Why is Onboarding Carriers on “Bring Your Own Carrier” So Challenging?

When you google “Bring your own carrier”, you will find many articles discussing the benefits of BYOC for enterprises and carriers. A summary of those benefits is:

  1. Enterprises can retain their carriers’ contracts for their PSTN access
  2. Completely offloading all the telco assets and resource to manage them
  3. Carriers can retain the customer without having to deal with the UCaaS or CCaaS stack

To advance these benefits, several players of the Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) or Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) offer Bring your Own Carrier (BYOC) programs to their enterprise customers. All UCaaS and CCaaS providers are trying to get as many carriers as possible to onboard their BYOC programs. This all sounds so simple. But is it really that simple?

Let’s look at what it takes to onboard a carrier into a BYOC program. Of course, the first task for such a project is to narrow down the list of carriers to onboard. The product teams determine the market and categorize the onboarding carriers geographically. While that task is important and by no means easy, the actual task of technically onboarding and making sure the networks are connected and the end-to-end service works as expected, is more challenging than it seems. Let’s discuss why this is so challenging.

The following things must be considered when onboarding a carrier.

  1. The network and SBC configuration between the UCaaS provider and the PSTN carrier must be coordinated and integrated. Technically, every carrier network is unique, and while they are all compliant to SIP, each one is implemented differently, and we need to make sure that they work end-to-end.
  2. End-to-end service must be verified when the trunks are provisioned and configured between the two networks. Many times, if there is a problem, the issues must be diagnosed and isolated to the configuration.
    a.  Typically, these issues are mostly interworking issues. A suitable solution for both the networks must be engineered and coordinated for the configuration.
    b.  Once this is resolved, the service must be verified end-to-end for high-quality user experience and this requires highly skilled engineers who understand the carrier networks to diagnose these issues.
  3. The network security teams must be coordinated to ensure the solution is compliant to the authentication and encryption requirements of both the BYOC program team and carrier teams.
  4. In cases where the UCaaS/CCaaS providers allow flow through provisioning to make the enterprise IT team’s experience an easy one, the flow through provisioning must be validated end-to-end.
  5. Finally, after onboarding, the service must be validated on a regular basis as any change in networks could have a detrimental effect on the user experience. Constant network changes are nearly inevitable from the continuous updates released by UCaaS and CCaaS providers. This is why continuous testing is a necessity so carriers can properly adopt the Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) approach and keep up with the product lifecycles.

Now, imagine the challenge of working with multiple operators through this process for the BYOC service. Most UCaaS and CCaaS organizations will require large teams to scale and work through these carriers. This is generally a manual process unless the process and validation are automated. This is where it becomes more challenging.

We have fine-tuned and automated this process of onboarding Carriers for several UCaaS providers like Cisco, Microsoft, Avaya, etc., resulting in faster and more accurate validation. Having the best practices and knowing the individual carrier network requirements will help streamline and accelerate the process. It’s like having the best team on your side to help accelerate your BYOC program.

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