Where have all the billing events gone?

14 Jan 2014

A quick search for billing events in Asia over the next six months turns up zero results. That’s a far cry from just a few years ago when I attended four OSS/BSS events from Jan to April.

Last year Beacon Events dropped its long-running Billing & Revenue Assurance event, and this year both Frost & Sullivan and the TM Forum have dropped OSS/BSS conferences. F&S ran its OSS BSS Pacific Summit in Singapore for seven years while TM Forum started its Management World Asia series in 2009.

The TM Forum will now combine its Management World Asia event (previously held in March) and its CEM Summit (December) to run a two-track program in August or September. Venue has yet to be announced.

And it’s not just Asia. Billing & OSS World (US based) lists just one event: CEM in Telecom Summit in Berlin in April.

Seems while billing and revenue assurance are as important as ever, they aren’t strategic issues for most. Telcos have other more pressing issues – like how to stem their revenue declines, keep network capex and opex down as data demand soars and adjust their “margin culture” to spur innovation.

The key to any event is sponsorship and that’s where the problem lies. Consolidation in the OSS/BSS vendor space -- though still in the early days – has been a big factor. Gone are Tekelec (Oracle) Intec (CSG), Highdeal (SAP), Convergys’ billing unit (NEC), NSN’s billing division (Redknee), Bridgewater (Amdocs) and Hybris (SAP), to name a few. And for the reasons cited previously, marketing budgets have been cut back by many in the sector, with some choosing to do their own roadshows to have more control and a captive audience in specific markets.

An industry insider told me interest has moved to online charging systems (OCSs) and security. He reckons that policy related events, only around for the last few years, have already peaked.

SDP had a quick surge five to six years ago – never to be heard again. Doubtful that same will happen with CEM, CRM and billing, but attention certainly has shifted to SDN, NFV and of course cloud.

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