Modern-day customers are more finicky and choosy than customers of any other previous generation. No matter what the industry is, customers of today have way too many options to select from due to an increase in competition. The moment they spot something is not working for them; they don’t waste a moment’s time in switching their service provider. The situation is a lot worse in the telecom industry where the competition is at an all-time high. As new MNOs (Mobile Network Operator) and MVNOs (Mobile Virtual Network Operators) enter the market every other month with the promise of improved services at a slashed price, the pressure on already-established players increases. This is the major reason why cutting-edge telecom billing solutions are required by communication service providers.
Need for Customer-Centric OSS Telecom Billing Solutions
The fickle nature of customer trust is giving CSPs (Communication Service Providers) sleepless nights. As they see their best efforts to build customer trust fail, it is time to think out of the box. Employing sound and reliable telecom billing solutions can be the first step towards building a strong bond with customers. As older OSS telecom billing solutions are simply not flexible enough, it is hard to offer attractive package deals to the customers. A switch to modern and more reliable convergent billing provides a better option.
Moreover, telecom systems are not efficient enough as they still rely on separate functioning OSS and BSS. However, as experienced by many operators, to offer complicated and differentiated products and services, there needs to a closer liaison between OSS/BSS. For example, processing an order that depends on other services may require information about the plan that a customer already has.
To make such tasks easier for a telecom vendor, new strategies for telecom processes that incorporate SDN (Software-Defined Networking) and NFV (Network Function Virtualization) are required.
SDN and NFV: For Creating Telecom Solutions that Address Customer Requirements Better
Just like the software industry, which is moving towards agile solutions, telecom industry also needs to be more agile. But, erstwhile telecom BSS/OSS models do not allow for such flexibility. On the other hand, incorporation of SDN and NFV in telecom separates control and data planes, which allows for control to be taken out of the devices and provided to a central network administrator. This allows for more maneuverability, e.g. if there is any service issue, an update can be released by the administrator at any time for addressing the problem.
As the access networks of today are a mishmash of older technologies like PSTN, a complete transformation instantly is simply not feasible. A better approach is to use the cloud model of NFV to host, deploy, and service virtual network functions (VNFs) using a cloud network. This can help a service provider greatly in many complex telecom cases. For example, an operator uses CPE (Customer Premises Equipment) to deliver a firewall service. But when using an NFV software model, the operator may use installed NFV servers and software in the data center and then provide those VNFs and services to the customer utilizing a software solution.
Convergent billing, NFV and SDN are solutions for the present and future of the telecom industry. Not only they can bolster the performance of telecom billing solutions, they can also make telecom operations more efficient.