Around the World

Posted: June 28th, 2011 | Author: OSS Team | Filed under: Around the World | Tags: , , , , , , , , | No Comments »
Connected Planet…
The Singular Solution to Bill Shock: Think Like the Customer Thinks
Alex Leslie discusses bill shock and the various approaches operators are exploring to avoid it. In light of increasing mobile network use while abroad, some companies are looking into charging for content per email, game or app instead of buying bandwidth in a bundle, but due to the variety of actions and complexity of pricing each one, this isn’t ideal. Another option involves implementing a flat-rate data plan; this may be attractive to operators but compromises network quality by the few users who consume too much bandwidth. And although it might seem like a perfect solution, capping network usage often leaves customers wary about watching what they eat. As Alex states, whatever the bill shock solution may be, operators should make it a priority to put themselves in their customers’ shoes. Bill shock can have a heavy impact on the customer experience, and it more than often leaves a bad taste in subscribers’ mouths. As we discussed at the Comptel User Group, operators really need a real-time, interactive and personalised OSS platform that can deliver superior insight into customers’ wants and needs, proactively manage their frustrations and prevent churn—all to improve their experience.…
U.S. State Bill to Push for Clearer 4G Definition
New legislation, the “Next Generation Wireless Disclosure Act”, was recently introduced in the U.S. senate—if passed, the bill will enforce operators to more clearly state the capabilities and coverage of their networks. Supporters of the bill say they hope to clear up confusion caused by the blanket marketing of all types of next-generation networks as 4G, regardless of the technologies on which they are based and the speeds they actually deliver. The proposed legislation also states that providers and other sellers of advanced wireless mobile broadband services will need to make “accurate and reasonable disclosures of the terms and conditions of such service in order to give consumers the necessary information to make informed decisions about such service.” Setting clear expectations from the beginning—and being upfront with customers about their coverage, minimum speeds, data caps and potential performance issues—will only help enhance the customer experience.…
New Service Needs Drive Changes to Telecom Data Center Architecture
Tom Nolle believes that because competition with over-the-top (OTT) providers will keep service prices low and revenue margins thin, operators need to evolve their telecom data center architectures in three phases. By undertaking the following distinct steps, operators can ensure that growth in their priority areas (content delivery, mobile services and cloud services) will not be hindered.

1. Deploy blade-server farms using generic servers that run Linux. This phase will support cloud computing and early content needs, and over time, operators will integrate OSS/BSS elements from their existing architectures to improve operational efficiency.
2. Migrate to fabric-based interconnection of storage and servers. The combination of OSS/BSS and feature reuse is likely to be the largest driver of change for telecom data center networking.
3. Connect data centers into modular clouds. It is not yet clear how far or fast this last phase will advance.

Do you think the telecom data center architecture evolution is feasible? Are there any other strategies operators should consider to keep up with the OTT model?

Around the World – Mobile World Congress Edition

Posted: February 11th, 2011 | Author: OSS Team | Filed under: Around the World | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Total Telecom…
LTE Goes Mainstream, But Beware of ‘4G Pretenders’
As the industry gears up for another Mobile World Congress, Total Telecom’s Nick Wood takes a look at LTE developments over the last 12 months, as it’s sure to be a key focal area at this year’s show.  In February 2010, commercial LTE deployments were restricted to two countries, but by the end of last year, the technology was on its way to becoming mainstream.  Some of the world’s largest operators, such as Verizon, TeliaSonera, Vodafone Germany, among others, have launched LTE services, with many more intending to follow suit in 2011.  But, as Nick points out, while operators forge ahead with service rollouts, the industry as a whole is facing an unexpected LTE-related issue: marketing—leaving many wondering what actually constitutes true 4G.  Basically, any CSP operating an HSPA network or faster can claim to be offering 4G services, so Total Telecom is focused on separate the true LTE players from the 4G players while in Barcelona.

Light Reading…
Evolution in Policy Control
International managing editor Ray Le Maistre caught up with Heavy Reading’s chief analyst Graham Finnie on policy management.

