BSS (inc. billing, revenue assurance)

AsiaInfo Lands New Euro Deal

Chinese BSS vendor AsiaInfo has expanded its relationship with Telenor by landing a back office transformation deal with the operator's Hungarian operation.

The vendor, which is using Europe as its main launchpad for international expansion, announced its breakthrough European deal with Telenor Group (Nasdaq: TELN)'s Danish unit in late 2013, where it has replaced a large number of legacy BSS systems with a hosted multi-functional system providing a range of capabilities including billing, policy control, rating, mediation, CRM, analytics and offline data warehousing. (See AsiaInfo Scores Tier 1 Win in Europe and AsiaInfo Takes On BSS Giants in Europe.)

Now it has landed a "major project" with Telenor Hungary Zrt. , which has more than 3.2 million mobile customers. AsiaInfo Inc. (Nasdaq: ASIA) isn't providing any details about its exact role at the operator, or how much it could be worth, but the deal in Denmark was for a cloud-based BSS platform that could be expanded to provide capabilities in multiple markets, a model that would provide economies of scale and several advantages (skills, support) from having a common IT platform.

AsiaInfo is using its new engagement in Hungary to set up a European operations center (which it calls a "Nearshore Delivery Center") within Telenor Hungary's campus just outside the capital city of Budapest. The company is employing local IT professionals and software developers (11 so far) and shipping in AsiaInfo experts from China to work on the new engagement but also support other customers, including in time the operation in Denmark.

The vendor says it expects to employ up to 180 staff in the operations center within the next two years and be able to support up to eight customers with that size of team, "though that is of course dependent on the size and nature of our customer deals," says Andy Tiller, VP of corporate product marketing at AsiaInfo.

So does it have any more deals? Tiller says only that the company is "very confident" that it will be announcing European business beyond the Telenor group in the near future. "The telecom industry is facing many challenges currently, but IT transformation is one of the ways that operators are overcoming some of those challenges," he adds.

Given the cautious optimism of the AsiaInfo European team in the past (they are not prone to talk up opportunities when real business does not exist), that hints at further engagements that could justify the company's inclusion in Light Reading's recent feature, 10 SPIT Vendors to Watch in 2015.

For more coverage of the strategic pressures and opportunities facing operators and vendors in the communications market, see our business transformation content channel here on Light Reading.

AsiaInfo, which has built its business through extensive Service Provider Information Technology (SPIT) engagements with China's three major operators -- China Mobile Ltd., China Telecom Corp. Ltd. and China Unicom Ltd. -- was taken private by a group of investors led by CITIC Capital Holdings Ltd. in January 2014 in a $887 million deal. Its 2013 revenues were on course to be about $600 million. (See AsiaInfo-Linkage Goes Private.)

Its modus operandi is to pitch itself as an experienced BSS systems supplier that can provide a more efficient and modern platform than its rivals, which include the likes of Amdocs Ltd. (NYSE: DOX), Comverse Inc. (Nasdaq: CNSI), Netcracker Technology Corp. and Oracle Corp. (Nasdaq: ORCL).

In addition to targeting Europe, the company is also pushing hard to expand in Asia-Pacific and, based on its experience with the three Chinese carriers, pitch itself as a company that can help develop new business strategies for all types of communications service providers. (See AIS Thailand Deploys AsiaInfo's BSS and Telco IT Can Unlock OTT Profits – AsiaInfo.)

— Ray Le Maistre, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

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