Is your BSS ready for 5G?

Written by on April 7, 2016 in Billing & Payments, Guest Blog with 0 Comments

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The demand for ubiquitous connectivity has forced the mobile operator community to take drastic action. This is mainly around IT transformation in order to meet the ever-changing needs of its customers and their always-on expectations. Lightning-fast network capacity from future 5G networks will drive new opportunities for services, and operators must embrace these new revenue stream ideas today, well in advance of their actual launch. This creates a daunting challenge for mobile operators to map out their transformation strategy today, deliver on the technology promises customers expect from them, and be ready to monetize these new, up-and-coming revenue streams.

While the new 5G ‘killer app’ has not yet been defined, mobile operators will likely treat the network itself as a new revenue resource, offering up network as a service based on speed, QoS and value for both the B2C and B2B segments.

This likelihood will require an update to back office and front office systems with the new capabilities available from the 5G network, including using network intelligence functions as a key aspect of every billing transaction. Higher network speeds and greater capacity translate to new service opportunities.  Current 5G models show mobile operators splitting network bandwidth and resources based on service demands. Each of these network slices will contain network-based transactions that will create rateable and billable events. And each of these billable events will translate into revenue, either for the operator or for the operator and service partner, and is intrinsically linked to customer experience.

BSS at the Core of 5G Service Revenue

Mobile operators must be ready to transform their BSS if they are to rate and bill for a new wave of services and ensure that BSS infrastructure can support whatever 5G business models are thrown their way. In fact, analyst firm Ovum expects spending on revenue management-related BSS systems to grow by 5 percent to $16.6 billion in 2020, much of it being driven by digital transformation and new service readiness.

5G cellular wireless networks are envisioned to provide higher data rates, enhanced end-user quality-of-experience (QoE), reduced end-to-end latency and lower energy consumption. One of the key catalysts for 5G infrastructure will be the growing ecosystem of things around the end user, acting as a producer and consumer of data, as new terminals will be tuned to retrieve and generate information through ephemeral networks of cognitive objects and cyber physical systems, independently from the network infrastructure availability.

One example of a 5G revenue generating service comes from a water company in a drought stricken region that could leverage wireless sensors located on reservoirs and delivery infrastructure around its supply area to maximise water resources. The company would receive guaranteed network capacity from an operator to ensure each sensor remains wirelessly connected to a central management system. Through periodic data gathering, or via on-demand  updates, the utility would gain valuable insight into current reservoir levels, discover and prevent water main breaks before they happen, identify leaks in the infrastructure, as well as link to smart meters to compare actual consumption with projections. In this case, each download would be a billable event for the operator, yet the costs of services to the water company would likely dwarf that of a massive infrastructure repair or water purchase in case a reservoir capacity reached critical levels.

Another example could be a mobile operator partnering with a sports media company to provide 4K quality streaming of a sporting event.  In this case, the streamed event would be given dedicated bandwidth and billed based on a flat-rate price or duration. Any delivery issues would trigger QoS discounts as part of the BSS policy management and ensure the billing system creates, rates and bills the transactions accordingly.

Potential revenue streams such as these demonstrate the importance of rating and billing flexibility for mobile operators in order for 5G services to be both viable and profitable. 5G creates an opportunity to move mission-critical services from wireline to wireless networks and serves as a wake-up call for mobile operators to assess and evaluate BSS readiness. Any operator that puts off BSS transformation will delay future service innovation and likely leave significant revenue opportunities on the table.

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Paul Hughes

About the Author

About the Author:

Paul is responsible for all aspects of Netcracker’s strategic initiatives across BSS/OSS and customer experience business lines, including customer, product and technology management, market direction and corporate communications and has over twenty years of telecom industry experience. Before joining Netcracker, Paul was Program Director for IDC’s Storage and Data Management Services practice. Prior to IDC, Paul was Director of Marketing at Oracle Communications.

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