Convergent charging systems can create a drop in OPEX because operators are able to run a single charging platform instead of multiple ones, which can offer numerous products and services. These systems refer to an operator’s ability to unify and provide support for multiple services including voice, data, multimedia and content. It also refers to creating a single bill and statement for different services like fixed lines, mobile, broadband and television.
Operators need to take in to account a few factors when considering the benefits of convergent charging. What are the issues affecting the market and subscribers, and how will the operator straddle these issues and increase revenue?
The Asia-Pacific region is a growing market for operators. Developing markets including China, India, Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines are a playground for operators looking for high-growth opportunities over the past five years. According to a recent report from Gartner, there are nearly 775 million mobile phone subscribers in India, with the country continuing to add nearly 19 million new mobile subscribers every month. According to SingStat, Singapore on the other hand, has reached a mobile penetration rate of 143.6%. Thus, markets that are saturated or have grown quickly across the region are now slowing. But technologies constantly change, and markets are at different stages of maturity. This makes the overall market growth increasingly challenging.
Operators in some markets like Singapore are already preparing to implement 4G technologies such as Wimax and LTE, but other markets have not yet even implemented the 3G network. China, with 633.8 million mobile phone users, issued 3G licenses in early 2010, while operators in India and Thailand have been involved in an aggressive bidding war for national 3G licenses. This will give rise to new business models, which will add another layer of complexity to an already fragmented market. This is an opportunity for operators to optimize revenues through multi-service offerings.
Operators are under huge pressure to increase their ROI, but cost pressures combined with decreasing ARPU have combined to deliver negative investments last year. As subscribers become more demanding and technologies become obsolete at a faster pace, operators are forced to upgrade their networks before the technologies become fully established.