The challenges of next-gen IP services

Simon Dadswell, Intec
23 Oct 2007

Rapid migration to next-generation IP-enabled services has made charging strategies increasingly important. Service providers should offer flexibility in the way subscribers consume services, their payment options and the way that charges are structured. One of the biggest challenges is to recognize and evolve new business models and the associated flexibility required of back office OSS/BSS applications.

Market volatility, cost pressures and technology advancement have left many service providers facing difficult choices. New competitors are beginning to carve out slices of the market and next generation-enabled services and convergent technologies are combining to pressure incumbent service providers to accelerate the rollout of new services as cost effectively as possible to sustain their competitive position. Service providers find themselves facing major challenges with respect to product, marketing, customer management and investment decisions.

A key focus is to create more innovative and flexible service bundles and gain a better understanding of the source of value creation. Central to this is the development of a compelling service deployment and charging strategy - delivering and charging for appropriate combinations of services, across possibly mixed network environments, to a range of different customer segments, supported by payment choice.

Today, consumers can access voice, data and content using a bewildering array of access options. Consumer-targeted content and commerce creates complex revenue streams involving multiple partners in the service delivery chain.

From a charging and revenue management perspective, a number of issues are apparent, including what charging models to deploy to enable subscribers to access and pay for content and data services, what settlement models to use to ensure adequate revenue share between content partners and service providers and how to integrate customer experience management as part of the revenue model.

High performance environment

It is important to create a high performance environment for the control, delivery and charging of advanced services over multiple networks. Service providers must evolve and adapt to meet the content-centric needs of customers.

They must dramatically reduce time to market, and activate those services in real time to ensure customer satisfaction. They must also evolve pricing schemes, offering flat-rate and volume-based tariffs, QoS-based charging, innovative bundling and discounting.

Charging parameters now become part of the service itself, with real-time transaction management, improved customer interaction and active marketing strategies driving on-demand consumption and interactive options to encourage usage and raise ARPU and AMPU (average margin per user).

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