In­ter­op­er­abil­ity, a Must-have

Pro­pri­etary lock-ins are best avoided as th­ese could turn out to be not just costly but also crip­pling in the long run


OSS/BSS sys­tems have come a long way since the days when they be­haved as IT si­los that would sit at a dis­tance from the net­work. They are now in­creas­ingly in­te­grated with the net­work sys­tems and sub­sys­tems and vice versa. Not sur­pris­ingly, the net­work in­fras­truc­ture ven­dors like Eric­s­son and Nokia Net­works are hav­ing an in­creas­ing play in the realm of OSS/BSS. There is also an em­pha­sis on de­liv­er­ing cus­tom­ized in­te­grated so­lu­tions to ad­dress spe­cific needs of ser­vice providers in a het­ero­ge­neous net­work en­vi­ron­ment.

The tele­com soft­ware mar­ket in gen­eral and the OSS/BSS seg­ment in par­tic­u­lar has been in­tensely com­pet­i­tive in the re­cent years, driven by the dy­namic changes that the tele­com mar­kets have been go­ing through.

Ma­jor Play­ers

Eric­s­son re­port­edly counted In­dia among its largest mar­kets for OSS/BSS sys­tems dur­ing the year, as it clinched a num­ber of deals in In­dia for the de­ploy­ment of so­lu­tions that im­prove cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence and in­crease op­er­a­tional ef­fi­cien­cies. Th­ese so­lu­tions have gained trac­tion in the re­cent past, given that ser­vice providers are work­ing to­wards rais­ing data av­er­age rev­enue per user (ARPU) lev­els while keep­ing the tar­iff lev­els still low. Eric­s­son has de­ployed its soft­ware so­lu­tions with in­cum­bent tel­cos like Air­tel, Voda­fone and Idea and has also won a three-year OSS deal with Re­liance Jio In­fo­comm.

Glob­ally, it has strength­ened ca­pa­bil­i­ties both or­gan­i­cally and in­or­gan­i­cally. No­table among the ac­qui­si­tion made by Eric­s­son over the past years in­clude Tel­cor­dia, TeleOSS and Tel­co­cell, among oth­ers.

Nokia too won con­tracts in ar­eas such as cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence man­age­ment and HLR in­stal­la­tion, among other ar­eas with both ex­ist­ing and new cus­tomers dur­ing the year.

Glob­ally, Am­docs has been ad­judged the mar­ket share leader in over­all billing mar­ket, by at least two mar­ket re­search firms, Analysys Ma­son and Frost & Sul­li­van. In the rev­enue man­age­ment sys­tems mar­ket seg­ment, Eric­s­son was named by Analysys Ma­son as the world­wide prod­uct rev­enue leader, as noted by an Eric­s­son an­nounce­ment ear­lier. The re­port also ranked Eric­s­son first in world­wide mar­ket share by rev­enue for pre­paid billing as well as for me­di­a­tion sys­tems.

Us­age & Adop­tion Trends

To cut li­cens­ing costs and re­duce de­pen­den­cies on pro­pri­etary sys­tems, ser­vice providers are turn­ing to open source op­tions. Re­cently, at least two ser­vice providers, Re­liance Com­mu­ni­ca­tions and MTS re­port­edly de­ployed open source so­lu­tions for a part of their OSS/BSS re­quire­ments, even touch­ing upon ar­eas such as billing and CRM.

A num­ber of open source op­tions are avail­able. Some of the bet­ter-known so­lu­tions in­clude AgileBill, Am­berdms Billing Sys­tem, Free­side, CitrusDB, JBilling, OpenBRM and Bil­lRun, among oth­ers.

Glob­ally, some large ser­vice providers

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