11 March 2016
| Jason Mcgee-Abe
Capacity examines the main
players in the operations support systems and business support
Largely unrecognised but absolutely critical elements behind
every telco, operations support systems (OSS) and business
support systems (BSS) are developing at a steady pace.
They ensure telecoms network capacity and service quality,
as well as enforce charging parameters for next-generation
high-speed mobile broadband services such as policy control and
charging, real-time service delivery and customer support.
Research firm Ovum expects that investment into cloud-based
services will be the most important driver behind OSS/BSS
revenue growth between 2015 and 2020. As competition from OTT
players’ heats up, increasing customer demands
mean telcos need to create more agile business models to boost
margins and generate sustainable revenue streams.
Investments in LTE networks are also expected to crop up for
the telco, and network management revenues are expected to
drive overall OSS revenue, while the need for revenue
management systems will drive overall BSS revenue growth.
Amdocs’ BSS solution comes as a
completely packaged solution that incorporates all of its
product offerings. It includes pre-integrated customer
relationship management, ordering, convergent charging and
billing, self-service and dealer capabilities. The company aims
to ensure rapid implementation, product life cycle management,
fast time to market, scalability to grow, consistent customer
experience, best practice ensured and assured delivery
What they say: "The Amdocs BSS
Pack has been designed to address the challenges that
cash-strapped service providers face in today’s
uncertain marketplace," the company said in a statement.
Impact on market: Amdocs agreed to
acquire the BSS assets of Comverse for $272 million in April
2015, in a bid to geographically complement its market focus.
The move expanded and diversified Amdocs’ global
customer base, particularly in Asia-Pacific, Latin America and
Europe, including Europe’s cable and satellite
market. Comverse still exists as a separate company and Eli
Gelman, president and CEO of Amdocs Management, said that the
acquisition would enable it to bring additional value and
innovation to Comverse’s customers.
Ascom offers both OSS and BSS services across a range of
verticals, with services including CLI Checking, Intercarrier
Processing Support System and B2BSimplex.
Ascom’s B2BSimplex platform, launched in
October 2014 and perhaps its most renowned, is designed to
automate carrier interconnect processes and was claimed to be
the first OSS/BSS solutions provider to fully support
origin-based price differentiation.
What they say: "The solution
significantly improves a carrier’s ability to
match pricing to destinations and reduce the time and expense
involved in a process rife with uncertainties,
misinterpretations and incorrect pricing associated with
footnotes and remarks in billing and reconciliation
statements," said Michael Wallrath, managing director of Ascom
Systems & Solutions.
Impact on market: The solution was
formally rolled out as a service at Capacity Europe 2014 in
Amsterdam and later named Best Service Innovation at the Global
Carrier Awards held at the same time. It addressed a pressing
need from the international wholesale carrier community for a
mechanism that allows them to better identify and match traffic
destinations to appropriate rates. In May 2015, Ascom revealed
an upgrade to the service to include forecasting and
measurement capabilities. The company made updates to its
e-contract solution to help wholesale carriers further optimise
their ability to forecast traffic and track destinations, in
addition to other tools that can be used to measure and
validate interconnect contact performance.
"The updates reflect our commitment to the carrier community
and our close working relationships with GBET and GSC and other
carrier forums to maintain the most technologically advanced
and modern platform from which to securely exchange bilateral
contracts in real time," Wallrath added.
CSG’s BSS solution, CSG Ascendon, has won a number
of awards across the industry, and was initially developed to
support the business operations of current and future digital
service providers (DSPs). The company made note of the
DSPs’ need to transform their operations to take
advantage of digital service opportunities, and the solution is
designed to enable them to launch, scale and monetise these new
digital services – such as movies, music and home
What they say: "As carriers build
their digital service portfolios to meet customer demands and
continue revenue growth, they are finding the need to invest in
new business capabilities," said Ian Watterson, VP of
Asia-Pacific at CSG International.
Impact on market: In late November
last year, Angola Telecom partnered with CSG’s
partner Satec for its revenue management solution, having
successfully deployed a pilot of CSG Interconnect for Angola
Telecom’s wholesale operations.
The integrated solution from Satec included Singleview
Convergent Rating & Billing, Singleview Customer Management
and Intermediate, as well as the expansion of CSG Interconnect
to include the CSG Route and Financial Manager. "Our focus is
to bring the best level of service to the people of Angola,"
said João Martins, Angola Telecom CEO. "Satec with CSG
will provide a complete and integrated solution that will
enable us to manage our business for retail, enterprise and
wholesale services, allowing us to grow, become profitable and
deliver better services in an optimal manner to our
CSG also expanded its relationship with Wind Mobile in
Canada in early January.
