An Interview with Jerzy Szlosarek, COO, Epsilon


As more and more operators are finding it tough to monetize on the data deluge, innovative methodologies around big data, analytics and right kind of outsourcing models might create the winning strategy for them. In an interaction with Jerzy Szlosarek, Chief Operating Officer, UK based Epsilon talks about how the company is helping operators in terms of doing more with less.

What are some of the broad areas of focus for Epsilon today?

Epsilon is focused on delivering outsourced network services for wholesale telecoms carriers, network operators and service providers globally. We have over 500 network operators pre-connected to our platform, the Epsilon Global Network Exchange, which we use to create the networking solutions they need.

We are present in 170 countries around the world with specific expertise in serving developing markets. This might be connecting an operator in Africa around the globe or helping a global carrier to access a market like Indonesia or Myanmar. A lot of Indian telecom operators utilize our expertise.

Our services have evolved over the years from connecting operators from city-to-city to offering local access networks that deliver building-to-building connectivity around the globe. We’re also helping operators to migrate from TDM to IP with outsourced networks that are efficient and simple to manage.

Today’s telecom operators are finding it extremely hard to monetize on the data overload. How can they achieve this?

Infrastructure development is capex-intensive. To keep pace with the rate of growth in data, operators need to look at where they add value and where they should invest or outsource. The key is rationalise network investments and upgrades to be sure they have a real impact on the business and help to differentiate the services being offered.

Outsourcing non-core elements of the business can improve the cost-base of the operator and allow it to make smart and meaningful investment.

As an outsourcer, Epsilon’s core competence is achieving scale and reach through aggregating and layering multiple networks on its backbone.  Due to this aggregation and layering effect, Epsilon has fine-tuned its service management, resiliency and availability proposition to provide a robust global network and operation and maintain leadership in this space.

How can big data and analytics help them in terms of increasing their revenue opportunities? How can Epsilon help here?

Big data and analytics represent a huge opportunity. We operate a subsidiary called Cataleya that produces a Session Border Controller that is focused on delivering the highest possible quality of service on the network as well as transparency into the traffic on the network end-to-end. Cataleya really offers operators the opportunity to harvest a tremendous amount of network data that can be evaluated and examined.

When you have transparency into the network end-to-end you can begin to see where congestion is occurring, where faults are happening and a whole range of other information about quality of service and performance. When you begin to look at this data, you can enable higher performance applications and guarantee class of service far beyond what is being offered today.

How does the company look at the Indian operations today?

Epsilon supports large global operations on behalf of many Indian operators but does not operate a domestic Indian network nor does it operate PoP’s in India today.

Where are the big growth pockets for the company? What kind of growth are you looking at?

Our biggest growth opportunities are in offering network operators enterprise connectivity through its large portfolio of local access operators connected to its Global Network Exchange Core sold and managed via its eCommerce tools.

Managing enterprise networks is a pain point for network operators so we are able to take on the challenge of managing multiple operator relationships to deliver a complete solution for our customers. In a single city an operator may need to have four relationships to deliver on their local access requirements. They can come to Epsilon and we will manage it all from a single source and on a global scale.

This is growing fast and we’re seeing more and more operators come to us to simplify their local access networks.

We also see huge potential in eCommerce in international telecoms. For years the international telecoms industry has enabled eCommerce in other industries by providing infrastructure but had not used the business model to sell services. That is why we created eCX.

eCX is an eCommerce platform for buying and selling of network services globally. You can buy or sell connectivity around the globe, compare prices and reserve bandwidth from the click of a mouse.

The advantages of eCommerce makes sense for both the smallest niche players through to the largest global service providers. By transacting online, smaller players are able to level the playing field without using resource and budget to create new relationships around the globe in order to buy the services they need.

Large service providers can serve more customers quickly while increasing reach into smaller markets. eCommerce is a cost-efficient and an effective way to buy and sell services. Its adoption in the communications market is about changing behaviours and realising its potential.

What are some of the key challenges that lie in front for your operations?

We want to continue to focus on delivering local access networks and adding users to the eCX platform. Both have shown tremendous growth but we can see that there’s potential for them to really influence the market and help operators succeed.

Over the coming 12 months, we will be working with operators as they transition from TDM networks to IP. We want to demonstrate that with the right partner this transition can be pain-free and seamless. Our challenge is to make these projects successful and show operators that network outsourcing can be simple, easy and effective.

How can big data and analytics solve basic challenges in developing countries such as Bangladesh or Mexico?

True end-to-end quality of service is the biggest challenge. Big data and analytics will be key to gaining a complete view of what is happening on the network and ensuring network performance no matter the market.

The better the data and insights into the network, the better the performance across the board. If you’re in Mexico or Bangladesh, you should be able to access and use the same applications as anywhere else and that comes down to network performance.

With concepts such as SDN and NFV, today it is increasingly getting about software and hardware has surely taken a backseat. Your comments on this trend especially in the telecom space?

As for Software-Defined Networking (SDN), I think that will just be called “networking” in the next three to five years. It makes sense that we use network resources more efficiently and try to reduce the capex being spent on networking equipment that may not be being used to its full potential.

Despite the talk SDN isn’t really happening in the network today but it will. Customers aren’t asking for SDN. They want efficient high-quality solutions and it is the operators that will use SDN to deliver that.