BSS Selection Criteria: What Are Operators Prioritizing for LTE Solutions?

Ron Westfall
Ron Westfall

Summary Bullets:

  • Three BSS solution criteria have generated near-universal operator prioritization for LTE services: NFV vision; service personalization; boosting time-to-market intervals for service innovation.
  • BSS suppliers need to differentiate their LTE solutions in those three areas to optimize meeting current operator LTE priorities; there is ample room for such prioritization.

BSS suppliers continue to adjust their 4G/LTE solutions according to the evolving demands of mobile operators. Naturally, the BSS use case varies based on the network and service requirements of each operator. These requirements have become increasingly complex and distinct. However, discerning key patterns in LTE-centric BSS selection criteria can help streamline the supplier’s product development and marketing objectives. What are the core selection criteria patterns today?

NFV Vision: Supporting virtualization is hardly unique to LTE applications, but BSS suppliers need a differentiated NFV vision and roadmap today. Many operators plan to conduct proof of concept (PoC) testing of NFV during 2014, followed by pre-commercial testing during 2015 and arriving at commercial deployments in 2016. For instance, NTT DoCoMo targets 2016 for delivering virtual evolved packet core (vEPC) applications for NFV-enabled LTE. Over half of top-tier LTE operators project having NFV-enabled LTE applications no later than 2018. As such, BSS suppliers need a NFV-ready roadmap of their solutions today in order to exercise influence in the NFV-driven transformation of LTE networks.

Service Personalization: Operator objectives to improve the personalization of their service packages offer BSS suppliers a good deal of latitude for differentiation. Fundamentally, BSS suppliers need to differentiate meeting operator demands for extending customers real-time billing visibility and full control over account service changes, as evidenced by recent T-Mobile, Turkcell and Play (Poland) BSS solution selections. For instance, BSS suppliers can drive tighter integration of mobile wallets to adoption of LTE services (Turkcell). With mobile wallets, customers can use their mobile phone numbers, instead of credit card information, to conduct web transactions. This elevates reliance on the operator in digital value chains, since consumers feel more secure using mobile numbers to conduct online commerce. Likewise, BSS suppliers can use the integration and automation of billing for vertical applications, such as home security, energy monitoring and IoT applications, into operator bundled service packages to showcase solution differentiation. The bottom line is that billing and charging need to conform more than ever to customer preferences.

Improving Time-to-Market Intervals for Service Innovation: Improving time-to-market intervals is virtually axiomatic with selection criteria for BSS transformation solutions. Where BSS suppliers can especially achieve differentiation is demonstrating dynamic integration of web/OTT applications within the LTE service packages. At the least, the web/OTT integration can further differentiate the operator’s LTE service package from competing mobile services. Moreover, the integration provides the BSS foundation for operationalizing revenue sharing with web/OTT partners in the near future if not today.

These three core BSS solution selection criteria for LTE networks today are not exhaustive. However, they are proving consistent factors driving operator decision making in the selection of BSS solutions for LTE services. The recent BSS transformation supplier choices of T-Mobile, Turkcell and Play (Poland) verify this trend of LTE criteria prioritization. BSS suppliers can ill-afford lackluster differentiators in these three core areas today.

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