Graham believes that policy management will be just as hot in 2011, as it was in 2010—and for similar reasons—mobile broadband and the need to manage fair usage.  But what is interesting to note is that use cases are beginning to shift.  Operators are applying policy control in new ways beyond fair-use management and looking at the OSS solutions as a way to personalise, monetise and offer differentiated services.  For example, some operators have begun to use policy control to offer unlimited access to Facebook or providing differential access to particular types of subscribers.  How do you see policy control shaping out for 2011?

Pipeline’s Guide to Mobile World Congress 2011
John Wilson puts together a helpful Mobile World Congress guide for those who are interested in BSS / OSS topics.  He breaks down the relevant keynotes and breakout sessions.  Some to highlight include:

  • Tuesday’s keynotes from Vodafone, Telefonica, AT&T and more.  While these talks aren’t necessarily related to OSS / BSS, this is a chance to hear what operators have planned for 2011 and the next steps in their next-gen mobile network rollouts.
  • Thursday afternoon sessions on the future of the network and LTE.  These talks will give an overview on how LTE is ultimately enabling attractive new mobile broadband services, while ensuring the support of voice and SMS services.

Telesperience analyst Teresa Cottam also provides a rundown of who’s at MWC11, where to meet people and what’s hot in her recent post BSSOSS at MWC11.  Make sure you stop by Comptel’s booth (Hall 1, Stand 1C06) and say hello!  We’ll also be blogging and tweeting throughout the show, so make sure you follow the conversations.

Around the World

Posted: December 10th, 2010 | Author: OSS Team | Filed under: Around the World | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »…
Realising the Value of Policy Control
Like Bob Machin, Informa Telecoms & Media analyst Peter Dykes recognised an interesting trend at this year’s Broadband Traffic Management conference – the growing realization that policy control can do more than just address operators’ pain points of capacity and usage issues.  While managing bandwidth is certainly a challenge for most operators, others are exploring policy control solutions for business growth opportunities.  Small operators in highly competitive emerging markets perceive policy control as differentiating technology because they are able to implement more effective loyalty campaigns and discounts in markets that are susceptible to high rates of churn.  Research from a number of sources including Informa has shown that while the ‘capacity crunch’ is an issue, where, when and how it occurs varies from network to network.  Peter states that “the likelihood is, however, that once this issue has been addressed, those operators using policy control in a more customer-facing manner will serve as examples of what else is possible with a little imagination.”

TM Forum’s Inside Revenue Management…
The BSS/OSS Beast
For years, industry professionals have grappled with the BSS/OSS divide, and whether or not the two should be differentiated.  But the results of a recent TM Forum’s BSS/OSS survey and a well-attended BSS roundtable at Management World Americas shed some new light on this debate.  People still view the 36 processes or functions that were noted in the survey as being predominantly BSS or OSS (41% and 19% respectively), but that almost one-third were both.  The general consensus is that just as CSPs remove the operational silos in current transformation projects, they should also remove the BSS/OSS silos as well.  The TM Forum is focusing their attention on integrating the BSS OSS space.  Keep an eye out for more on this subject via TM Forum’s website, blogs and communities.  Also, you can read some of the survey comments in Tony Poulos’ article, Support Systems by Any Other Name…

Light Reading…
Boom Time for Policy
Heavy Reading’s Graham Finnie raises an interesting question about the future of policy management –“despite [the] extremely positive picture for the sector, one big question remains: will policy tools now go on to assume the wider role in the network of the future that many inside in the industry are betting on?”.  Exploring this a bit further, the analyst firm conducted a survey and found that traffic management is the number one catalyst today for deploying policy tools (nothing surprising here).  Yet, many vendors are emphasizing the creation of more personalized services with policy control solutions.  Results show that there is certainly strong interest in personalizing services to differentiate from competitors; however, it is not the core catalyst.  Finnie points to five things that need to happen before policy can “really move to the heart of the mobile service package and creation story”:

  • First, operators and vendors need to engage with product development and marketing groups inside the telcos.
  • Second, a related point, policy creation tools need to be as easy to use as possible, so that marketing can build and deploy policies themselves.
  • Third, network operators need assurance that integration with subscriber data stores and charging systems will deliver what’s required at an acceptable cost.
  • Fourth, operators need assurances that greater policy complexity will not cause the policy platform to fall over, or become impossible to manage.
  • And fifth, policy will need to be deployed end-to-end, including in the RAN and at the individual cell level.

