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RJio Takes Baby Steps With Open Source for OSS/BSS

Disruptive Indian operator is embracing open source as it evolves its back office strategy.

James Crawshaw

September 20, 2019

3 Min Read
RJio Takes Baby Steps With Open Source for OSS/BSS

As reported recently by Telecoms.com, Indian operator Reliance Jio (RJio) has overtaken Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel to become India's largest mobile network operator by subscriber numbers, less than three years after it launched commercial services. Such has been the impact of RJio's entry into the Indian market that is has forced Reliance Communications, one-time giant of the Indian telco market, to file for insolvency, and has been the catalyst for the merger of Vodafone India and Idea.

As previously reported on Light Reading, RJio took the unusual approach of using SAP for BSS (online/offline charging, CRM, billing, invoicing). Unusual because while SAP is a well-known Enterprise Resource Planning vendor, it is not an established player in the specialist telco BSS market: It appears that SAP made a concerted effort to adapt its solutions to RJio's needs. RJio selected Ericsson for the bulk of its fulfillment stack (activation, order management, number management, etc.). For service assurance, the operator primarily went with Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), a tried-and-tested player in that market.

However, after this rather conservative initial approach to BSS/OSS, RJio is now planning to leverage open source solutions, a move it signaled some time ago. The operator is taking baby steps, using open source to complement rather than replace its existing OSS/BSS.

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For example, in 2018 RJio joined the Linux Foundation's ONAP project. Additionally, in 2018 Reliance Industries -- Rjio's parent company -- announced the acquisition of network systems vendor Radisys in order to accelerate Jio's "global innovation and technology leadership in the areas of 5G, IoT and open source architecture adoption", according to Akash Ambani, director of RJio and son of Reliance Industries' founder and chairman, Mukesh Ambani.

RJio's IoT taskforce is initially targeting home security (using narrowband/guard-band LTE spectrum) and vehicle tracking (using wideband LTE spectrum). Given the potential volume of IoT devices, RJio is considering building an OSS/BSS solution based on open source components so the business can scale cost-effectively. Initial trials are already underway on orchestration, service quality management, inventory and number management systems that leverage open source software.

New OSS/BSS capabilities that arise from the IoT task force could also be used to support RJio's expansion into fixed broadband and enterprise services.

The greatest challenge with RJio's mobile launch in 2016 was quickly scaling up the OSS/BSS systems to accommodate fast user growth. Now that the mobile business has reached the number one spot (with presumably limited scope to continue growing its user base) the company is looking to open source to bring down the cost of OSS/BSS both for new ventures (IoT, residential broadband, enterprise) and for RJio's existing mobile network IT stack.

— James Crawshaw, Senior Analyst, Heavy Reading

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About the Author(s)

James Crawshaw

Principal Analyst, Service Provider Operations and IT, Omdia

James Crawshaw is a contributing analyst to Heavy Reading's Insider reports series. He has more than 15 years of experience as an analyst covering technology and telecom companies for investment banks and industry research firms. He previously worked as a fund manager and a management consultant in industry.

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