BSS (inc. billing, revenue assurance)

OSS News: Tektronix Strikes Again!

An acquisition, a strategic market expansion, and some interesting carrier deployments have brought the OSS sector under the spotlight in the past few days and weeks.

Tektronix buys again
Tektronix Inc. has bolstered its telecom software portfolio with the acquisition of mobile customer experience management specialist Arantech (formerly Aran Technologies) for an undisclosed sum. (See Tektronix Buys Arantech.)

Tektronix, which has loosened its purse strings before to snap up telecom software specialists (and then was itself acquired), believes Arantech's technology will help it address mobile operators' needs as the data services become more popular with cellphone users. (See Danaher to Buy Tektronix, Tektronix Buys VOIP Test Firm, and Tektronix Acquires Inet for $325M.)

While Tektronix says Arantech's products "manage the customer experience gap – the difference between what traditional network management systems see and what customers actually experience," Arantech says its software can "monitor and manage, in real time, the lifecycle experience of every customer that comes into contact with the business or infrastructure of a communications provider... monitoring customers at every point where they touch the business." Its latest product, dubbed CustomerWorld, enables service providers to gain insight into customer churn trends and the success of specific service marketing campaigns.

For the full details, check out this page on Arantech's Website.

That approach on customer-centric business metrics has served the Irish company well in terms of winning carrier accounts: Amongst its 33 operator customers are Orange (NYSE: FTE)'s Orange, Swisscom AG (NYSE: SCM), MobileOne Ltd. (M1) (Singapore: MONE), Mobilkom Austria AG & Co. KG , Rogers Wireless Communications Inc. (NYSE: RCN; Toronto: RCM), Telefónica SA (NYSE: TEF), and Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD).

Arantech generated revenues of around $35 million in 2008, according to this analysis of the deal by OSS Observer analyst Patrick Kelly, who knows his onions from his potatoes, so to speak.

Branching into cable
Many OSS companies have developed their software with traditional telecom operators in mind, but as the cable operator community increasingly branches out into the triple-play world, introduces new technology (such as Docsis 3.0), and becomes more IP-friendly, so more telco software companies see a new market opening up for them.

One of those companies is transaction management specialist Openet Telecom Ltd. , which last week "announced its official entry into the cable market after two years of behind-the-scenes work with leading cable providers." And it not only announced its arrival -- it came with some customers in the bag, too. (See Ready to Row With Canoe? , Openet Adapts to Cable, and Openet Touts MSO Deals .)

Openet's offering looks to be hitting all the right hot spots, including: Collecting information from Enhanced TV Binary Interchange Format (EBIF) and tru2way applications to forward to a service fulfilment server that can provision and activate new services, including interactive requests, in response to customer actions; and measuring subscriber video services activities, broken down by linear and on-demand viewing, for analysis and use in targeted marketing activities.

OSS contract wins of note
  • Without doubt, one of the hottest trends in the OSS world is the migration towards service and product catalogues -- that is, a service and product creation, management, and delivery environment where re-usable software building blocks are used to create and provision new applications in a simpler and more timely fashion than currently exists.

    This trend is still at an early stage but has a few key players and has already been the partial catalyst for at least one acquisition. (See Comptel Snaps Up Axiom.)

    One of the OSS firms in the catalogue clan is ConceptWave Software Inc. , which has just bagged a deal at British satellite TV and broadband services player Sky . Check out the press release to get the flavor of what Conceptwave is offering, and the advantages BSkyB believes it will gain. The catalogue space is definitely one to watch. (See ConceptWave Wins BSkyB Deal.)

  • Celona Technologies Ltd. , a specialist in data migration (a critical but undervalued area of the carrier back-office process), has won a deal to help Swisscom AG (NYSE: SCM) migrate from a legacy billing product to a converged billing platform. (See Swisscom Uses Celona's OSS.)

  • Having just popped some corks following a blow-out financial year, Evolving Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: EVOL) has extended a service activation deal with one of its key African customers. (See Evolving Wins Deal Extension and OSS Firm Defies Downturn .)

  • Volubill is a company increasingly on Light Reading's radar. It has just won a deal at Saudi Telecom Co. (STC) , which will use the software firm's CHARGE-IT product to help manage the carrier's DSL-based broadband charging policies. (See STC Deploys VoluBill.)

    — Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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