NICE, France -- TM Forum Live! -- Since John Legere took the helm of T-Mobile in 2012, the changes to the company have been immense and rapid-fire. Now, the company is looking to make another big change, this time to its backend IT systems, swapping outs its Amdocs business support system (BSS) with Ericsson's.
T-Mobile US Inc. said on Monday that it has signed a long-term managed services agreement with Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) to update its billing and IT processes. Specifically, Ericsson will unify the carrier's charging, billing, order management, product catalogue, and customer relationship management (CRM) for all branded T-Mobile and MetroPCS customers.
T-Mobile has come a long way from the state of disarray its IT systems were in after the fall-out of the failed AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) merger. It was operating six major IT systems and a variety of shadow IT apps so that executing any change in billing or services would take months on end. Since then it has made changes to consolidate its six systems down to one, using SAP AG (NYSE/Frankfurt: SAP) software, expediting processes, and bringing its IT division closer to the business folks. Today's announcement is another step in that evolution. (See Look Inside T-Mobile's 'Uncarrier' Transformation.)
Per Borgklint, Ericsson's senior vice president and head of business unit support solutions, says its Service Agility suite of services will completely replace T-Mobile's legacy systems as well as supplant Amdocs Ltd. (NYSE: DOX) in the back office. Ericsson has been a long-time T-Mobile customer, providing it with its free-time rating engine, but this deal marks a significant expansion. (See Amdocs Flexes Its Back Office Muscles.)
Borgklint says the new system will help T-Mobile more quickly introduce new services, down from months to a matter of minutes. It will also give its customers real-time billing visibility and control over their account service charges via a self-care portal or data dashboard, if the carrier chooses to implement it.
"We are implementing an end-to-end suite, which enables you to evolve from being fairly static to an elastic stack where you can start to create automated processes -- where you are putting customer needs and requirements as the leading performance indicator and adjusting the solution to meet individual needs and requirements," Borgklint tells us, adding that a lot of this became necessary as operators move more services to the cloud.
T-Mobile is gearing up to reveal the fifth phase of its "uncarrier" strategy on June 18. So far, its announcements have included new pricing plans, free tablet data offers, contract change-ups, and more. Ericsson wouldn't give a hint about what might be coming next, but suggests the carrier's new backend system will equip it for whatever shakeups it wants to unveil. (See T-Mobile Petitions Operators to Kill Overages, T-Mobile Drops LTE iPad Prices to WiFi Levels, T-Mobile to Pick Up 'Evil' Family Fees, and T-Mobile Kills Contracts, Launches LTE Network.)
— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading