IO FM Foundations: FAQ about IO with Jason Bryan

Introducing IO FM

IO FM is our new radio channel in which we are going to keep a record of the building of IO. In our Foundations series, we explain the basis on which IO has been created, describing the raw materials and answering all the W’s that we have been asked since we started it. Don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter to be informed of our podcasts releases.

The Podcast Transcript

This is an edited version of the IO FM Foundations FAQs transcript.

I’m Jason Bryan and I’m Director General of IO. This podcast hopefully will help to answer some of the Frequently Asked Questions regarding IO. IO is a new organisation built for Mobile operators to meet and discuss their challenges with International Roaming. IO and it’s short for Innovative Operators.

I used to work in O2, Vodafone, I’ve worked in Roaming 25 years. Over the years. I’ve done a lot of research with roaming people and heard a lot of roaming people tell me the following four things:

  1. They are dissatisfied with the pace at which roaming products and services are being rolled out.
  2. They don’t think Roaming gets the focus it deserves.
  3. Nothing innovative is happening in Roaming.
  4. That they face too many operational challenges with roaming, call it lack of participation from fellow operators, lack of market opportunities or lack of industry drive.

After decades of listening to this, I decided I wanted to play my part in doing something about it.

In 2019, Dhiraj Wazir and I met with some MNOs in we started a VoLTE Roaming Taskforce. Almost two years later, it’s doing really well and achieving a lot of the targets that operators said they were looking for.

First VoLTE Roaming Taskforce meeting, December 2019.

So recently we took a bold step. We started a new company. A new member organisation. A non-profit. Aimed at permanently doing what the Volte Roaming Lab is doing. Building a community of Mobile operators to solve operational challenges.

Dhiraj Wazir and I, and quite a few Mobile operators, are the architects behind the new organisation. We’re looking for more leaders to help us keep building the organisation.

We asked ourselves, If not us then who, if not now then when.

Innovative Operators has now three labs. One focused on VoLTE and two new labs focussed on 5G Roaming  5GRL and African Roaming lab ARA.

The focus of the organisation is MNOs helping MNOs.

If you’ve ever been a small MNO, not in a group, you’ll know it’s hard to get the insights you may need and make the most of the industry opportunities.

If you’ve even been in a group, well depending on the participation you will know it’s not always easy to lead the industry. Often in a big group you find yourself having to train smaller operators to get them up to speed.

As we know well, Roaming often requires the entire industry to move as one to get things done. Think NRTRDE, RAEX etc.

It seems sometimes like what we’ve all been looking for a long time is a community spirit to get things done in the roaming space.

A word on the GSMA. The GSMA have a very important role in building standards and they don’t always get the support they need from the community. We see the GSMA as a very important space for standards creation, MNOs should go to the GSMA to help make and improve standards. But it’s not always the place where operators have time to work through their day-to-day operational challenges.

When it comes to working together to make those standards a success, we hope they will use IO labs to work through any challenges the standards can’t address. Even if it’s just educational.

IO is for those operators who want that additional support and community to work with. If companies want to join that’s great if they don’t want to join that’s also fine. IO is not a profit making organisation so for us it depends on whether a mobile operator thinks it can help them.

We’ve spent a lot of time putting this together so that mobile operators can run their own labs, chair meetings, and give direction on what they want to achieve.

We also know there’ are a lot of companies looking to lead in innovation. Well, there’s a space here for you to get the visibility for the projects you want and plan for the best possible roaming products and services in the market.

To support the organisation we have put a membership scheme together. It’s not much to join, but the organisation has to be organised somehow and have all the reverent support it needs. It’s a minimal fee which, in time, the Executive Board of operators will define as they want.

Please remember, at one point in time or another, you said you wanted a community like this, we listened and after a lot of effort, we were brave enough to put it together for you.

So, now it’s up to you. Participation is now entirely up to you. If you want to know more please let us know and will be happy to answer all your questions or fellow members can also answer them if you prefer.

People naturally have a lot of questions. So it is understandable.

The main point here is, it’s now or never. So if you want to expedite roaming, innovate roaming, work together to improve roaming services across the industry, why not see what IO can offer.

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