1. How many wireless operators does ClearSky serve, and how many subscribers does it reach?
2. Where are ClearSky’s offices and data centers located?
3. How long has ClearSky been providing hosted and managed services to carriers?
4. What is ClearSky’s mission?
5. Do I need to buy all of ClearSky’s services, or can I pick and choose?
6. How quickly can I launch services after I sign the agreement with ClearSky?
7. What equipment must I install on my side in order to take advantage of the ClearSky services?
8. What is the fee structure for ClearSky services?
9. Can some or all of the mobile services be offered with my carrier’s brand?
10. What support can I expect from ClearSky during and after implementation of data services?
11. How do I access ClearSky technical support?
12. How robust is your data center operation?
13. What types of radio networks does ClearSky support?
14. Do my subscribers need to be provisioned for data access in order to access ClearSky services and content?
15. What are “multi-generational” services?
16. Considering today’s “smartphone” capabilities, do we still need a Mobile Internet Gateway?
17. How can we manage and monetize the exponential growth in data traffic on our network?
18. How does Total Traffic Manager (TTM) prevent bill shock?
19. How do we manage our mobile Web subscribers’ home decks?
20. How will I know if my subscribers’ handsets are compatible with the services, content and applications offered by ClearSky?
21. How do I add new handsets after my ClearSky services are in production?
22. How does ClearSky bill pre-paid and post-paid subscribers?
23. How does ClearSky promote the cross-selling of different types of content?
24. What “take rates” can I expect for data services?
25. Why would I use ClearSky’s hosted SMS-C if I already have an SMS-C?
26. Why did ClearSky change its name from ClearSky Mobile Media to ClearSky Technologies?
ClearSky currently provides mobile data services to more than 80 wireless operators serving 8 million subscribers across the Americas.
ClearSky is geographically dispersed, with offices and data centers in Florida, Texas and Colorado.
In 1999, ClearSky became the first non-carrier to operate a mobile data gateway. Operated as a hosted service, the platform delivered mobile browsing and information services to subscribers of GTE Wireless. As our customers’ needs changed over the past decade, we have expanded our offering to include a wide variety of new services such as SMS, MMS, RBT, provisioning, home deck management, single storefront, billing integration, policy and traffic management, usage analytics, LTE services and more.
ClearSky’s primary mission is to create and reliably deliver to regional carrier clients an array of hosted and managed services that will enable them to maximize ARPU, increase subscriber satisfaction and loyalty, and compete effectively against top-tier national carriers.
Most of our clients purchase a comprehensive “bundle” of services from ClearSky, including Multi-G Mobile Internet Gateway, SMS-C, MMS-C , Unified Media Center (UMC), ProVantage home deck management tool, RevShare for billing integration, Short Code Services, Ringback Tones (RBT) and ProVision for subscriber management. You may, however, purchase only the services required to complete your data offering. The most popular optional services are the ProTrends BI analytics and reporting tool for WAP and content purchases, and DayPass Unlimited for 24-hour access to the mobile Web. Our newest offerings, the LTE Services Suite and Total Traffic Manager service, are ideal choices for carriers planning to build an LTE network.
The length of time needed to enable and test services ranges from 4-10 weeks, depending on the specific services chosen, the availability of your technical staff, access to your third-party vendors, and our current workload. Exact milestones and completion dates are mutually determined during the initial “kick-off” call with each carrier client.
Most ClearSky services are offered as hosted solutions delivered from our state-of-the-art data centers in Orlando, Dallas and Denver. In most cases, therefore, our clients are not required to purchase or install any hardware, or purchase a software license. Some ClearSky services, such as RBT, Total Traffic Manager (TTM) and LTE Services Suite incorporate components that must reside in the carrier’s network. These components are usually owned and remotely managed by ClearSky as part of the overall solution.
Typically, there is a one-time implementation fee that covers the direct costs of configuring your specific solution (e.g., creating carrier-branded home decks and websites, setting up and testing on-site hardware, establishing and verifying VPN and network connectivity, and integrating to your pre-paid and/or post-paid billing platforms). Some ClearSky services are offered on a revenue share basis, i.e., you pay us a portion of the revenue that you charge your subscribers.
ClearSky can customize many subscriber-facing mobile Internet and Web portals with your name, logo, colors and other branding elements. The costs are included in our standard implementation fee. The Web pages for desktop browsing of content are served from our data center, but are accessed from links on your normal company website.
Even before your ClearSky services are in production, you will be introduced to our Customer Support team and your Account Manager. The Customer Support team will describe the methods of obtaining customer support, and explain how to interact with our support organization most efficiently. The Account Manager will work with you as often as you wish to coordinate other company resources, as necessary, to maximize the profitably of your data services. For example, the Account Manager will help you interpret data from ProTrends BI and TTM reports, collaborate on retail marketing and training initiatives, coordinate local and cross-carrier contests, and provide custom marketing materials that can be used to promote the most popular services.
The most efficient means to obtain support is to log in and create a ticket in our on-line support system, which can be accessed from the www.csky.com website. This ticket will be routed automatically to the proper department based on the type of request and priority. Also, live customer support can be accessed 24×7 by calling the published support number, or by sending email to support [at] csky [dot] com.
ClearSky currently operates three geographically dispersed data centers: Orlando, Dallas and Denver. Each data center is housed within a co-location facility that has been engineered and constructed to provide 100% availability. All critical power, HVAC and other infrastructure systems are N+1 redundant, and an on-site generator farm will provide power in the event of a total power grid failure. Internet connectivity is redundant through multiple providers, and system redundancy extends through all layers of the service architecture from firewalls, load balancers and routers, extending through application, database, and file service layers. Some services are already delivered with geographic redundancy, and ClearSky has launched an initiative to achieve geographic redundancy for all services by the end of 2012.
