How telecom operators can generate revenue with eSIM

How telecom operators can generate revenue with eSIM

How eSIM will help telecom operators unlock new revenue opportunities

 

December 15, 2022

 

The evolution of smartphones and devices over the last decade has given users a new way to access information and data at lightning speed. Smartphones are now being used as digital assistants, making everything from telemedicine to remote work more accessible and enjoyable. With the growing demand for accessibility and security, more bandwidth, and constant connectivity, operators are always looking for innovations that will help them evolve user experience and differentiate their offerings, while lowering costs and unlocking new revenue opportunities.

The eSIM (or embedded SIM) is one such innovation that helps operators meet all these criteria and takes telcos closer to their digital transformation goal.

What is an eSIM?

An eSIM or embedded subscriber identity module is the same as a regular SIM, except it comes permanently embedded in the smartphone. It replaces the need for a physical SIM card and a SIM card slot on the device. Users can remove or swap between different eSIM-based networks with more ease. eSIM also offers remote SIM provisioning technology, which enables the user’s profile information to be downloaded directly onto the device.

The traditional SIM has a unique IMSI (International Mobile Subscriber Identity), which identifies the phone on the cellular network. Along with the IMSI, the SIM also has a unique MSISDN, primarily, a mobile number that is used by other consumers when they call or text you. An eSIM can, however, be reprogrammed and rewritten, unlike a traditional SIM. That allows you to switch between networks without removing the SIM card.

Given the benefits of eSIM for operators and consumers, the technology has enormous potential to transform network experiences in the near future. For consumers, eSIM makes it easier to add companion devices to cellular plans, as well as manage multiple connections, profiles, and bundled subscriptions using a master subscription. Operators benefit from eSIM technology by being innovative in offering multi-device bundling, connected IoT devices/UEs, shared plans, and much more, while significantly lowering their OPEX. eSIM eliminates the overheads associated with physical SIM installation and changing operators.

For telecom operators, eSIM can potentially be a great revenue-generating and customer-retention tool.

Difference between eSIM and SIM


eSIM

SIM
Non-removable and embedded SIM inbuilt in the mobilePhysical, removable, and insertable into the SIM slot of compatible devices
Can store five connections from the same or different operatorsCan have only one connection from an operator
Supports single or multiple profile configurationSupports a single profile configuration
Can be activated by selecting an operator and a plan from the mobileCan be ordered from the operator or collected from the store
Comes in a fixed size as a part of the mobile’s motherboardComes in various sizes: standard, micro, and nano to fit in the SIM slot
Supports remote provisioningDoes not support remote provisioning

How can telecom operators benefit from eSIM?

eSIM enhances the innovation and revenue capabilities of the operator, as it facilitates operators to introduce next-gen plans for the customers, their profiles, connected devices, and more. There are many more benefits that eSIM can provide to telecom operators, including:

Provides a seamless onboarding experience

Using eSIMs can help streamline the onboarding process because they allow consumers to switch operators remotely without visiting a store to obtain a physical SIM card or waiting for SIM card delivery.

Using the QR-code scanning functionality of eSIM technology, consumers can instantly add multiple owned devices. It allows operators to have more cellular-connected devices on their networks and provide a consistent customer experience across multiple devices, improving accessibility and increasing subscriber retention.

Enhances flexibility and security

With traditional SIM cards, one must purchase a new SIM card and insert it into the device – which is not the case with eSIM. With eSIM, consumers can be onboarded quickly.

Moreover, if a phone is lost with a physical SIM card, a lock screen, biometric activation, and remote lock support could stop attackers from accessing it. However, one can still take out the SIM card and use it on another unlocked phone, allowing the hackers to make calls, send text messages, or access social media and bank accounts. An eSIM provides prevention in all such uncontrollable scenarios.

Enables hassle-free roaming experience

Switching to a local network while traveling would be easier with eSIM because it does not require physical insertion. It would assist operators in providing frequent business travelers with a seamless roaming experience. Additionally, because multiple profiles are possible, travelers can stack plans from multiple operators and select the most suitable plan as they travel from one country to another.

Lowers operational overheads

eSIM enables operators to increase ARPU without incurring operational costs or physical touchpoints. Customers can choose the available mobile network, whether local or roaming, without relying on the operator. Furthermore, when a subscriber misplaces their physical SIM cards, it incurs additional costs and inconveniences for both consumers and operators to reactivate a replacement.