What do you think the number one catalyst is?

Around the World

Posted: October 15th, 2010 | Author: OSS Team | Filed under: Around the World | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

Scott Stewart CIO Blog…
Telcos Could Rule the Clouds
Scott Stewart, blogger, CIO and cloud computing consultant, highlights a recent blog post by Chirag Mehta that discusses the massive opportunities that telcos (large and small) have in the cloud computing space, and shares his thoughts about how telcos can be well-positioned to provide and distribute virtualized desktops, infrastructure as a servicesoftware as a service, voice, video, cloud-based enterprise applications and productivity tools.  The premise of Stewart’s post is his experience of putting together a business case for cloud computing—it was discovered quickly that the telco model was favored (out of public, private, hybrid, etc.) and tagged by his business as the ‘trusted cloud’ model.  Why is this?  Because with the telco model, you are able to deliver the full benefits of a cloud-based subscription model, but without the dependency of the Internet.  Under this model, you are still able to provide the economies of scale with shared services and multi-tenanted cloud—but delivered over a secure, private, high availability network.  Stewart believes telcos are so well-equipped for cloud computing because many have already been through multiple evolutions of upgrading their networks to the latest protocols and architectures, and most already have advanced knowledge of cloud architecture and operate modern service delivery platforms.  What are your thoughts on telcos and cloud computing?  It was certainly a hot topic at our User Group—check out Bob Machin’s recap of the roundtable discussion.

When the “Best” System is Not Good Enough
As part of Microsperience’s series on sourcing telecoms BSS and OSS, analyst Teresa Cottam looks at some of the common limitations and pitfalls when evaluating BSS/OSS in her post.  She highlights a frequently overlooked point: that the “best” system may not be the right system for you.  Most people’s concept of “best” is related to function; that is, the range of complexity of functions the system can perform.  As Teresa discussed in her recent post BSSOSS: Buy in haste, repent at leisure, there is too much emphasis when buying BSS/OSS on the technical features of the systems and not enough on other factors.  People often believe that capturing all of the possible features required now and in the future is a good starting point to map vendors and evaluate their offerings.  In fact, it can lead to extended and inefficient tendering processes, additional cost, frustration and sometimes completely the wrong decisions being made.  In Teresa’s opinion, the very worst approach is to have extensive feature requirements without any attempt to weigh them intelligently.  When a fully-functional system is in place you rarely find that the CSP implements all of the functions they seemed so concerned with when selecting the system.  The key takeaway from Teresa’s post is that there is no overarching ideal solution to CSPs’ business problems.  Each business has a legacy position, different objectives and challenges, and therefore different requirements.  What is great for one business may not be great for another.

Light Reading…
Data Surge Fuels Policy Control Boom
The market for telecom network policy control servers is booming as CSPs scramble to manage the growing volumes of data running over their networks.  According to research conducted by Heavy Reading, operators are aiming to use their policy control platforms to develop new charging models and develop tiers of services, so they can move away from the flat-rate mobile data models that currently prevail.  More than 70 network operators were surveyed about what prompted their decisions to deploy policy servers or Policy Charging and Rules Function (PCRF). Some of the report’s key highlights include:

  • More than 80 percent rated the option “Enable us to apply ‘fair use’ management techniques to better handle network congestion” as either critical or important.
  • 80 percent also cited “Enable us to offer tiered or customized services to different classes of customers or to individual customers” as either critical or important.
  • More than 75 percent picked out “Improve our ability to meter and charge customers for service features and attributes” as either critical or important.
  • And almost the same number identified policy servers’ ability to help carriers “improve quality and depth of network traffic and applications reporting and analysis” as either critical or important.

