps and ecosystems.

Telenor Linx’s award-winning Millom platform connects telcos to digital service providers, such as Meta or Google, and enables telcos to interact with their subscribers from inside these apps and services.

“Together with our partners we try to help MNOs find alternative payment methods that can help subscribers, who do not have sufficient telco account balance, to buy data top-ups from within the services they are using.” Jay Patel adds.

In Bangladesh, Telenor Asia’s operator Grameenphone introduced a Dynamic Partial Loan service to provide uninterrupted connectivity with the expertise of the Telenor Linx team and support from Facebook. As part of a series of innovative initiatives launched this year, Grameenphone customers can buy data packs directly from the Facebook app using a combination of account and emergency balances, meaning they can stay connected without interruption. It allows customers a more seamless experience and is now one of the most popular ways Grameenphone customers top up data in Bangladesh.

The Linx team has built on this by co-creating a similar solution with one of Indonesia’s biggest telcos, Indosat Ooredoo Hutchinson (IOH). In Indonesia, via Millom, IOH launched a Facebook Mobile Center, its customer engagement channel within the Facebook app. From here, IOH customers can purchase data packs without needing to leave the Facebook app. Given the popularity of digital wallets in Indonesia, carrier fulfilment e-wallet integration was introduced, allowing customers to purchase data top-ups even when they are out of telco account balance or data. This became a preferred data top-up payment option within a few months post-launch.

“We believe telcos should engage with their customers where they spend their time, which is often on platforms by digital service providers. There is more we can do, so with telco’s interests and subscriber needs being the utmost priority, plus innovative ideas from digital service providers, we are working on easy-to-integrate solutions to launch services for local partners in various countries across the region, as well as adding new global partners,” Jay concludes.