Allows users to have multiple connections

eSIM removes the restriction of having a limited number of connections on a mobile phone. Consumers can have multiple connections from one or more operators, as well as can opt for device-based plans and shared bundling from different operators. With traditional SIMs, the consumer can carry one dual SIM mobile or have multiple mobiles if they own more than two connections. On the contrary, one eSIM can hold up to five virtual SIM cards or profiles simultaneously, facilitating consumers to quickly switch profiles based on needs. For example, a consumer can switch to a personal profile from a professional profile after work hours.

Unlocks revenue opportunities

Watches and other companion devices can help to increase ARPU. As device bundling will be easier and users can add new devices to their plans effortlessly, Telcos can offer multi-device packages and cellular and data plans. The customized and additional plans needed by customers will offer new revenue opportunities to operators. And the eliminated need to produce physical SIMs will help telcos save money and improve revenue margins.

Since traditional voice and SMS services are declining, many operators are concerned that eSIM will result in a loss of profits. However, they can consider selling additional subscriptions to their existing customers to activate a secondary subscription on the device. For example, customers who frequently visit other countries without international data plans can be encouraged to purchase a secondary subscription from one of the operator’s partners in other countries, which could be an excellent revenue-impacting move by operators.

Helps accelerate enterprise IoT

eSIM also empowers enterprise IoT as it can seamlessly connect many remote IoT-enabled devices. With eSIM, operators can sell more devices, offer managed services, and accelerate the adoption of private networks by enabling users to roam seamlessly between public and private infrastructure. eSIM technology, along with the 4IR (Fourth Industrial Revolution), can bring a revolution for private networks and bring multiple benefits for enterprises, including complete visibility on the connected devices, scale up and scale down network resources as needed, automated network configurations, high QoS, highly secured infrastructure, and controlled costs. Some industries where eSIM and 4IR can transform the private network experience are utility companies with smart meters and CCTV, hospitals with patient tracking devices, energy companies generating energy using wind farms placed in remote locations, and more.
 

eSIM Use Cases

eSIM Use Cases

Conclusion

Telecommunication service providers should embrace the opportunities that eSIM technology brings to the table rather than see it as a potential threat.

With eSIM, telcos can broaden their sales of data plans to any device via exclusive digital stores and collaborate with other telcos to expand their channels to a broad audience.

GSMA estimates that more than 2 billion eSIM devices will be shipped by 2025. As market adoption grows and eSIM becomes more common, having a clear roadmap and plan in place will be critical for capitalizing on and monetizing the new opportunities provided by eSIM.

Alepo’s Digital BSS stack includes an eSIM Management module, which performs onboarding, and activation management. The eSIM Management module can help operators enable GSMA-compliant integration with the eSIM management platform for mobile, companion devices, and online (CRM, mobile app, Self-Care) and offline (Point of Sales) devices (android and Apple iOS devices). To learn more about the eSIM functionality, reach Alepo experts at market.development@alepo.com.

Rajesh Mhapankar

Rajesh Mhapankar

Vice President, Product Management

A seasoned professional, technologist, innovator, and telecom expert. With over 20 years of experience in the software industry, Rajesh brings a strong track record of accelerating product innovations and development at Alepo. He supports the company’s mission-critical BSS/OSS projects in LTE, WiFi and broadband networks, including core policy, charging, and control elements.

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Top 5 telecom trends to watch in 2023

Top 5 telecom trends to watch in 2023

Top 5 telecom trends to watch in 2023

 

December 12, 2022

New technologies and business models are emerging at an unprecedented rate. General trends such as artificial intelligence (AI), cloud computing, Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), and 5G have all gained traction in recent years and will continue to transform telecommunications in the years to come. In addition to these trends, here are predictions for the top 5 telecom trends in 2023.

Containerization

Containerization is a major telecom trend for 2023. The technology allows packaging an application’s code and its dependencies in isolation, facilitating optimal performance on any infrastructure, quick deployment, and faster time-to-market. Containerization is gaining popularity due to its portability, flexibility, scalability, security, modularity, and lightweight footprint. These significant features enable companies to process deployment-related tasks quickly and efficiently.

With the increasing complexity of networks and the software development challenges that go along with it, containerized systems make the life of developers easier and help them overcome operational and technical difficulties. Containerization increases the agility and accessibility of the application due to its leaner, virtualized, and service-oriented design, having no hardware or other system dependencies. When appropriately applied, containerization improves DevOps efficiency, streamlines work processes, and minimizes infrastructural conflicts. Containerization technology plays a significant role in implementing next-gen applications or networks. For example, it plays a prominent role in creating network slices, allowing technology service providers to create virtual replicas of networks with varied business requirements. To be more specific, when developers require a network that can handle autonomous driving and smart meters with varying delays and bandwidths, they can build those slices with the help of the containerized system.