Graham Finnie, Heavy Reading’s chief analyst, says the key to making the most of policy servers is to be able to change policy conditions/rules without requiring the vendor to rework the code, and to have them interconnected with a number of other key network and SPIT elements.

Comptel User Group: Lessons Learned and Best Practices

Posted: October 7th, 2010 | Author: Olivier Suard | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment »

The Comptel User Group has got off to a great start!  We’ve had more than 100 communications service providers (CSPs), partners, analysts and Comptelians from around the world travel to Windsor to share their experiences with OSS/BSS, network transformation, service innovation and business growth, among other things.

Wednesday featured CSP and technology partner case study presentations on the challenges and opportunities around mediation system upgrades, network discovery and inventory, as well as:

  • Dynamic SIM management, including number allocation.  Country host O2 gave a keynote presentation that looked at the evolution of what SIM can do; this area is rapidly expanding, with the technology being embedded into more devices like automobiles.  Following that, a Wataniya case study covered the demand for vanity numbers in Kuwait and how this form of personalization is driving a better customer experience and competitive differentiation.
  • Subscriber repositories for generic user profiles.  Hong Kong’s SmarTone-Vodafone led an interesting session that looked at the provisioning of subscriber profile attributes, like customer type (fixed or mobile broadband, etc.), and how it has helped the company to offer unique, personalized data and other advanced services, and enable the concept of the ‘smart pipe’.
  • Policy control (both in terms of bandwidth management and roaming cost control).  TeliaSonera spoke on the launch of its 4G network and the introduction of its new tiered pricing plans to balance revenues (monthly fee plans), resources (network usage allowances) and customer satisfaction (faster speeds).  In addition, Brazil’s Oi covered the importance of PCRF in optimizing customers’ quality of service and allowing it to innovate new services.

Thank you again to those customers, partners and staff that presented yesterday.  If you have any questions about the content or would like to learn more about these areas, please contact [email protected].

Stay tuned for thoughts from the solution workshops and LTE and cloud services roundtables.  We’ll also have the results from our interactive voting session around CSPs’ revenue streams and business models.

Comptel User Group Kick-Off: What Lies Ahead for OSS/BSS?

Posted: October 6th, 2010 | Author: Olivier Suard | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , | 3 Comments »

The Comptel User Group (CUG) kicked off yesterday with a lively, interactive discussion involving members of our executive management team and several OSS/BSS industry analysts.  The core theme throughout the day—what lies ahead for OSS/BSS?

Arnhild Schia and Gareth Senior first posed this question by looking at the dumb pipe, smart pipe and Telco 2.0 business models, and which type of communications service provider (CSP) can best balance revenue, resources and the customer experience, to come out on top.  The group talked about the many variants (customer base, region, etc.) that affect this—and the critical role software suppliers play in helping to strategically direct CSPs to the best position.

Building on this, the discussion shifted to cover the following hot topics—and more:

  • The importance of understanding the ‘wholeness’ of the customer (taking customer experience management to the next level),
  • Charging fairness, whether it be the conundrum of the ‘all you can eat’ model or that of roaming management,
  • The evolution of the fulfillment process, as it becomes more active, real time and ‘service aware’, and
  • Business policy management, with new technologies like cloud and LTE changing the game.

We look forward to diving into these challenges and opportunities further today with customer and partner case study presentations, and tomorrow with solution sessions and issues-focused roundtables.

Leave a comment, and let us know what you think lies ahead for OSS/BSS in the coming months and years.