March last year, Ericsson bought the telecoms business of
Sunrise Technology, a Chinese provider of IT services in the
operations and business support systems (OSS/BSS) domain. The
following month, Ericsson acquired Canada’s
TimelessMind, a consulting firm specialising in operations and
business support (OSS/BSS).
What they say: "The OSS
transformation gives Orange Polska the agility to optimise
their operations and ensure improved end-user satisfaction,"
said Valter D’Avino, head of Ericsson Region
Western and Central Europe. "For us it is a next step in
OSS/BSS transformation in Central Europe. It captures the
growing need among operators for flexible, reliable systems
that help grow the business."
Impact on market: In what looks
like a shift towards the OSS/BSS sector, Ericsson has been
making steady progress with its offering in 2015.
Orange Polska signed a six year deal with Ericsson for the
transformation and optimisation of its operational support
system (OSS) last year. The deal saw Ericsson provide the
Polish operator with consulting and systems integration
capabilities, as well as an OSS software suite which includes
tools for networking planning, inventory fulfilment and
The suite of OSS services was designed to enable Orange to
process operational data faster and more reliability, as well
as to deploy new tools cost-effectively. An alleged 2.1 billion
subscriptions worldwide are served by Ericsson OSS/BSS
Chinese vendor Huawei hit the OSS market hard in 2014 when it
bought Australian OSS provider Fastwire as part of its strategy
to sell OSS directly to telcos.
What they say: "Huawei is highly
valued by the telecom operators for its fully integrated suite
of solutions. Its strength lies in its ability to leverage
innovation in developing key products that help telecoms
operators to manage their operations efficiently, improve
customer satisfaction and drive revenue," said Sri Nur Hani
Binti Azran, research associate for Frost &
Sullivan’s Asia Pacific Best Practices.
Impact on market: Previously,
Huawei solutions had only been sold internally, but Fastwire
provides advanced technology network infrastructure and OSS
products to large enterprises and telcos, listing BT, China
Unicom, Orange, Telstra and Vodafone among its many
Later in May 2015, the vendor was named Frost & Sullivan
Asia-Pacific Telecom OSS/BSS vendor of the year for their
achievements in the industry within the region. Huawei has also
launched a new R&D centre in Bangalore, India, focussed on
OSS/BSS and other technologies.
The unit will employ up to 5,000 engineers and is the
company’s largest outside of China. "As a global
ICT organisation which relies on its own extensive R&D
expertise, the India R&D centre is an important hub of
innovation for Huawei," said Wilson Wang, COO, Huawei India
Research and Development Centre.
Nokia Networks launched its OSS-as-a-service offer in September
2014, designed to help operators better manage their
cost-effectiveness. The vendor claimed to be the first to
launch OSS software as a managed service, which can be deployed
in just a few weeks and is designed to provide greater overall
What they say: "Software as a
service models are used widely in the IT industry, but in the
telco market most operators still buy software solutions as an
upfront investment," said Amit Dhingra, head of managed
services at Nokia Networks. "With Nokia OSS-as-a-service,
operators get advanced tools and vital telco know-how to
optimise their use, for example KQIs built on our experience of
real-life use cases."
Impact on market: Having now taken
over the operations of Alcatel-Lucent, Nokia at the time of
writing was yet to reveal its plans for the full integration of
the two companies. However we are likely to see a number of
changes in service offerings as a result of the merger.
Nokia’s OSS service is offered as two tools, Nokia
Performance Manager and Nokia Service Quality Manager. The
former is designed to help operators control the performance
and capacity of their 2G, 3G and 4G networks, and the latter to
enable accurate real-time views of service quality across
broadband networks. Its Managed Service Operations and
Assurance is said to enable operators to focus resources on
core activities and improve overall customer satisfaction
– for example, by marketing new services and business
innovations to their customer base and new subscribers.
August 2014, Openet virtualised its entire BSS infrastructure,
building on the existing virtualisation of its policy and
mediation systems, its secure API gateway technology and its
By virtualising its full BSS capability, Openet was then
able to offer a highly agile and flexible system capable of
testing, developing, launching and amending new services and
business models much more quickly.