And not to forget about the cost and security benefits of containerization, the containers-based networks are built with significantly lower costs and risks than traditionally built networks. Containerized applications can run easily in any environment thanks to its cloud-native infrastructure, significantly reducing maintenance and development costs.

Cybersecurity

Telecom has always been vulnerable to cyber-attacks and data breaches, and the IoT boom has further elevated the need for cybersecurity and cyber resilience. The more devices we connect to our network, the more opportunities emerge for attackers to access our data.

5G will introduce different security threats, making the industry vulnerable to cyberattacks. A large amount of sensitive data spread across complex, confidential, and private networks make it essential for telecom operators to invest in implementing stringent cybersecurity measures to strengthen security surrounding connected devices and the cloud systems and networks that connect them.

Gartner predicts that by 2023, there will be 43 billion IoT-connected devices worldwide. IoT devices, from smartwatches or human-wearable biometrics to monitoring systems, robots, alarm systems, sensors, IT devices, and industrial machines, are important to remember for those in charge of cybersecurity. The ability to remotely access base stations and data centers makes IoT security crucial as more telecoms embrace the industry and deploy these devices in their networks.

Private 5G

Private 5G has been considered the top telecom trend in recent years and will become mainstream next year. As consumers eagerly await the rollout of 5G, numerous telecommunications companies have already made significant investments in the necessary infrastructure with 5G SA networks live in South Korea, Japan, and many more countries.

With 5G ecosystems, users will take advantage of increased speed, reliability, and consistency. For businesses, with its ultra-low latency, Due to its ultra-low latency capability, Private 5G will enable businesses with several high-value use cases, including 3D robot control, digital twins, medical remote control, and more. These next-gen use cases were practically unachievable with legacy network technologies, thus opening a high-revenue generating market for telcos.

5G networks are expanding, and more importantly, many devices in the market now support 5G. And with the evolution of industry 4.0, Private 5G will help enterprises connect hundreds of IoT/IIoT devices, boosting operational efficiency and productivity and enabling the development of mission-critical applications in almost all industries. Alepo is also working with its partners on multiple private 5G projects for hospitals, universities, semiconductor factories, and more.

Cloud computing in emerging markets due to hyperscalers

In the past three years, cloud computing has grown in popularity as more companies have turned to digital service delivery to respond to the global pandemic. By 2026, the global hyperscale cloud market is projected to reach US$693.49 billion, according to Research and Markets. The global hyperscale cloud market is expected to grow by 2026. This potentially industry-changing technology is something that telcos should keep an eye on.

One of the most significant factors influencing the hyperscale cloud market is the growing adoption of hyperscalers among SMEs in developing markets. Due to physical infrastructure and constant technological evolution, SMEs are always looking for ways to reduce IT costs and overcome the challenges related to data security, digitization, and high CAPEX. An increase in the demand for cloud computing by SMEs across industries has led to growth in the hyperscale cloud market, with data centers opening around the world to get closer to the end-user, such as South Africa, Chile, Mexico, and Indonesia.

Furthermore, the market has been growing over the past few years, due to factors such as increasing penetration of IoT devices, increasing adoption of 5G, SaaS, edge computing, video streaming apps, AI, and big data analytics, growing internet traffic, and an increase in the number of hyperscalers from AWS, Microsoft, Google, and other companies. Additional services that these hyperscale data centers offer to enterprises include massive server storage, cloud computing platforms, data processing, IT networking, software customizations, and much more.

As more businesses discover the operational and low capital-intensive benefits of hyperscale infrastructure, the move to cloud computing will surely see a boom in 2023.

Edge orchestration

Edge orchestration or edge computing hosts and authorizes apps to run at a network’s edge. It’s a distributed computing architecture in which processing and data storage moves closer to the data source. It brings benefits like lower latency, accessibility, and reliability to use cases like AR/VR and IIoT.

Edge cloud computing technology will rapidly spread thanks to 5G as communication service providers will deploy 5G networks with hundreds of centers and distributed cloud edge sites. Edge cloud computing environments will grow, using network-as-code, multi-cloud, and open APIs with purpose-driven closed-loop orchestration. These facades incorporate a converged framework at the network edge that can serve various user needs, while maintaining high agility and low operational expenses.