Around the World

Posted: September 17th, 2010 | Author: OSS Team | Filed under: Around the World | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

Light Reading…
OSS: The Missing Link
In addition to our very own Bob Machin having attended the OSS/BSS World Summit, Light Reading’s Ray Le Maistre reported from the show floor.  During the event, Ibrahim Gedeon, CTO of Canadian carrier Telus Corp., discussed Service Provider Information Technology (SPIT)—a Light Reading term for the evolving set of non-traditional telecom technologies—and how OSS/BSS can, when utilized to their true potential, help service providers “monetize their networks”.  Gedeon explained that it is the OSS specialists within the carriers who are the key figures in terms of new service creation; this is largely attributed to vendor integration roadblocks.  Having identified this a few years ago, Comptel designed a portfolio of OSS solutions to help CSPs adapt to all common telecoms network and IT environments and evolve to meet the demands of future services.

Want to learn more about the SPIT concept?  Check out the SPIT Manifesto, which highlights its importance in the telecom infrastructure ecosystem.

LTE to Boost Demand for Mobile Bandwidth, Network Gear
Om Malik explores the current state of mobile broadband and the excessive data usage employed by consumers in his recent GigaOm blog post.  He points out that every time we log on to Facebook or fire up our browsers, we are adding to the pressure on wireless networks and making carriers rethink their plans (e.g. end unlimited data usage plans).  He also references several interesting industry reports in his post.  One from research firm In-Stat states that mobile carriers are going to spend nearly $117 billion by 2014 (up 41 percent from 2009’s spend of $83 billion) on last mile backhaul (including line leasing, new equipment-spending, and spectrum acquisitions).  Om continues to state that wireless last mile backhaul capacity in Western Europe will more than triple between 2010 and 2014, to nearly 60,000 Gbps, and that the pressure on the networks is only going increase with the launch of LTE-based wireless broadband networks.

TM Forum Community…
LTE Is Coming….But Don’t Fall For The Hype!
Contrary to what Om blogs about in the previous highlight, Martin Creaner from TM Forum doesn’t see why we are treating LTE with such urgency.  He points out that it has been widely publicized over the last year that there will be 22 operator LTE launches in 2011, but as far as he knows there have been three so far this year.  He believes that 3G is really only now delivering its promise—with good stable high data speeds and a wide availability of handsets in multiple global regions.  As for Martin’s views on LTE, “when launched [it] will undoubtedly be a data-only service, available in very, very few regions, and with voice-centric handset availability being a couple of years in the future”.  He is a great believer in the need for continuous improvement, but tells us not to fall for any hype that tells you 4G is here.  Do you agree or disagree with Martin’s views on LTE?

OSS/BSS World Summit in London, 8-9 September

Posted: September 10th, 2010 | Author: Bob Machin | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

This week, OSS/BSS World hosted a conference in the Park Lane Hotel, London. I went along for Comptel, and here, pretty much as I wrote them, are my notes from the two days.

Overall Thoughts

Well-attended and heavily-sponsored conference, indicating that OSS and BSS are still hot topics in the industry. Good mix of operators, SIs and many hardware and software vendors. Full agenda (somewhat weighted to the BSS side ) with speakers limited to 20- or 25-minute slots for presentations and questions—an increasingly common (and welcome) approach at conferences. Contributions from the floor seemed to me to be relatively few; after the first three keynote presentations, there had been no questions at all. Perhaps we’re at a stage where everyone understands the big themes and is really looking for solid, proven business cases and answers. I suspect that the audience may have been looking for validation of ideas that are already well-grounded about future developments in the industry; if so, they are not likely to have been disappointed.


Common themes which prevailed across the two days included:

