With fast track BSS, operators becoming digital faster

Written by on October 23, 2015 in BillingViews, Guest Blog with 0 Comments

Screen Shot 2015-10-23 at 10.15.19Last week many of telecom’s brightest and best IT folks gathered in Copenhagen for the annual ETIS Gathering. I, alongwith the luminaries from DisruptiveViews, spent the best part of two days talking with operators, analysts and vendors about innovation. We had a speaker from Google telling us all not to be afraid of failure. We should embrace failing fast, and when we do fail pick ourselves up and do something new. We were told that telcos (and vendors) need to be more innovative and not be constrained by the traditional telecoms ‘way of doing things’.

When we convened in the BSS and revenue management session we were all raring to go and be innovative. Then we asked ‘how to get there?’ All operators have legacy systems so these need to go. But……….. as has been pointed out at numerous conferences legacy is another name for systems that work. So operators need this functionality. However, they also need to upgrade their BSS to support new business models and generally enable new revenue given there is a danger that data is becoming commoditised. Several vendors will tell you that billing transformation is the way to go here. This involves large scale replacement of billing systems with a bright new BSS stack that will cure all ills. As you can imagine such large scale transformation projects are not inexpensive and they are not quick. I recently heard an operator embarking on a BSS transformation project that will take five years. According a recent Openet survey of 101 operators, 66% of operators feel that there is a danger data will be a commodity within two years. Even if operators have the money to spend on large billing transformation projects they certainly don’t have the luxury of time. In the same survey operators felt that the time needed for billing transformation projects and the problem of trying to adapt legacy systems were the biggest BSS impediments to operators moving to digital.

It was therefore good to hear some operators talk about fast track approaches to BSS projects. An example of such a fast track approach is using adjunct systems where operators can implement an OCS (online charging system) to collect, rate and charge for all data traffic for all customers (regardless of payment types). The OCS passes the rated data CDR to the existing IN charging system for pre-paid customers and to the existing billing system for post-paid customers. There it can be added to a rated traffic file and included on the customers’ bills. This enables operators to gain the real-time collection, rating and charging benefits for OCS for IMS services. It also protects their existing billing investments from which they gradually migrate from that as voice moves from circuit switched to IMS. This way the legacy system still does its job, operators get real-time collection, rating and charging for all data as well as having a new system to cater for the new business models. And it’s at a fraction of the cost and time required for a billing transformation project.

The survey can be downloaded here.

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Martin Morgan

About the Author

About the Author: With 25 years’ experience in mobile communications software, Martin has worked in mobile billing software since the early days of the industry. As such he’s been around long enough to have had numerous articles published. He has spoken at many conferences. He’s served on the boards of software companies and trade associations. At Openet Martin is responsible for marketing thought leadership and demand creation. .

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