Eric Priezkalns is a founder of talkRA. He is a widely recognized expert on risk management and business assurance for communications providers. After a successful full-time career, Eric now splits his time between occasional consulting projects for trusted customers, and his many other passions. Eric was Director of Risk Management for Qatar Telecom and has worked with Cable & Wireless Group, T-Mobile UK, BSkyB, Worldcom UK, and Nawras, as well as advising various software developers and system integrators.

Eric is a qualified chartered accountant; he trained whilst employed by the Enterprise Risk Services division in Deloitte's London office. His Masters in Information Systems was earned with distinction, and he holds a first-class degree in Mathematics and Philosophy.

In 2006, Eric was already a popular speaker at conferences, but he decided to reach out to a broader audience with the first blog dedicated to revenue assurance. Many have since copied him, but none have matched his output.

Eric was the first leader of the the TM Forum's Enterprise Risk Management team, a founding member of the TM Forum’s Revenue Assurance team, and he developed the original Revenue Assurance Maturity Model. In the UK, Eric is known for his critique of billing accuracy regulations. In Qatar, Eric was a founding member of the National Committee for Internet Safety. Eric currently serves on the committee of the Revenue Assurance Group, and he is an editorial advisor to Black Swan.

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This is the last post that will ever be published on talkRA. The optimism with which we move on to our new website at is muted by the retirement of a long-serving and trusted servant. When talkRA began, there were no other websites discussing how to do revenue assurance. Times change, and so must we. Rivals to talkRA came and went; none survived for long. talkRA’s popularity grew each year.

Visitors came from far and wide. Visitor data was first collated on August 8th, 2008. Since then, talkRA has been read in 199 countries. We could never have imagined such an outcome, when we began work on a simple WordPress blog that went live after a couple of days of hacking.

talkRA had some definitive hits. A glance at the list of the top 10 most popular individual articles confirms that we told important stories that others missed, or chose to ignore, or were slow to identify. In reverse order, those articles were:

10. Revenue Assurance Maturity – Mike Willett’s views on the RA maturity model, from 26th October 2009.

9. Subex Dives; No management turnaround – criticism of Subex’s poor results and lack of strategy, published 24th May 2013.

8. Talking Revenue Assurance with Telenor – an 18th December 2008 interview with Einar Nymoen of Telenor, where we discussed maturity and coverage in the context of Telenor’s revenue assurance program.

7. New TMF Report on Revenue Assurance – my 5th February 2010 review of a TM Forum paper on revenue assurance, which gave equal measures of praise and criticism.

6. Subex CTO: Understanding the Connections – the 23rd February 2009 podcast interview with Mark Nicholson, then the Subex CTO, discussing how they would integrate Syndesis’ network expertise into Subex’s assurance products.

5. Revenue Assurance KPIs – the 17th July 2007 observation that cVidya’s software had incorporated a TM Forum ‘standard’ for KPIs even before anyone else knew about it.

4. Assured and Direct: Report from the Subex User Conference – an article from 27th October 2013 which discussed how Subex’s new CEO presented a refreshed company strategy at his first user conference.

3. Connectiva: No News is Not Good Enough – criticism of the public relations black hole surrounding the collapse of Connectiva, published on 27th June 2012.

2. Resell Your Cell – advice on the selling of used handsets from 13th February 2008.

1. Subex’s FCCB Worry – analysis of Subex’s looming debt burden as at 10th April 2008.

Many read those posts, whilst few will read this one; an automated redirect will soon whisk homepage visitors to our new home at Commsrisk. However, the old site will linger on the web, as an archive. After nearly one thousand posts, it is inevitable that every so often, somebody somewhere will click on a link that leads to one of our old articles ;)

talkRA is not dead but reborn, as a more comprehensive resource covering the expanding range of risks and issues that concern our readers. If you are reading this, let me thank you for being one of the thousands of people whose interest encouraged us to launch talkRA, to keep posting new articles on a regular basis, and eventually to create a new and upgraded home for our words. Please join us as at Commsrisk, were we intend to write a new chapter in our history.

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Bypass fraud using simboxes has received a lot of coverage recently, so I was intrigued to learn that LATRO, fraud detection specialists, claim to possess a new technology that will identify simboxes as soon as they connect to the network. In an interview with Dan Baker for Black Swan, LATRO CEO Lex Wilkinson said the following:

… we developed a technology that allows us to flag what we call the Protocol Signatures of SIM box devices vs. the devices a normal mobile subscriber uses.

… the information we are processing and analyzing is based on signaling data that is not available in CDRs.

Inevitably the technical details were not shared, but I would like to learn more about how this technology works, and I suspect there are plenty of victims of simbox fraud who will feel the same way.

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In our new podcast, Dan Baker joins me as co-host and we speak to Jan Dingenouts, international fraud expert, about the ways wholesale and retail telcos can cooperate to reduce fraud. Subscribers to our iTunes feed need do nothing – it will be automatically downloaded next time you synch. The rest of you can listen to the podcast at our new website, Commsrisk.

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There are many reasons to read the latest report from Protiviti and North Carolina State University, which describes how executives perceive the top risks. To find out four of the best reasons, you should read my article, published exclusively on Commsrisk.

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