  • Customer experience, and focusing on the key points of customer interaction (referenced by Lois Kraus of AT&T as LB-GUPS, or Learn, Buy, Get, Use, Pay, Service, an acronym which even she didn’t seem very keen on). The frequency of new service rollout is making it harder than ever to keep on top of the customer experience. Customer data (and understanding) was regularly referenced as a key differentiator for telcos and potentially a secondary asset which could be exploited more effectively in relationships with partners. Customer retention strategy was acknowledged as more important than acquisition strategy by Emtel of Mauritius.
  • Cloud services: many of the questions which arose were of the ‘what difference will Cloud make to this?’ variety. From the platform, the general take was that Cloud was a different world—with great revenue potential but also putting very different demands on carriers. George Nazi of BT Group (President, 21CN, Global Networks and Computing Infrastructure) believed carriers saw it as their ‘single biggest strategic challenge’ but was bullish about its potential and viability. AT&T, when asked about whether its OSS/BSS platform (developed to be universal for all services) would support Cloud, stated that yes, initially it would be used, but later expressed doubt that that approach would be sustainable and suspected that the Cloud business would eventually need its own support. The idea of using Cloud services to support their own businesses (using remote infrastructure and storage as a service, for example) is already prevalent among new ’agile’ communications players.
  • Services environment complexity and how it should be handled. Convergence, transformation and consolidation were regularly referenced, as were issues around legacy IT and services and the challenges of migrating these to new platforms (it seems that some problems will always be with us). ‘Transformation’, in particular, was addressed almost as a desirable end in its own right by several speakers (particularly those with SI interests) although the nature and objectives of any transformation could naturally vary greatly. HP cited consolidation and cost reduction, customer experience improvement and the shift to new business models as common objectives of transformation exercises. At a higher level, ‘transformation’ was positioned as a key enabler of an almost philosophical shift in the business—from ‘technology to business’ (look out for T2B as an emerging acronym) and from ‘survive to thrive’. SDPs continue to be popular as a means to open up the service environment to third-party providers and developers. Telefonica are vigorous proponents of this approach and claim to have reduced service rollout time from 6-12 months to 6-12 weeks (quoted by Capgemini).
  • Revenue challenges, particularly arising from the ‘data crunch’. The end of flat-rate charging was regularly cited but with few firm theories about how variable charging would play. Orga recited what is fast becoming the industry mantra on real-time charging and policy control as the twin levers of power.
  • Machine-to-machine communications and other plays on connected devices, though with little firm opinion of the impact of this on carriers. This was part of a broader theme, however, that ‘communications services’ weren’t dead, that we would see interesting things emerge in the next few years (from the interconnection of devices, in particular) and that carriers, as masters of networks and conmmunications, had a big part to play in the transformation of society which this would drive. As Paulo Collela of Ericsson opined, CSPs should not resign themselves to just being enablers for new players, but should look for ways to be significant agents of change themselves. On day two, Sanjay Mewada of Netcracker spoke on the value of machine-to-machine communications, valuing this as already a $14 billion business—but significantly, he included handset-to-machine transactions, or mobile payments, in his definition of M2M.

M&As: The Human Factor

Posted: July 28th, 2010 | Author: Olivier Suard | Filed under: Telecom Trends | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments »

In a recent blog post, Comptel’s CEO Sami Erviö reminded us of the fact that Comptel has been in business almost a quarter of a century, and asked: how many [OSS/BSS] companies have come and gone in that time?

This got me thinking. One of the main reasons companies “disappear” in our market is mergers and acquisitions (M&As). Over the years, we have seen waves of acquisitions, especially in the hot areas at the time. We had the billing acquisitions (Kenan, LHS, Geneva, Kenan again, Portal, LHS again), and then the fulfillment acquisitions (Metasolv, Granite, Cramer, Axiom Systems, Syndesis). It wouldn’t surprise me if we soon saw a new wave of M&As in the latest hot area, policy control.

Acquisitions are notoriously complex operations, but one of the trickiest aspects is the “human factor”. In a knowledge industry like ours, if the employees of an acquired company walk, then that company loses what made it special, including drive, skills, knowledge, innovation, and relationships with customers and partners. This is bad news for the acquiring company, but also for customers of the acquired company—after all, this is what they bought into.

One thing that astonished me when Comptel bought the company I was working for (Incatel) in 2005 was that, unlike any previous acquiring company I had seen, they didn’t march in as conquerors. Having been on the receiving end of acquisitions in my past career, I had grown used to the acquiring company assuming an air of superiority that did not make me (or many of my colleagues) feel welcome, despite the fine words. Indeed, within a year, many of us had “walked”.