With so many benefits to offer, edge orchestration remains one of the top telecom trends of 2023. Edge ecosystems will emerge as an essential pillar of CSPs’ digital transformation journey, allowing them to achieve market significance beyond connectivity.

Conclusion

2023 is shaping up to be one of the most transformative years for the telecom industry. These five trends will bring technological revolution, digital transformation, better data security, improved Quality of Service (QoS), and new revenue opportunities for telcos. And the adoption of these trends is a must to remain competitive and overcome future challenges.

Anju Gulati

Anju Gulati

Associate Director - Marketing

A core marketer with around twenty-one years of cross-discipline experience, including marketing communications, operations, and content creation. I believe with an increasingly competitive marketplace, marketing creates the magic to expedite sales closures, achieve business success, sustain brand leadership, and drive future growth.

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How cloud BSS helps telecom operators save costs

How cloud BSS helps telecom operators save costs

How cloud BSS helps telecom operators save costs

September 29, 2022
Operators are already seeing the benefits of digitization and BSS transformation. According to a report by Markets & Markets, the global OSS/BSS market is expected to reach USD 36.6  billion by 2027 at a CAGR of 12.8%1. Many telecom operators are taking the approach of Software as a Service (SaaS) models to pace out their investments as they modernize their infrastructure. An Analysys Mason report estimates that SaaS spending will likely rise by 11% by 20232 as CSPs continue to undertake digital transformation. However, a TM Forum report states that less than 5%3 have deployed their operations software in the public cloud. Here’s why this should change.

Telecommunications service providers today operate under pressure as their long-established value pools are gradually eroding, with growing competition and ever-increasing customer demands for more modern services. To thrive in spite of these economic and competitive challenges, they need to revolutionize their businesses. A modern and digital Business Support System (BSS) enables them to quickly reinvent their core offerings; deploying telecom BSS in the cloud significantly helps lower costs, eventually driving revenue.

Cloud BSS helps streamline end-to-end processes, from managing product offerings to sales and marketing activities. It also introduces technological changes that enable endless scalability, network availability, and security. It implements automations that not only optimize backend processes, but also digitize CX with 24x7x365 support offerings powered by AI chatbots. In addition, operators can provide advanced service personalization by leveraging advanced data insights.

How cloud BSS helps maximize savings

Modern telecom BSS stacks handle critical aspects of the business, including the launch, delivery, and monetization of services, billing and charging, customer support, revenue management, and more. Deploying BSS in the cloud results in significant savings and drives revenue for a host of reasons:

Ensures cost-effective deployment

Compared to on-premise deployments, cloud BSS is far more cost-effective to set up. Chip and hardware shortages can delay on-site deployment by 3-6 months, whereas cloud BSS can be ready for service in 30 days. Quicker deployment lets operators optimize their investments and begin deriving returns faster.

Reduces OPEX

In addition to keeping initial investments low, cloud deployment significantly lowers operational and maintenance costs due to factors such as reduction in data center real estate, power consumption, server maintenance, replacement of faulty parts, offloading network security, and more.

Optimizes investment

Instead of buying a large upfront capacity to plan for future growth, operators can opt and pay for only the licenses and infrastructure resources they need using pay-as-you-go SaaS deployment models, maximizing their investments and swiftly deriving ROI.

Provides support for 5G use cases

Cloud BSS acts as the backbone for next-gen monetization opportunities, letting service providers easily and swiftly introduce 5G services, monetizing them with support for advanced business models and partnerships. It supports advanced next-gen use cases that have high data, latency, and bandwidth requirements, as well as supports the large volumes of connected devices inherent to 5G.

Enables scalable business models

A cloud BSS can help scale a business with relatively lower investments, letting operators introduce new capabilities and modules without making costly changes to their core systems.

Conclusion

It’s clear that a cloud BSS helps telecom operators maximize their savings potential. It holds massive scope to enable them to differentiate themselves from and move ahead of their competitors.

Alepo’s cloud-native 5G-ready Digital BSS and SaaS BSS solution enable operators to capitalize on data network opportunities with affordable business models. Its comprehensive Digital BSS suite provides flexible cloud hosting options, advanced BI analytics, and a host of other features that streamline business operations, shorten time-to-market, ensure faster ROI, and maximize revenue.

Our experts can help you begin your cloud BSS journey today: market.development@alepo.com

Anju Gulati

Anju Gulati

Associate Director - Marketing

A core marketer with around twenty-one years of cross-discipline experience, including marketing communications, operations, and content creation. I believe with an increasingly competitive marketplace, marketing creates the magic to expedite sales closures, achieve business success, sustain brand leadership, and drive future growth.