All ClearSky services will operate on virtually any network type, including LTE, GSM, CDMA, UMTS and all derivatives thereof. Our qualified handset list contains hundreds of different models across all network types. We have also engineered “hybrid” systems for carriers that operate multiple disparate networks.
Your subscribers can be provisioned to access all ClearSky services, or specific services, by assigning them to a predefined “class of service.” We also enable carriers to sell a variety of subscription-based products from the walled garden, including DayPass, Mobile IM, and Mobile Dating. For unrestricted access to the mobile Web, the subscriber must purchase a data plan (either pay-per-use or subscription) and be provisioned as an “open access” data user.
All ClearSky “Multi-G” services contain interfaces to support IP network cores (IMS), and all existing applications will be updated to support the latest 4G/LTE handsets; however, with ClearSky’s Multi-G SMS-C, MMS-C, Mobile Internet Gateway and Ringback Tone Platform, you can count on full backward compatibility with existing 3G and 2G components.
While the Mobile Internet Gateway has traditionally been a crucial part of the infrastructure to support mobile web browsing, today’s ecosystem needs to adapt to remain relevant. Faster network speeds, richer content, larger data volumes and highly capable mobile devices present new challenges that require awareness and management of all data traffic. ClearSky’s Total Traffic Manager replaces traditional proxy servers and WAP gateways with subscriber-, device-, and application-aware inspection and policy enforcement. Using a combination of hosted and managed components, Total Traffic Manager allows you to create new revenue streams, decrease costs and increase customer satisfaction.
ClearSky’s Total Traffic Manager (TTM) actively monitors and analyzes data traffic as it flows through the carrier’s network, and then generates actions based on a set of pre-configured rules. This is accomplished by placing the ClearSky TTM Enforcement Platform in the data stream to measure traffic and subscriber patterns, and perform real-time traffic policy enforcement. The end result is the ability to create and bill for new services, satisfy existing subscribers with fair allocation of resources, and minimize costs of future network expansion.
TTM can generate text alerts to subscribers when specific thresholds are reached (e.g., 80% of the 4GB capped data plan) or when certain events occur (e.g., user starts a data session while roaming).
The person you designate as your system administrator will have access to ClearSky’s ProVantage tool, a Web-based application used to set up and customize home decks. No technical skills are required to administer ProVantage due to its user-friendly interface. ProVantage allows the creation of an unlimited number of different home decks for different types of subscribers, e.g., teen, sports fan, soccer mom, business executive, Hispanic, etc.
The success of your wireless data program (both initially and ongoing) is highly dependent on the handsets used by your customers. ClearSky has tested hundreds of different mobile phones to ensure that subscribers have the best possible experience across all services and applications. In addition, ClearSky carrier clients can purchase “certified” handsets from one of our business partners that can be preloaded with applications and specialized content. The list of approved handsets is constantly growing as new models are introduced, to ensure the highest possible subscriber adoption. The most current list is published on the ClearSky website, but is only visible to present carrier clients with password access.
When you make plans to introduce new handsets to the market, you should first check to see if the specific handset appears on our supported handset list website, or if the handset has already been “certified” by ClearSky. If the handset is on the supported list, you may begin testing as soon as you wish. If the handset is not on the supported list, you should submit a “request to add handset” through our automated support site. All customers are supplied with a copy of the handset addition guidelines that describes the process in more detail. The normal response time for adding handsets is 2-3 weeks after the request is submitted.
We have completed integration with all popular billing system vendors, allowing both pre-paid and post-paid subscribers to purchase virtually any service effortlessly. For pre-paid subscribers, our RevShare module reaches out to the pre-paid billing system and verifies funds before allowing the purchase. For post-paid subscribers, RevShare authenticates the user, and sends a CDR to the post-paid billing system after every purchase.
With the Unified Media Center (UMC), ClearSky’s single content storefront, your subscribers can easily search, discover and purchase multiple types of applications and content. One simple search command will find all content (e.g., ringtones, ringback tones, images, video clips, games, etc.) containing the search term. Our current entertainment portfolio includes ringtones, ringback tones and images from Warner Music Group, Disney, EMI, Universal Music, and Sony. Including their subsidiary labels, we offer content from more than 100 different music publishers. Your subscribers can also discover and purchase from an extensive collection of popular mobile applications.
It is difficult to predict the adoption rates for any specific service, as it will depend on many factors including the demographic mix of the subscriber base (age, gender, economic status, etc.), type of handsets owned by subscribers, competition, local habits and trends, and more. ClearSky uses proven methodologies to maximize the penetration in every way possible, such as creative cross-channel marketing of content, no-cost browsing plans (walled garden), and constant updating of content assets.
ClearSky’s full-featured, hosted SMS-C can be quickly deployed as your primary SMS-C, or as an adjunct to support additional Inter-Carrier SMS and/or Application Service Provider transaction volume, thereby fulfilling your need to provide ever-increasing capacity. Perhaps best of all, the Multi-G SMS Platform offers all of this while reducing capital expenditures and ongoing maintenance.
While ClearSky continues to offer various types of mobile media, its primary focus is to deliver a comprehensive suite of network infrastructure services to its regional carrier clients, allowing them to maximize ARPU and compete with top tier carriers.