“5G networks anticipated to deliver transformational customer experience”

Many telecom operators are aware that 5G's success depends on their digital Business Support Systems (BSS), and on bringing innovation.

VoicenData Bureau
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Many telecom operators are aware that 5G's success depends on their digital Business Support Systems (BSS), and on bringing innovation to their own business models. BSS is critical to drive agility and operational efficiency and to support emerging business models to capitalize on 5G opportunities as networks, applications, services, and customer behavior evolve. 5G networks are anticipated to deliver a transformational customer experience with improved speed, connectivity, network coverage, interoperability, and more.


Here, Neeraj Vyas, Head of Digital Business Solutions for Southeast Asia, Oceania, and India, Ericsson, tells us more. Excerpts from an interview:

How will 5G transform BSS for telecom operators?

Business support systems (BSS) play a crucial role in managing CSP’s relationships with its customers, partners, and other stakeholders by handling orders, producing reports, sending invoices, etc. Since the inception of telecommunication services, BSS continues to be the backbone for manual and phone-first business processes, particularly in B2B settings. In a Traditional BSS ecosystem, the CSP in a network developer role is used to charge for voice, text, and data services based on consumption or subscription level.


With 5G-fueled innovation in consumer services, CSPs will be in a better position to drive revenue potential with new capabilities going beyond connectivity into new applications and services. In the enterprise segment, with 5G enabled BSS solutions, CSPs will be able to create new revenue streams beyond telecom-related services. In the age of 5G/IoT business, there will be new stakeholders that include:

  • Enterprises and industry verticals that require solutions beyond telecoms.
  • IoT device providers and suppliers of eSIM (embedded SIM) and related technologies.
  • Platform providers that specialize in specific IoT or edge clusters or groups of use cases such as massive and broadband IoT platforms, industrial IoT platforms, and content data networks.
  • Integrators that specialize in specific verticals such as asset management, mission-critical services or automotive that combine capabilities from multiple stakeholders to address consumer needs.

With this, the CSPs must make significant changes across different business operations such as sales and marketing, IT, network management, pricing, and billing. To drive this transformation, a 5G-evolved BSS will be key – supporting service providers in the transition from traditional networking developers to 5G and IoT enablers, and ultimately to service creators who can collaborate beyond telecoms.


How can 5G-enabled BSS enable CSPs to diversify business models and monetize on improved customer experience?

With 5G bringing in new services in the enterprise segment including network slicing, private networks, internet of things (IoT), etc., the redefined BSS will enable CSPs to monetize services for IoT/5G platforms and edge deployments.

With 5G-enabled BSS, CSPs will be able to develop new business models by extending support in the areas of mass-device management, device and resource life-cycle management, subscription management, and charging models for non-telco services, and multiparty charging.


IoT-scale mass-device management

While current BSS architectures are scalable, they will be too costly for IoT use cases due to the large data footprint and processing need of each device. 5G-evolved BSS architecture with persistence and management model will allow many devices to use the same footprint as one traditional device.

This can be addressed using concepts such as herding, where each individual device only requires a minimal data footprint. The behavior of each individual device is determined by the herd configuration, which is a single specification per herd.


Life-cycle management of IoT devices and resources

Managing the life cycles of IoT devices and resources is another significant challenge for BSS. In many emerging IoT applications, the ability to monitor the state of the device throughout its life cycle is not sufficient. Overcoming such challenges will require a BSS architecture that can provide up-to-date state information per individual device or resource as well as aggregated information to the rating, charging, and billing functions.

Subscription management for IoT devices


Subscription management is another opportunity for CSPs in the 5G/IoT context. Traditional BSS are built to manage consumer subscriptions. They are not capable of handling the massive number of devices in IoT use cases in a cost-efficient manner. Subscription management in 5G-evolved BSS requires a high level of automation and solutions that reduce the processing footprint to onboard and manage devices, services, and products.

Charging models for non-telco services

5G-evolved BSS will be able to support the management and monetization of services that are not traditional telco services, such as those for the IoT platform or application hosting at the edge. The usage of a non-telco service can be monetized using something as simple as a network slice identifier to determine how to aggregate and charge for a service.


Multiparty charging

In 5G-evolved BSS, different events for the same service can have different charges or revenue share distributions. One-time fees, recurring charges, or usage fees can all have different distribution rules and include one or more partners.

As per Ericsson’s 5G for Business: a market compass study, by 2030 up to USD 700 billion of 5G-enabled, the business-to-business value could be addressed by service providers, with the projected value of the 5G-enabled digitalization revenues in India is approximately USD 17 billion.

How are other countries leveraging 5G to monetize on various services/use cases?

With a global leadership of over 170 commercial agreements and 109 live networks, we are a global technology leader and the most preferred partner for CSPs worldwide. It is worth highlighting that in collaboration with the industry’s frontrunners, we have created some world’s first. We have partnered with the CSPs to generate new revenue streams. For instance:

  • Recently, by implementing Ericsson Digital Experience Platform (DXP) and Ericsson Charging, Telstra was able to digitize, automate, simplify, and transform its prepaid customer experience and operations with a new digital BSS stack.
  • Ericsson and Vivo collaborated to deploy the next-generation cloud solution, combining B2C and B2B operations, automating processes ranging from ordering and billing to catalogs and customer relationship management (CRM). With the newly transformed BSS platform, Vivo Brazil is able to market new services, automate critical functions and monetize new business opportunities more quickly.
  • Ericsson’s 5G Business Compass report estimates the total 5G-enabled B2B opportunity for service providers across 10 industries, would be $700 billion USD by 2030.

What are the early 5G use cases for Indian consumers and the associated business models and implications of these for operators?

With 5G expected to redefine the digital experiences for both consumers and enterprises, there are several use-cases that are expected to drive new revenue streams for the CSPs:

Consumer use cases:

Cloud Gaming: Globally, 5G ready users are already spending more time on video content and multiplayer mobile gaming, spending 1.5 hours more per week on enhanced video (4K, 360-degree, live streaming) and 1 hour more per week on playing multiplayer online games as compared to 4G users. From an Indian perspective, 60 percent of smartphone users plan to use XR applications over a 5G network daily in 5 years’ time and will spend 7.5-8 hours per week.

Live Sports: 5G-enabled sports are amongst the top predicted revenue drivers. A spectator will be able to get an even more immersive experience using 5G-enabled stadiums, 5G network slicing, 5G enabled cameras and Virtual transmission centers.

Enhanced Video: In this era of binge-watching, video content is the most significant traffic type generated by smartphone users. The rapid increase in data traffic for video is a result of increasing video formats/content and high viewing time. The need for low latency will be even more crucial with AR/VR entering the market for consumers to have a captivating experience. 5G will be able to address this easily.

Enterprise use cases:

  • Healthcare: In the healthcare sector, wearable devices, secure online consultations, and remote procedures like robotic surgery will improve resource efficiency and meet consumer demands for greater convenience and freedom of choice.
  • Manufacturing: In the manufacturing sector, private cellular networks – and 5G in particular – will play a critical role in enabling smart manufacturing and allowing the industry to overcome key challenges. Use cases will include Autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) which can maneuver around the factory floor, carrying, tracing, and inspecting products and parts, Collaborative robots that will help operators to perform tasks like drilling, assembly, and inspection, and even Asset condition monitoring that collects data from machinery and alerts operators when maintenance is needed, resulting in less unplanned downtime and costly replacement parts.
  • Education: In the education sector, 5G technology can help educators manage remote learning and discover new educational digital experiences for both teachers and students.

Neeraj Vyas Head of Digital Business Solutions, Southeast Asia, Oceania, and India, Ericsson