What they say: "Operators have to
transform the way that they do business and this change is
being driven by the need to innovate. BSS virtualisation is a
key enabler for innovation and will provide operators with the
agility and flexibility to quickly capitalise on new revenue
generating opportunities," said Joe Hogan, Openet CTO. "While
adopting NFV is crucial, deploying the technology in isolation
is not enough. Operators must work with BSS specialists that
have experience of deploying innovative solutions that fully
realise the many advantages of this network architecture."
Impact on market: At MWC in March
2015, Openet showcased an ETSI NFV proof of concept
demonstration of real-time OSS/BSS in partnership with Procera,
Amartus, Red Hat and Intel.
This proved a success for the company which was selected by
BT Mobile for its real-time BSS platform in January 2016.
BT Mobile deployed Openet’s NFV-ready evolved
charging solution to cut the time taken to bring new services
to market. Openet’s BSS solution is designed to
enable BT to quickly adopt new business models while
simultaneously minimising the cost of deploying them.
Last July, Oracle Communications released its
latest OSS suite of services, designed to align with the
growing operator need to migrate to virtualised
What they say: "As communications
service providers (CSPs) continue to standardise and virtualise
their networks, agility in service design and automation in
service delivery have become major focus areas – which
is putting a spotlight on OSS to rapidly launch and efficiently
deliver innovative service on an increasingly dynamic network,"
said Doug Suriano, SVP and general manager of Oracle
Communications. "This release of the Oracle Communications OSS
suite accelerates design agility, provides support for the
latest network technologies, and further simplifies
network-based B2B service delivery."
Impact on market: Specifics of
Oracle’s OSS suite of services include four key
capabilities. It enables CSPs to efficiently deliver and
manager contemporary network-based B2B services, seamlessly
support the design and delivery of services on physical,
virtual and hybrid networks, accelerate solutions design in
collaboration with existing provisioning systems and
efficiently manage exceptions in order processing.
The upgrades announced in July 2015 include improvements to
its Order and Service Management, IP Service Activator, and
Network Intelligence, among others.
Samsung Electronics partnered with IBM and
Guavus in March 2015 to provide comprehensive OSS offerings to
The deal includes Samsung’s newly launched
portfolio of OSS, CognitiV OSS, which is designed to help
mobile providers to manage and optimise their networks in a
proactive and intelligent way.
What they say: "Samsung seeks to
give mobile service providers the ultimate mobile experience
for end users," said Jungah Choi, SVP of Advanced Technology at
Networks Business, Samsung Electronics. "In close partnership
with leaders in the industry, Samsung CognitiV OSS can offer
solid network performance and user experience improvements to
our customers, while reducing their operating costs and helping
them better monetise their network infrastructure."
Impact on market: An alliance with
IBM and Guavus will see Samsung and IBM collaborate on overall
OSS technology, with Samsung and Guavus working closely on
developing analytics technologies to bolster the offering. Big
data analytics are also becoming more important as networks
become denser and more complex. "A next generation OSS system
that integrates billing, operations and network planning is
needed, so that network-wide optimisations can be implemented
dynamically and cost effectively," said Anukool Lakhina, CEO
and founder at Guavus.
"Through partnership with us, Samsung is now able to
uniquely provide a service assurance analytics solution that
correlates and fuses streaming network data with operational
leading global provider of OSS and BSS solutions, Subex has
most recently been making waves with its Fraud Management
What they say: "Our objectives
while building the version upgrade were multi-fold. With 4G
deployments further complicating fraud risks for telecoms
operators, the obvious need for rapid fraud detection had to be
addressed effectively," said Ashwin Chalapathy, global head,
portfolio management, managed services and consulting, Subex.
"The new version of ROC Fraud Management enables operators to
drastically reduce fraud-run time with its advanced fraud
Impact on market: On January 19
this year, Subex revealed an update to its ROC Fraud Management
8.3 solution, adding an additional layer of detection
capability to the existing memory and statistical rule engines,
in order to facilitate enhanced real-time detection of complex
fraud types. The solution is now part of the ROC 3.0 platform
which is an integrated suite of products designed to go beyond
traditional fraud detection and prevention. It is also
optimised for big data. Later that same month, on January 21,
Packet One – a converged telecoms broadband and 4G
service provider in Malaysia – selected
Subex’s ROC Revenue Assurance and Fraud Management
solutions. "Being a 4G services provider, the complexities of
risks we face are amplified when compared to traditional voice
and data services," said CC Puan, Packet One CEO.
"Our objective was to evaluate and deploy such solutions
that are fully capable of mitigating risks of all types,
covering multiple verticals. We believe Subex’s
solutions will enable us to do so and in-turn enhance our
business in a more effective manner."