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Top 5 business benefits of digital transformation for telecom

Top 5 business benefits of digital transformation for telecom

Top 5 business benefits of digital transformation for telecom

 

May 06, 2021

 

 

Introduction

With declining revenues from traditional services, the growing threat of OTT players, and customers swiftly embracing a more digital lifestyle, operators need to keep reinventing themselves by offering new and differentiated services to their customers. Digital transformation is key to this reinvention, which means the ability to offer advanced services through delivery channels preferred by customers. Plus, it enables operators to improve efficiency by streamlining their business processes, further improving revenue through reduced operational costs.

Digital transformation is a massive undertaking for any telco, demanding considerable investment, in terms of resources, time, and of course, money. Often, it takes years for an operator to transform their infrastructure and processes. What decides the success of this undertaking is knowing where to begin and investing in key focal points that will bring visible changes to the network.

In our experience of facilitating network modernization projects around the globe, we’ve found that telcos gain immediate benefits after a successful BSS transformation, even when they choose to roll out in phases and reinvest as they derive ROI.

Top five benefits of digital transformation

In planning a digital transformation, make sure the solution you deploy will produce these benefits:

Transforming the customer experience

Digital transformation means enabling a digital lifestyle through a host of next-generation services, including the advancement to 5G. From smart homes, smart buildings and cities, to autonomous vehicles and industrial IoT applications in manufacturing, telcos will be able to harness the full monetization potential of the next-gen network through unique and differentiated services.

In addition to improving CX by supporting advanced service offerings, digital transformation is also meant to enhance customer relationship management through increased engagement, more cross-selling and up-selling opportunities, consistently evolving offerings to keep pace with changing customer needs, and ensuring swift and seamless issue resolution.

A modern BSS transformation includes CX-focused features such as:

  • digital CRM to serve as a unified 360-degree platform to manage all customer interactions
  • digitized customer journeys, including digital onboarding, electronic KYC, and more
  • interactive omnichannel self-care with integrated chatbots for social media platforms to ensure your customers can engage with you 24x7x365, making them self-reliant to solve problems quickly and efficiently, and granting more control over their accounts
  • personalized and innovative rewards programs to build customer loyalty and brand differentiation throughout the customer life cycle
  • contextual plans for different customer segments based on their location, usage needs, and more

Accurate data-driven insights

One of the key benefits of digital transformation is gaining access to key data insights to continually measure the pulse of your customers and modify not only plans and offerings, but also your long-term business strategies and goals. Effectively using Business Intelligence (BI) insights improve ROI and revenue.

A next-gen digital BSS platform provides granular and customizable reports for advanced customer segmentation. Using the data from these reports, you can create personalized and relevant offerings, improve plan pricing, and build loyalty.

Further, these insights help in creating targeted advertising to not only promote your own offerings but also for third-party sponsorship opportunities.

Innovations due to collaborations/partnerships

How does digital transformation help keep pace with competition from OTT services such as social media and chat platforms? Customers have far more engagement with these platforms as compared to traditional service providers, and digital transformation helps up the customer relationship game by forging cross-industry partnerships for a host of OTT services that directly engage the customer.

Network modernization solutions enable these services to be integrated with the telco’s offerings, meaning that the telco can ensure end-to-end management of the services by maintaining control over them and providing a holistic customer experience.

Transforming your network means creating new revenue streams by integrating a modern partner management solution that facilitates these partnerships while managing a large number of connections (think IoT ecosystem), massive amounts of data consumption, use cases requiring ultralow latency, and more. (For more on these partnerships as we move forward in the 5G era, read our blog, How partnerships are the key to 5G success for telcos.)

Agile and virtualized network environment

Digital transformation makes it possible to continually adapt to evolving market demands by responding swiftly with new and innovative services by creating an agile network environment. More agility means faster response time, helping telcos stay ahead of their competitors.

An agile network environment is virtualized, replacing traditional hardware through the implementation of Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) and employing a software-based approach to running various traditional network functions. Modern BSS transformation solutions are NFV-compliant and cloud-native, helping telcos reduce operational costs, improve agility, lower OPEX, reduce costs by avoiding constant and expensive hardware upgrades, and support various next-gen use cases even before they fully transition to 5G.

Earlier generations of networks, including 4G, did not serve as many use case demands as 5G. 5G caters to use cases that require more speed, latency, reliability, efficiency, throughput, and other needs. Catering to these dynamically changing needs, and handling more traffic load than ever before, demands a virtualized network environment.

