PARTNER INTERVIEW: Opensignal is one of the leading global independent performance data analytics organizations. It provides actionable insight into how CSPs are choosing and experiencing network services globally. In 2021 Comlinkdata acquired Opensignal, having acquired Tutela in 2019. This year the organization consolidated under the single brand name Opensignal, accelerating its mission to advance connectivity for all. We catch up with CEO Dave Isenberg to find out what this means for CSPs.

The strapline for your new brand is “Advancing Connectivity For All”. That is quite a bold claim, can you tell us what you mean by that?
Well we say that, because that is what we are doing. Our reporting reveals the truth about connectivity experience for all to see. We provide a range of solutions to network operators to directly improve their competitiveness and performance – by delving into their end to end network experience, as well as their subscriber performance. Competition with the end customer experience firmly at the center drives the entire industry forwards.

Many people will be wondering why the larger acquiring organization, Comlinkdata, has adopted an acquired organization’s name? It is not unprecedented, but it is unusual. Can you explain the reasoning?
Opensignal already had a strong reputation for its in depth accurate reporting of network experience, not just within the telecommunications industry but stretching far beyond. As we joined together into one organization, we decided it was logical to build on that trust and recognition with the broader community.

Can you explain what unique capabilities each founding company brings to the whole – and expand on why the whole is greater than the sum of the parts?
Comlinkdata’s core strength was in helping our customers understand the competitive dynamics of the market, switching patterns and market share data. Tutela was providing in-depth network analytics, and Opensignal complemented the two with analytics that spanned both a technical and commercial view. By bringing those views together and integrating them into one coherent set of data and analytics, we give our customers unrivaled insight spanning the full spectrum of their business and an understanding on how they can improve it.

A number of your customers had (and presumably still have) solutions provided by each of the three founding firms – what does the consolidation mean for existing customers?
They’ll of course be able to enjoy all the benefits they already have, and can now start to expand into our wider solution set. We are creating one coherent set of data to underpin all of our products. As customers take advantage of the new capabilities on offer they can be confident that these are based on a single, consistent foundation that doesn’t result in contradictory information.

This rebrand is much more than a rebadging exercise, how much technical and organizational integration is there between the products and people of each firm?
Knowledge sharing across the business has been a priority from day one. The more we learn from each other, the more opportunities we come across for collaboration and integration. Perhaps the most visible example of this is our recent Fixed Broadband Experience report. It combines data and expertise from all three of the founding businesses to reveal the truth about fixed broadband experience in the USA that was simply not possible in the past.

What sets the new Opensignal apart from others in the network performance and analytics space?
Simply put, we offer the full package. Our solutions span the entire spectrum of use cases, from strategic insights to a detailed technical view to understand what is happening on networks, why it’s happening and how to take action. They provide a 360 understanding of user-centric network experience, where all the tools draw from a single, coherent data set.

5G promises to deliver some truly transformative services, although it may take time before customers notice a real difference. How can Opensignal help carriers speed up the roll out of this game-changing technology?
In the 4G era a lot of focus was on speed. Speed still matters for plenty of use cases but 5G expands to encompass much more of a complete digital lifestyle. Take mobile gaming for example: one of the goals of 5G was to reduce latency, which has a big impact on gaming experience.

Going forward we see big changes in the way fans engage with sports, live streaming, and immersive experiences like VR and AR that are now starting to become mainstream. Understanding the mobile experience of these types of advanced services is complex but we have a proven track record of pioneering new measures in the past years. We were the first to directly measure video experience, then we took on mobile gaming and, during the pandemic when the whole world moved online, we were helping operators understand video conferencing experience.

Watch out for more innovations from us in this area during 2023!

We’re starting to see CSPs offer genuinely converged services. In terms of user experience, what are the key challenges CSPs face and, again, how can Opensignal help?
What an end user really experiences in a converged environment is really quite complex. Take the example of catching up on a TV show while commuting home. When on the train, the experience on mobile is impacted not just by the mobile network but by operator throttling policies, CDN interconnect etc. On arriving home and switching to WiFi we have the home WiFi hub and broadband connection to think about. By measuring the end to end experience we help operators understand how all of those factors interplay to create what the end customer really experiences, and of course the market side of our data can help them understand how customers are responding to that experience.

Finally, you’ll be at MWC23. What can conference attendees and the industry expect from Opensignal at that event, and in the coming year?
We’ll be revealing some of our latest innovations, as well as some early examples of the real power we can deliver by bringing all this together into a single coherent holistic view.

We are looking forward to meeting up again in person, and hearing what exciting plans our customers have for the future and how we can support them with those plans. When we do that together as an industry we really are, advancing connectivity for all.