In contrast, Comptel seemed intent on preserving what was special about the acquired company—especially its people.

As the marketing director for Incatel, I was somewhat sceptical (after all, we all know marketing is typically one of those “cost synergies” targets) but chose to believe. And lo and behold, within a year, I was marketing director for Comptel. I am pretty sure that a marketing director of an acquired company taking over the role in an acquiring company is virtually unheard of in the software industry. In fact, it is quite a tribute to Comptel’s attitude in M&As that the former CEOs of the two companies Comptel acquired in recent years, Axiom Systems’ Gareth Senior and Incatel’s Arnhild Schia, are still with the company, two and five years later respectively. This is, I believe, quite exceptional in our industry—most “acquired” CEOs seem to leave within a matter of months after the acquisition.

Of course, no OSS/BSS software company is immune to becoming a take-over target, but clearly for smaller, often one-product companies, being acquired is something of a raison-d’être—hence the often disproportionately high marketing spend amongst these companies. The OSS/BSS community is now rife with M&A rumours—many probably unfounded but certainly credible. The coming few months should be interesting…

Oh, and by the way, in case that wasn’t already obvious, this blog item should in no way be seen as an indication of any M&A intent by Comptel!

Around the World…

Posted: July 21st, 2010 | Author: OSS Team | Filed under: Around the World | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Connected Planet | Unfiltered Blog…
CTIA vs. FCC in Bill Shock Dust-Up
BSS/OSS reporter Susana Schwartz gives us her take on the recent back-and-forth between the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) and CTIA regarding the former’s survey on “bill shock”. As brief background, the CTIA started a dispute by calling the latest FCC data on bill shock “inflammatory,” with the FCC responding in a blog post that the CTIA is “denying bill shock by distorting the facts.” Regardless of who’s right or wrong, Susana raises an interesting point: “If the CTIA’s concern is well-founded—if only 30% of the respondents in the FCC bill shock survey said they were over 18—then where are we? Let’s pay attention to the perception of even young customers, as they are the near-future purchasers of services and plans. They will graduate and get jobs and pay bills, and they are the ones most savvy with social media and apps, etc.” Undoubtedly, these services will shape the future and certainly influence the telco industry. It is more important than ever for CSPs to be innovative and dynamic, and offer personalized services to subscribers at a price they are willing to pay for.

For more on the FCC-CTIA situation, Matthew Lasar of Ars Technica also covered bill shock and analyzed the FCC’s survey data in his article, “Fear and Loathing over Mobile Phone ‘Bill Shock’”.

Business Intelligence Middle East…
Africa & Middle East Mobile Broadband Adoption Will Grow Faster than Global Average over Next Five Years
According to a recent report from Pyramid Research, the future growth of broadband in Africa and the Middle East will be driven by mobile broadband. This is largely due to poor wireline services and innovative branding and packaging from mobile operators. It is expected that the total number of subscribers will reach 38 million by 2014, which is slightly faster than the global average. The report examines the current and forecast broadband landscape in the region in terms of subscribers and revenue, and looks more closely at the technologies that will enable fixed and mobile services. It also examines three key markets in more detail—the UAE, which exemplifies the most-developed parts of Africa and the Middle East; Nigeria, which illustrates the underdeveloped, sub-Saharan region; and Turkey, which represents the region’s middle-income markets. You can check out the report in full here.

TM Forum Online Community…
BSS Is Dead, Long Live BSS!
A TM Forum online community member contributed a blog post that looks at the “great BSS/OSS divide”. The terms BSS and OSS have traditionally been differentiated in the telco industry, yet with the combination of all-IP network transformation and service convergence, these have been more frequently blended together. This particular blogger raises an insightful point—“We have all heard this, but is it actually happening in the real world? If it is, how do we now define the functions that traditionally fell in the BSS camp…?” What are your thoughts on this topic? Do you think the BSS/OSS gap is closing?