Taking a cue from the enterprise success of agile virtualized environments, more and more telcos are moving towards a virtualized core network. With more standardization as well as network-agnostic software, modern deployments are more agile.

Automated processes and faster sales conversions

Automating workflows and processes helps reduce operator dependence on staff, lowers the risk of errors caused by manual intervention, and helps keep operational costs low.

Digital transformation integrates automation at all levels and in all processes. This includes automating sales processes to reduce workload, save time, and lower OPEX on creating workflows, sending emails, setting up alerts and notifications to track the sales pipeline, and more. It helps streamline the entire sales life cycle, centralizing all day-to-day operations, capturing leads, organizing customer databases, ensuring quotations are sent on time, interactions are prompt, and managing the sales pipeline. Here, too, leveraging data through the use of advanced analytics helps improve the sales process, forecast sales, identify the most lucrative lead sources, and more.

The result: improved sales conversions, both in terms of time and volumes.

How Alepo can help in your digital transformation journey

Alepo been instrumental in digitalizing telecom businesses around the globe has emerged as an industry-leading solution provider to drive revenue through network modernization and digital transformation projects. Its next-gen products and solutions are the result of ongoing R&D efforts to employ the latest technologies and meet dynamically changing market demands. Alepo’s 5G-ready Digital BSS along with its 5G Core and other cloud-native solutions helps CSPs constantly innovate their service offerings, facilitate business automation, accelerate network performance, drive profitability, and reduce costs on fixed and mobile broadband networks. Its 365x24x7 global technical assistance center (GTAC) further ensures that operators can maintain highly available networks, competitive differential advantage in their target market with timely feature enhancements, and a high customer satisfaction index with proactive network monitoring and quick issue resolution.

Looking to transform your service offerings, business processes, and customer experience? Drop us a message and we’ll get in touch.

Pankaj Garg

Pankaj Garg

Associate Director, Product Management

Pankaj Garg is a telecom and FinTech expert with over 15 years of experience in the software industry. Handling digital BSS offerings is among the many hats he wears at Alepo. Always up to speed with the newest advancements in the products he handles, he takes it slow only when he’s road-tripping across India to discover new places.

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Top 5 ways telcos can adapt to the virtual cultural shift

Top 5 ways telcos can adapt to the virtual cultural shift

Top 5 ways telcos can adapt to the virtual cultural shift

 

5th of May 2020

Telecommunications today is more essential than ever. Data and mobility have taken on a pivotal role across sectors like healthcare, education, transportation, smart cities, oil and gas, utilities, and more. Now, there is unprecedented demand on networks with cultural shifts due to the pandemic. Given the unpredictability of the future, and with many companies considering the possibility of permanently adopting remote work, the focus is directed to network contingency plans. One thing is clear: service providers with digitally advanced systems will adapt more easily to this cultural shift. And to enhance their systems, these are the top five factors they need to focus on:

Maintain high-performing and scalable networks

More people around the world are working from home due to lockdowns, and those isolating and in quarantine are spending more time on high-bandwidth streaming services such as Netflix, Youtube, and other entertainment channels, further increasing the network load. To serve this surge in demand and long-term cultural shift, telcos must invest in robust AAA infrastructure that is highly available, scalable, and stateless. Operators facing network challenges can transform AAA seamlessly and virtually, ensuring zero impact on their existing IT systems and integrations.

Automate workflows and processes

As their customers do more from home, telcos should also aim to reduce manual and in-person touchpoints. An advanced digital business support systems (BSS) stack helps automate business processes, including complex and repetitive tasks, freeing up network resources, and minimizing errors. Telcos can create, launch, deliver, and manage communications services entirely through a digital-first customer experience, keeping them ahead of the competition. Operators can introduce innovative plans, bonus policies, cashbacks, and targeted offers on-the-fly as the market evolves. Increased digitalization and personalization keeps customers engaged and loyal to the brand.

Digital transformation facilitates rapid implementation and customization as it possesses the following features:

  • Cloud-native services
  • Open APIs and standardized workflows
  • Automated provisioning, fulfillment, testing, chatbots
  • Microservice architecture

In addition, better internal processes and automated workflows mean higher productivity and efficiency in interacting with customers and vendors, while maintaining high operational excellence.

Deliver a digitally-advanced experience

It is crucial for telcos to adopt a digital-first approach to their business, not only because the majority of young consumers prefer interacting with brands through smartphones or online, but long-term cultural shifts due to the pandemic demand a rapid change to conducting business and serving customers virtually.

