Bercut helps Tele2 create new products under other rules
Bercut remained in the shadow of Tele2 for a long time. The technological solutions delivered by the company to Tele2 have drastically changed the performance of that telecom giant. Making payments by a smartphone, retaining a mobile number after switching to another operator and selling unused data — all those services have been successfully implemented, also due to Bercut involvement as a BSS partner.
The successful cooperation of two companies lasts for 17 years. During this time Tele2 gained a subscriber base in Russia of more than 44.6 mln. Bercut, a billing solution developer with 25 years of experience, supplied Tele2 with the technological solutions that enabled creating and improving hundreds of new products. Overall, the company delivered software to its partners with a total subscriber base of more than 300 mln.
Founded in 1995 in St. Petersburg, Bercut develops and delivers technology solutions for telecom operators and service providers to this day. Among the clients are Tele2, MegaFon, MTS, VEON, ALTEL, SberMobile and dozens of other telecom companies in Russia and abroad.
The company's revenue increased by 80.9% in 2019 compared to the previous reporting period. Bercut has entered the top 100 IT companies in Russia.
Bercut and Tele2 start their cooperation
Tele2 Russia was originally founded by Swedish Tele2 AB when it acquired several mobile networks in 2003 in the Russian Federation. Since then, Tele2 has been using Bercut software products in a new market. As a developer of billing systems, Bercut has delivered technical solutions tailored to best integrate with the Swedish infrastructure.
Among the Bercut products are the following:
- IN@Voice, a convergent billing system;
- Unica, a platform for managing and creating value-added subscriber services;
- Expera, a platform for providing VAS that generate extra revenues.
Tele2 used these and other solutions for providing communications services to Russian clients.
The first ten years became the period of Tele2 growth in Russia.
In 2005, the telecom operator launched international Callback roaming that reduced subscribers’ expenses on international calls. In particular, this was achieved due to the rapid implementation of the service on the Bercut software platform.
One year later, a subscriber base of Tele2 exceeded 5 mln. The telecom operator acquired several Indigo GSM operators that provided impetus to developing the BSS solution.
Bercut carried out the data migration in the shortest time without expanding the solution, and launched full-featured online charging.
Once Tele2 purchased four Indigo telco operators, its GSM network license in Russia was extended. 38 mln users gained an advantage of using the services provided by the telecom operator.
In 2011, Bercut implemented the functionality of mobile payments based on the IN@Voice billing system and the mobile commerce system. The Tele2 subscribers, 20 mln by that time, started to pay for mobile services by their smartphones. Making payments became easier, thus resulting in increased revenues and higher subscriber loyalty.
Standalone Tele2 IT infrastructure
In 2013, the IT infrastructure of Tele2 began to emerge because VTB Group acquired Tele2 Russia from Swedish Tele2 AB. Bercut undertook to replace the Swedish corporate IT systems with the Russian ones.
To quickly replicate the functionality of the Swedish solution, Bercut implemented the platform for managing partner services — SPACE, and the Ring Back Tone service. The IT landscape was expanded to create new business models and to enhance the product line.
SPACE made it easier and more effective to interact with content providers. Subscribers won again. They gained easy access to more infotainment services, higher QoS and flexible tariffs.
Tele2 software solutions were equipped with the highly technological interface (API) that allowed optimizing business resources and facilitating operations. The architecture of the IT landscape was transformed. It became a service-oriented (SOA) one, thus contributing to greater scalability and business opportunities.
The year 2013 proved a crucial for the Russian telecom market. Subscribers have been given the legal right to retain their phone number when switching to another telecom operator. The new service was called the Mobile Number Portability (MNP). Communications service providers, including Tele2, were looking for a technology solution that would enable the MNP implementation. In record-breaking three months, Bercut managed to overcome this challenge with IN@Voice, the BSS platform.
According to the Central Research Institute of Communications, 4 mln of Russians switched to another mobile operator in January and November of 2013. The majority of phone numbers (27%, i.e. more than 1 mln) were ported to the "T2 RTK Holding" network (Tele2).
Tele2 succeeded again with the new advertising platform "Honesty" announced in 2014. It was based on the most transparent and flexible tariff policy. For example, free calls within the network became available to subscribers. The Bercut IN@Voice billing system provided flexible configuration.
Tele2 becomes a federal operator
Thanks to the integration of Rostelecom mobile assets, Tele2 obtained a status of a federal operator. It was necessary to perform migration of 13 mln subscribers from 20 Rostelecom sites to the Tele2 database. Each site was a separate company with its own IT solutions, systems and product lines. Despite the complexity, Tele2 and Bercut jointly performed the data migration in just six months.
