BSS (inc. billing, revenue assurance)

Leading Lights 2015 Finalists: Outstanding OSS/BSS Vendor

There was a time when OSS and BSS was deemed as "back office." Now, as a result of business and technology transformation strategies, the systems that help manage the networks and perform critical business support functions such as charging and customer experience management are front and center.

Communications service providers are relying on their OSS and BSS partners to help them manage the hybrid legacy/virtualized networks of the near future and provide the systems that enable them to be digital leaders, able to compete with the web services giants.

We received many entries for this category, which was won last year by Redknee Inc. (Toronto TSX: RKN), and it was a tough task cutting it down to a shortlist of seven.

Amdocs Ltd. (NYSE: DOX) is one of the most influential and leading players in both BSS and OSS and is constantly innovating its portfolio and growing its business, particularly around NFV currently: For its current fiscal year, which ends in September, it expects year-on-year revenues growth of 2.5% to 5.5%.

During the timeframe for these awards, Amdocs released (in November 2014) its CES 9.2 solution, which spans BSS, OSS and network control and optimization and which includes its Network Cloud Service Orchestrator and Amdocs Policy Controller, which the vendor says is "the industry's first vPCRF to align with ETSI NFV ISG blueprint architecture for vendor-neutral, open networks." That solution was soon selected by Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. (SingTel) (OTC: SGTJY) for a significant transformation project.

Amdocs was also selected by Telefónica SA (NYSE: TEF) to support its current group-wide digital transformation.

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AsiaInfo Inc. (Nasdaq: ASIA) is the emerging challenger to the likes of Amdocs and Oracle in the service provider IT sector: Its average revenues growth rate during the past five years has been 26% and it is expanding beyond its core business base in China to offer its integrated BSS platform (billing, CRM, business intelligence, analytics and partner collaboration) to operators in Europe and elsewhere.

It has broken into Europe at the Telenor group, bolstered its operations in the region with a Near Shore Delivery Centre in Budapest, Hungary, and says it's on course to announce another significant European win soon.

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Finnish vendor Comptel Corp. (Nasdaq, Helsinki: CTL1V) has made a breakthrough during the past year in terms of its market positioning and development, while maintaining its presence in the mediation and fulfillment sectors that have been its traditional focus.

The company has renewed its brand, changed its organization structure and updated its strategy, which includes forging new partnerships. As part of that revamp, the company has been focusing much more on the real-time, analytics-based capabilities it can offer to the hundreds of network operators that use its technology and has been pushing Operation Nexterday, "a new framework to help digital and communications service providers to transform their businesses and thrive in the post-digital era."

It has also been breaking into new markets, in Chile and Costa Rica with Telefónica, in the Philippines with Globe Telecom and in Japan via Hitachi.

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Matrixx Software
Matrixx Software Inc. is currently experiencing what it calls "hyper growth" as it brokers new deals with operators and invests further in its transactional computing platform, which supports multiple applications (real-time charging, billing, policy management subscriber management and more) that enable CSPs to become Digital Service Providers.

Having gained an "early adopter" in Swisscom, Matrixx says its technology is now entering "mainstream adoption" with telcos such as Telstra Corp. Ltd. (ASX: TLS; NZK: TLS), which is also an investor, and Vodafone New Zealand." Our customers are achieving startling results that are bucking the general industry trend of stagnant mobile ARPU," notes the company.

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NetCracker Technology
Netcracker Technology Corp. , a subsidiary of NEC Corp. (Tokyo: 6701), is one of the giants of the BSS/OSS world and is growing in influence and reach each year. During the timeframe for these awards, NetCracker developed and successfully launched a number of new solutions and expanded its customer base.

The company cites how its Digital Business Platform, a "multi-channel commerce solution that enables service providers to engage, interact, transact and deliver services seamlessly to customers through locations or devices of their choice," was "successfully implemented at a number of service providers in 2014 including Sri Lanka Telecom."

It also cites its involvement and participation in a number of virtualization developments, including the "world’s first-to-market commercial vEPC solution, which was built for the Republic of the Union of Myanmar's (Myanmar) communications infrastructure," and the testing of virtualized mobile packet core capabilities at NTT DoCoMo Inc. (NYSE: DCM).

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Redknee continues to grow significantly following its M&A-driven expansion that included the acquisition of Nokia's former BSS business. In its financial year to the end of September 2014, the company reported an 81% increase in revenues to $257.7 million.

The company unveiled the latest version of its Unified BSS platform in June 2014, showing a real focus on expanding its addressable market with utilities, transportation and other verticals "as the growing ecosystem of the Internet of Things (IOT) continues to evolve." The system "provides charging and billing solutions, including roaming, partner management and partner settlement, to support various business models, different vertical industries and flexible tariff and rate plans."

The company counts more than 200 CSPs as customers and has been "driving its growth strategy by securing record license expansions, upgrades and numerous support renewals across all of our markets."

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This has been a breakout year for UBiqube Plc in many respects. Following years of developments, trials and negotiations, the company has been able to go public with a number of significant engagements involving its MSActivator, which it describes as a "vendor agnostic, multitenant service Orchestration software, designed for agile fulfillment and assurance of physical and virtual networking services."

As major CSPs have started talking about how they are approaching the very tough task of introducing SDN and NFV capabilities into their operations, so UBIqube's name has cropped up more and more. "Many operators or vendors are currently running PoC [proof of concept for SDN and NFV]… whereas UBIqube provides a solution already in production." Major operators such as NTT Communications Corp. (NYSE: NTT) and Orange (NYSE: FTE) have opted to work with the vendor to reduce the complexity of virtualization and to help introduce the DevOps approach.

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The Leading Lights 2015 winners and newest class of Hall of Fame inductees will be unveiled at the Leading Lights awards dinner, which will be held the evening of Monday, June 8, at Chicago's Field Museum. The star-studded soirée will follow a day of special workshops covering topics such as SDN, 5G and Carrier Ethernet for the Cloud that take place ahead of Light Reading's Big Telecom Event (BTE), which this year is being held at the McCormick Place Convention Center on June 9 and 10. (Details and the agenda are on our show site, Big Telecom Event.)

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

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