For example, customers prefer visual assistance to solve their problems. Vodafone has capitalized on this and uses the power of video to relieve the burden on their call centers that used to receive a staggering 5.2 million calls for technical assistance per year. They are now able to resolve customer issues remotely using AI and AR, helping their agents interpret and visually guide the customer, resulting in faster and more accurate problem resolution.

The main areas of focus for digitalization include:

  • Shift in-store customer experience to a digital channel
  • Reduce physical contact through virtual troubleshooting
  • Automate customer touchpoints to improve customer experience
  • Have IT systems that can support the cultural shift

Provide omnichannel support

With an increasing number of digital channels and a growing focus on customer experience, operators need to adopt an omnichannel strategy to keep pace with the expectations of customers. And its applications are two-fold.

For one, omnichannel engagement options extend a seamless, consistent, and unified shopping experience to customers across all touchpoints, whether they are shopping on the operator’s portal or through an online marketplace, physical stores, product catalogs, social media platforms, or chatbots.

Second, omnichannel self-care plays a significant role in the operator’s customer experience strategy, helping customers to play an active role in managing their accounts. Customers can manage their plans and services, create friends and family groups for special calling rates, and control data usage. The added transparency and increased ability to monitor accounts improves customer satisfaction and helps build trust. Automated and intelligent interactions through the web, mobile, and multiple social media channels further enhance the digital experience and empower customers with:

  • Automated digital onboarding
  • Simplified purchases
  • Automated support
  • Multiple payment modes
  • Swift complaint redressal
  • Gifting options
  • Parental controls

Move to SaaS to relieve IT

With the long-term shift to working virtually, a huge strain is put on a company’s IT infrastructure. SaaS software can relieve a huge burden on the IT infrastructure and ensure connectivity and reliability. One of the top priorities for all service providers must be shifting their infrastructure to the cloud because it lets them focus on digitization opportunities with limited investment. SaaS BSS architecture provides the telco with advanced modules, preconfigured fixed and mobile broadband plans, and 24×7 managed service operations, while a dedicated customer success manager ensures faster return on investment and reduced time-to-market. It also helps with reduced expenditure on hardware, infrastructure, maintenance, and more. The SaaS solution helps operators rapidly transform and adapt their business to modern technology trends that facilitate back-office process automation and digitize customer experience for their staff and subscribers.

Conclusion

To capitalize on cultural shifts and surging demand in data, telecom providers need to concentrate on a digital makeover, either as a complete network overhaul or a phased digital transformation. This includes not just offering better network capabilities but also implementing innovative tools and strategies to enable process automation and enhanced customer experience. Service providers must consider investing in digital technologies to build next-gen offerings and streamline business and IT operations, using SaaS software and agile methodologies to analyze and understand overall market demands, business requirements, customer data, and real-time delivery needs. It’s certain there is opportunity for companies to evolve in these challenging times.

Anand Ramani

Anand Ramani

Director R&D

A senior professional with more than 20 years of experience in the telecom BSS domain, Anand is passionate about adapting newer technologies and building digital products. He heads the company’s R&D activities for core products such as Digital BSS, WiFi, and AAA.

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Top 7 benefits digital BSS delivers, now and in 5G

Top 7 benefits digital BSS delivers, now and in 5G

Top 7 benefits telecom digital BSS delivers, now and in 5G

 

14th of January 2020

As evidenced in countries where it has launched, 5G brings massive innovation potential but is challenging to monetize if its only unique offering is ultrafast speed. Many telecom operators are aware that 5G success depends on their digital Business Support Systems (BSS) and bringing innovation to their own business models. A recent study by TM Forum reveals that 72% of CSPs believe 5G revenue growth is completely dependent on transforming their BSS and OSS. However, digital transformation is beneficial even before 5G is rolled out: a robust telecom BSS stack enables implementing and monetizing key 5G use cases, such as OTT partnerships and new business models, on previous-gen networks.

5G networks are anticipated to deliver a transformational customer experience with improved speed, connectivity, network coverage, interoperability, and more. And this will be further enhanced with omnichannel support, which offers a highly personalized, consistent, seamless, and holistic view of the complete customer journey. Enabling faster speeds and connectivity, rapid service creation and monetization, and differentiated partnership models for new revenue streams will be a necessity for operators. Those ready with 5G Core (5GC) architecture before the 5G market matures will have a competitive edge. It provides a high-level of orchestration and automation with the use of a modular 5G service-based architecture (SBA) required to meet future challenges and business needs. An effective telecom digital BSS helps to fully monetize this transformation and derive maximum ROI.

