BSS evolution critical for 4G success

Ari Banerjee, Heavy Reading
24 Jun 2011

The introduction of 4G networks will create new opportunities for wireless operators but will also present a range of fresh challenges. It gives service providers the chance to develop compelling new, differentiated wireless services, and potentially develop new sources of revenue.

However, the introduction of next-generation wireless networks also leads to new architectural challenges, such as delivering services across different wireless network evolutions, delivering services that are much more demanding on the network, managing applications that generate substantially higher volumes of network traffic and the imperative to meet raised customer expectation.

The 4G era also introduces new network operators in many major markets, increasing competition for the finite number of customers that exist. At the same time, customers will only be persuaded to spend more money on mobile services if they perceive added value and receive an experience that reflects their increased spend. The wireless industry has already witnessed an explosion of mobile data because of the proliferation of smart devices, which will continue to exponentially increase with the advent of 4G.

For wireline service providers the home network is next frontier for subscriber connectivity, which will only increase with the adoption of 4G. Easier home network setup combined with connected and readily discoverable devices will transform consumer behavior over the next three years.

The foundation of an effective BSS system in context of 4G services will rely on six fundamental components.

  • Next-gen BSS systems should be able to combine customer usage and subscription data with insight into the network, cost, revenue, supply chain, stock control, customer mood and customer preference data, and information to provide customers with a much richer array of choices of services. Personalized offers should also be tailored according to location, with location-specific offers (and even time-sensitive short-term services) made available to encourage migration to new packages, new networks etc, and to reduce pressure on networks in those locations.
  • Effective policy management will provide CSPs with tools to differentiate their services, be more creative in their service offers and protect their own interests by distributing and controlling their network resources more effectively. Growing demand, diminishing returns and a more treacherous competitive climate should naturally lead operators to move beyond flat-rate business models as soon as possible in an effort to differentiate and remain viable. In that context policy management will play a critical role to help operator's construct nuanced tiered charging models.
  • A centralized product catalog provides a centralized, top-level view of product information that is then enriched with relevant data within satellite BSS applications, e.g., with rate plan/tariff data in the convergent charging and billing application. A holistic view of product information can then be provided, which includes pricing and other rate plan attributes that can be shared by multiple stakeholder applications and processes, including customer care (and self-care), campaign management, billing and charging.

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