Changing Models

VoicenData Bureau
New Update

The regulator now is willing to distribute more licenses and increase the

competition. As more players start their services, they would have the need for

off the shelf state-of-the-art BSS systems. But apart from that, existing

players would have to upgrade or buy point solutions to keep their market share

intact. Improving customer experience would become the key to an operator's

success, and BSS systems would play a key role in that pursuit.


According to Frost & Sullivan, the total OSS/BSS market in India was $497.2

mn for the FY 2007-08. It is expected to grow at a CAGR of 17% over a seven year

period. The industry experts, say, the billing, raring and charging market

outlooks are likely to remain healthy, driven in part by the need for real-time

back office support for the next generation network (NGN) services.

2010 is expected to go slow with most operators now having adopted a NGN

platform, the new purchase will come from modular offerings rather than a

complete billing system. WiMax, 3G, IPTV, VoIP, enterprise services and VAS

applications will be the primary drivers of growth in 2010 in India.

Expert Panel

Prakash Sadagopan, director, product management, Convergys

Anandan Jayaraman, chief product and marketing officer, Connectiva

K Nanda Kumar, CEO, SunTec

Pushpendra Mankad, senior vice president, Comverse

Nikhil Jain, director, Elitecore

Bikram Bedi, vice president, India and South Asia, Intec


The increase in teledensity combined with the forces of price wars and newer

entrants will push operators to think of retention policies. So far, the

acquisition success has often resulted in a level of ignoring or not knowing the

customer. This is bound to go away as more operators would institute retention

policies for high and medium value customers who are critical to their

bottomline performance.

Moreover, traditionally telecom operators have believed that prepaid

customers do not have the propensity to buy anything but voice and messaging

along with the absence of loyalty. That rudimentary thinking is slowly going

away, and efforts are on to bundle different services and products to prepaid

customers. This is not only to improve the loyalty, but also to increase

bottomlines. This new thought will lead to more demand of sophisticated BSS

systems which will help them create personalized and bundled services and



There will be a real shift towards real-time actionable intelligence which

will help the operators improve customer experience, and hence profitability.

Wealth of billing data will help the operators configure offers, promotions and

service packages to their prepaid customers.


Once MVNOs are permitted in India, there might emerge a need for billing SaaS.

CSPs would roll out a multitude of infotainment solutions, but location based

services (LBS), advertising, content management, security, web portals and

search would also receive considerable attention. This would create a demand for

enhanced billing solutions.

True convergence in terms of service convergence, also known as single bill

for multiple services along with payment convergence that is pre/postpaid

convergence is likely to start for corporate customers, and eventually move into

the retail space as well.

In the times to come, when the subscriber growth options largely get driven

by cannibalization, operators will tend to enforce protection rings fencing

primarily for corporate customers initially, as steps to avoid profit erosion.

This will force operators to increase their presence in the corporate world

(across the organization and across pre/post paid boundaries) by offering

'custom offers' that suit a particular MNC (domestic and international).

Tips For CIOs

  • Use of systems that can be deployed using low cost, commodity

    hardware, as opposed to expensive monolithic server environments. These

    can potentially result in significant savings in capex and opex
  • Total cost of ownership rather than upfront costs, as project

    lifecycles can yield very favorable costs over a five year investment

    cycle, even if initial products' costs may seem high. Amortization over

    five years yields a much better view of total costs
  • Productized solutions or configurable solutions, as opposed to the

    cost and delay associated with fully customized solutions
  • Products that support integration standards and IT standards, rather

    than using proprietary integration approaches
  • Seek references, evidence of industry standards support such as ITIL

    and TMF, etc
  • Be ready for 3G. Billing must support more and more data related

    services, its rating, its charging; and how easily new products and

    services can be introduced and promoted

A trend noticed in Europe and Australia is that as the technology evolution

makes current assets close to obsolescence earlier than in the past, plus there

is a reduction in the growth, it will force CFOs and business owners to achieve

returns on network investments in shorter timeframes than in the past. This will

have ramifications in terms of excess network capacity, and operators will have

to find alternative business models such as wholesale, setting up captive MVNOs

to infuse the demand.

The market is witnessing a fast evolution in terms of content distribution

models with the arrival of the 'Apps Store' model, a new way to manage and

distribute content. With Apps Stores gaining popularity and the development of

alternatives to traditional voice services (VoIP in general and P2P services

more specifically), operators need to find new ways to manage the value chain

and the revenue accruing from these types of commercial models.


Tech Focus

Major thrust is likely to be centered around the theme of real-time

actionable intelligence, enabling operators to make relationships profitable

especially based on interactions between the boundaries, and improving

effectiveness and not just efficiency.

Vendors are innovating the charging and billing models, with requirements for

wireless voice, data and video services, and now collaboration, presence,

location services and M2M also.

In wireline and broadband services, there will also be more focus on video

and collaboration services, as well as wireless broadband to complement the

wireline infrastructure. Triple play/quad play services are now even starting to

move towards the integration of smart grid technology for a smart home and the

so-called 'quin-play'.

New Models
  • Charging for mobile advertisements delivered to consumers. Revenues

    from advertising are highly dependent on using subscriber data to

    effectively target ads
  • Billing third parties for a secure access to subscribers: Banks,

    travel agents, stock-brokers and similar entities could be billed for a

    secure access to mobile subscribers
  • Retailing content would generate a convergent bill that resembles a

    credit card statement, giving the service provider complete control of the

    relationship and maximizing the value of the customer relationship
  • In case of billing content providers for access, the subscribers might

    pay content providers directly, and service providers might receive a


Some solution providers are focusing on lowering the deployment costs, and

are continuing to drive innovation in charging, billing mediation and

inter-carrier settlement. This includes the ability to deploy products within a

Linux environment, with an associated low cost operating environment.

Integration and interoperability are critical, using SOA and cloud environments

as the critical focus in this space.

With an estimated $900 mn as yearly revenue losses, revenue assurance and

fraud management are the key thrust areas for Indian CSPs. They need to

establish tight controls on the revenue value chain, and implement real-time

fraud management systems.


An Affair With Green

Vendors are creating technologies that will enable green initiatives. As a

technology provider, their aim is to reduce power consumption in their

deployments and strategically look at utilizing infrastructure that occupies

less space, runs on lesser power, and reduces the cost of maintenance.

Some vendors have taken big strides also in the 'smart grid' initiatives

towards helping utility providers in their mission to go greener.

With support to a low cost, Linux operating environment is preferred. This

means that the products can be deployed using an array of low cost commodity

hardware based on Intel x86 technology, rather than the need for large

monolithic servers which require more power as well as air conditioned operating

rooms. By moving to commodity hardware, products can be deployed using less

power, thus contributing to more sustainable data center operations. Solution

providers are evaluating analytic application offerings that can help a CSP

collect data on carbon emissions from varied sources, and get real-time

visibility into sustainability across the enterprise.

Heena Jhingan