Having received the federal licenses of 2G/3G and 4G in Russia, Tele2 started providing services in 65 regions of the country. By this time, Bercut already gained experience in technologies and offered a solution based on the Hybrid Integration Platform. The platform was adapted to the telecom operator's infrastructure and made it possible to quickly create and launch complex subscriber services and solutions, including 3G and LTE networks.
Later on, Bercut enhanced the installed software solutions and technically redesigned the services. On October 22, 2015, Tele2 launched 3G and 4G networks in Moscow and the Moscow region into commercial operation.
The year 2016 became a significant milestone in Tele2 corporate customer servicing. The billing system was integrated with the other two systems intended for flexible generation of client documents and warehouse management. This enabled the telecom operator to improve efficiency and interaction with dealers and agents.
The subscribers of the operator were able to connect to Tele2 in the stores "M.Video", "Technosila", DNS, in the offices of "VSC", in the branches of "Rosgosstrakh-Bank" and "Home Credit Bank". The number of alternative distribution outlets increased by 26% in 2016 and reached 71 K.
In the Moscow region, in a short time, 500 monobrand salons and modules were opened. The total number of outlets was 120 K.
In 2017, Tele2 adopted a new communication strategy called "Other rules" based on a fundamentally different concept. The operator focused on the innovative products that proved a crucial in the telecom market.
The first in this series was the "Rollover" service, implemented on HIP after the platform deployment in 2014. In the process Bercut became not only a vendor, but also a solution partner of Tele2 — a center of expertise for developing new business models of interaction with clients. Now Bercut offers more than IT solutions; they are turn-key business products for Tele2 subscribers. The IT specialists started to work in close cooperation with a product marketing team.
The "Rollover" service became subsequently the basis for breakthrough services, in particular — "Сhange minutes for gigabytes" and "Share gigabytes". The capabilities of the intelligent platform were drastically enhanced in 2018 with the introduction of Service Broker built on the Expera platform by Bercut. The solution refined configuration on SSP/MSC, thus reducing time and efforts required for service updates.
Since 2018 Bercut has been actively optimizing the development and launch of Tele2 commercial products. For example, the Bercut Test Engine (BTE) system allowed the company to automate test procedures for a number of services and, as a result, to halve work hours.
In 2019, the highly publicized and unique product was created — "Tele2 Market”. It is based on the IN@Voice billing system and the HIP by Bercut. Now subscribers can offer a lot for sale or buy minutes, gigabytes and SMS at the first online marketplace in the country.
In just the first month, a number of offered lots exceeded one mln. In total, over 1 petabyte of the Internet traffic was placed at the marketplace. 2.5 mln of Tele2 users with an equal number of buyers and sellers put on sale more than 50 mln minutes and 400 K SMS.
In September of the same year, the Profit together service was officially launched on the basis of Bercut BRE (Business Rules Engine), allowing customers to join in groups for profit, for example, to get a monthly discount. The special conditions apply if they pay for services on time, and depend on a number of subscribers in the group.
Tele2 and Bercut partnership now and in the future
In February 2020, Rostelecom on behalf of Tele2 concluded a deal to acquire Bercut. The merger was intended to reduce Tele2 expenses on billing, speed up the launch of new services and tune existing services.
Alexey Telkov Chief Technical Officer at Tele2: "The merging of the Tele2 and Bercut competencies is quite a natural and a logical step in our long-term cooperation. Billing is a core structure that ensures the resilience of the company's processes. Tele2 responds quickly to user requests and anticipates popular tendencies in telecom, which helps us shape trends in the mobile market. The integration ensures that the Tele2 innovative products are even more effectively marketed. It allows retaining the status of a telecom operator acting under other rules."
For Bercut, the integration means that the company will move closer towards the business processes and ideas of Tele2, thus opening new opportunities for the creation and development of new products.
Andrey Bogdanov Chief Executive Officer at Bercut: "Saying that Bercut has 17 years of experience with Tele2 is not strictly true. It's not just an experience, it's a long-term partnership. The partnership has always been the hallmark of Bercut activities relating to the interaction with clients. Being an expert in technology and end-to-end solutions means looking continuously for an answer to the question: "How can our products and solutions help the customer?" For this purpose, we should understand how your client's business is organized and what tasks must be solved, analyze and understand trends of the telecom industry. Today we get new opportunities to do so. Now we have moved to a new stage of our partnership. We act as a close-knit team and get synergy from joining competencies, experience and processes. This will enable Tele2 to launch even more innovative products, thus making us proud of our participation in their creation."