OSS/BSS systems are at the center of Network Operator’s operation. With the rapid growth of communication services and technologies, maintaining those systems is extremely complicated and costly; but it is essential too, as customer demand for an always wider range of services to be available.
While the biggest players can handle such investments and costs, small and medium sized operators will find it very difficult.
The complexity of services and systems to maintain is the same regardless of the size of the operator. This means that they need to maintain such systems with smaller IT teams, while delivering the new services faster to remain competitive.
License-based solutions for OSS and BSS are simply too expensive for small telcos, and it is hard to retain personnel skilled on such operations.
Cloud-based delivery model provides pre-configured solutions, available on-demand. They require very little investment in capital and relieve the operator from the management and maintenance of the needed infrastructure. Above all, they let these small operators provide services at a competitive cost even if the volumes are low.
Some major solution providers have already seen the potential of this business model and are actively investing in it and developing strategic partnership to deliver cloud-ready real-time converged billing and customer care platform for communications service providers across the globe.
Betsy Pridmore, Director Application Platform at Microsoft said, “As networks, devices and applications continue to feed into the data explosion, communications service providers need to assess how their systems are not only able to manage today’s needs but are ready for tomorrow’s challenges.”
Tiered pricing is one of the hottest topic for North American and European operators. The rapid development of mobile internet and the arrival of 4G networks in these countries sparked a lot of reflexion and changes in the way operators bill for their services.Canada, for example, has recently seen a lot of confusion around a new billing regulation regarding Internet services.
A decision taken last month by the Ottawa-based Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission that would made it uneconomical for the providers to offer packages with no limits on Internet has just been overruled by Canada’s Industry Minister.
By comparison, emerging markets and Asia Pacific markets seemmore mature in regards to their pricing strategies.“It seems operators in Asia, for example, better evaluate the true cost of delivering services and they develop smarter pricing strategies as a result,” said Humera Malik, director of global marketing at for an international telecom billing vendor.Rather than look at service lifecycles, Malik believes it is the lifecycle of the subscriber that will inevitably become most important to track with 4G services.
The multiplicity of profiles for these users will force the operators to understand them better and offer packages that will appear attractive to them, including the non-savvy ones. This better understanding of customer profiles and desires can only be obtained through a complete convergence of provisioning, activation, billing and customer care.To manage services and build compelling price plans, operators will need sophisticated monitoring and analytics, as well as much more advanced marketing and customer care tactics.
Operators will have to be more flexible and offer a wider range of packages, options and promotions to optimize customer satisfaction and revenue. They should already make sure their systems provide this flexibility and adaptability.