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14 November 2019

Tele2 got much more than a cableco when it bought Com Hem

Back in 2017, Faultline and a room full of TV types were frankly flabbergasted at the honesty of a presentation from Com Hem, whereby the Swedish operator proudly wore its badge of the country’s worst performing service provider. This was only the case because Com Hem had since transformed its fortunes – risking it all by bringing in a number of advanced networking technologies, and finally at this week’s Cable Congress there was an update from the operator in what will likely be for the very last time.

Com Hem recently fell victim to Nordic consolidation with its takeover by Swedish telco Tele2 completing in November 2018. Rasmus Aveskogh, Chief Architect at Tele2 and the same man who delivered the warts-and-all confession two years ago, outlined a more recent strategy revolving around building a streaming analytics and big data platform – building on the data mining techniques Com Hem has honed over the years.

“We brought these capabilities in-house to identify anomalies, which we associate with a QoE timeline and then assign an anomaly a magnitude via QoS models. This then produces reports on production goals, losses and yields – quantified in customer experience whether WiFi issues, capacity issues or problems in the network itself,” said Aveskogh.

This transformation has coincided with Tele2’s aggressive transition to CCAP. However, Aveskogh admitted that the deployment of DOCIS 3.0 and 3.1 equipment in the LTE and GSM bands caused customer care calls to shoot up. Tele2’s response was to gather data directly from all modems and then check spectrum manually.

Naturally, this was an arduous and time-consuming process. So, this birthed the second phase in the operator’s network evolution – bringing in machine learning techniques to find anomalies in the aforementioned data and then apply labels to these samples (such as LTE ingress, GSM ingress, tilt, ripple). The labelled data is enhanced with algorithms to quantify anomalies and predict QoS. Aveskogh gave the example of projecting new single carrier QAMs, allowing engineers to see customers who were viable to receive SC-QAM signals and from there evaluate how to proceed.

The difference is that in February 2019, Tele2 reported its lowest call ratio in 6 years, a figure which has apparently fallen further since, as well as recording its lowest churn in Q3 2018 (Com Hem’s last quarter before the takeover by Tele2).