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BSS (inc. billing, revenue assurance)

LTE Needs a Bunch of BSS

LONDON -- Service Provider IT Global Event Series -- The introduction of Long Term Evolution (LTE) services won't require an overhaul of legacy billing support systems (BSS), but the next generation of mobile broadband will give operators an opportunity to rethink their Service Provider Information Technology (SPIT) strategies.

That was the consensus of a panel discussion on BSS here at Light Reading's "Subscriber-Centric 4G & Advanced Services: Using OSS/BSS to Drive Revenue in 2011" conference in London today.

In other words, next-generation networks don't necessarily mean operators need to invest in all new next-generation BSS but some things will need to change. This perspective is probably not surprising considering that carriers don't typically swap out massive legacy systems in one fell swoop.

Some of the changes that operators need to make in their billing systems for next-generation mobile broadband services is the integration of post-paid and pay-as-you-go modes of billing, the incorporation of policy management, and the creation of a centralized product catalogue, according to Ari Banerjee, senior analyst at Heavy Reading.

Also, how and to what extent operators will change their BSS in the back-office will depend on which services they will offer over their LTE networks, according to Birger Thorburn, group architect, Cable & Wireless Communications .

"What services do you want to put on that [4G] technology? That will determine the OSS/BSS strategy," said Thorburn.

"Does new technology mean getting into a new BSS/OSS landscape? Typically not," said Faisal Ishaq, principal solutions architect and client manager at ConceptWave Software Inc. He noted that the complexity of BSS hasn't changed with new generations of telecom networks. "Maybe LTE is a trigger point to refresh pricing and maybe the BSS/OSS [architecture]."

According to Greg Branch, director of IT architecture at Colt Technology Services Group Ltd , in any decision making and evaluation about their billing systems, the priority should be to align any IT decisions with business decisions.

"If an IT change doesn't have a business change driver behind it, it will fail," he said.

— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Light Reading Mobile

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