How a telecom digital BSS unlocks 5G potential

With limited features and rigid architecture, legacy BSS cannot keep up with the evolving demands of customers as they embrace a digital lifestyle. With a digital BSS stack, operators can seize the benefits of 5G – a fact they are well aware of. According to this report , the global telecom digital BSS market is expected to reach approximately USD 7,416 million by 2025, at a CAGR of roughly 15% between 2019 and 2025.

A digital BSS provides an elastic, modern, and convergent system in a virtualized network environment, giving telecom operators an edge over competitors and enabling them to readily offer unique 5G services. An effective BSS transformation helps modernize fixed and wireless networks, as well as support CSPs to introduce differentiated services and automate business processes.

What should telecom operators look for in a digital BSS?

5G facilitates real-time rating, metering and charging for sophisticated digital services, along with monetization schemes such as QoS tiers, OTT billing and charging, partner settlements (B2B2X), and more – all of which is possible only with a flexible and agile telecom BSS platform. Robust digital BSS architecture using the latest 5G standards is essential in this competitive and ever-evolving market – today and well into the future – to be able to support a dynamic environment and provide quick time-to-value in delivering new features and functions.

Top benefits telecom operators enjoy with digital BSS

Modern digital BSS features help improve and monetize legacy as well as next-gen networks, driving the following benefits for operators:

1. Rapid and phased deployments
A truly modern digital BSS is modular, cloud-native and deployed virtually. For telecom operators not wanting to undertake a complete digital transformation at one go, it’s possible to implement in phases, so there is low risk involved in migration and fewer resources are required to launch it. Further, End of Life is less frequent, and the hardware is much easier to manage.

2. Accelerated monetization of use-cases
A 5G-ready digital BSS stack lets telecom operators rapidly monetize the data network with innovative and personalized offerings, enhancing the digital experience for subscribers and improving customer loyalty. The elastic and convergent platform provides a network environment for CRM, convergent charging and billing, with REST APIs that offer the flexibility to quickly introduce a host of digital services with new billing models.

3. Centralized catalog management
With 5G, network slicing, and the surge of IoT and other data-intensive services like AI and VR, it will be challenging for CSPs to meet the demands to support new business models and use cases on the fly without expensive and lengthy backend code changes. A digital BSS stack with a centralized product catalog enables telecom operators to swiftly respond to this network evolution. A common product repository and robust API framework allow CSPs, partners, and distributors to accelerate TTM for new products and services and improve revenue and customer engagement. With modern centralized catalogs, plans can be defined by many metrics such as volume, value, time, and quality of service. This core functionality helps ease teamwork and collaboration, manage offers efficiently, support multi-play offerings, and provide quick access to prebuilt use cases library.

4. Improved customer management
Customer relationship management covers all important aspects of the customer lifecycle, from registration and hierarchy to offering a 360-degree view to CSRs for subscribers as well as enterprise customers. With digital CRM, operators can implement automated workflows, streamline sales and support, and use chatbots and AI to reduce manual CSR workload. Additionally, it enables instant issue redressal and quick troubleshooting with web and mobile self-care including live chat options, lowering operational expenses and reducing churn.

5. Efficient revenue management
CSPs need real-time billing and policy control capabilities to seize and monetize opportunities that all-IP networks bring. Convergent charging facilitates automated rates and charging mechanisms. Further, revenue management solutions with reliable interconnect and billing for roaming help manage diverse partnerships, enabling telecom operators to efficiently charge other operators for use of their voice, data, SMS, and other network infrastructure. A modern telecom digital BSS with real-time APIs can also facilitate new 5G use cases like surge or congestion charging at times when the demand for digital services is high.

6. Enhanced partner management
A digital BSS stack with an integrated partner management platform helps improve operational agility by streamlining the partner lifecycle. It helps cultivate relationships with simplified onboarding, self-service, and support for a host of partner functions such as content, OTT, IoT, interconnect agreements, roaming, MVNO, and others. A partner management solution with open API integration works seamlessly with third-party systems.

7. Automated omnichannel support
Improving customer experience is not merely about providing better user interfaces on various devices, but also integrating the process across channels. Omnichannel support allows operators to provide a consistent, seamless, and highly personalized self-care experience through web, mobile and social media platforms, ensuring swift problem resolution while making customers feel more connected and valued. The most recent additions to this trend are WhatsApp-, AI- and NLP-powered chatbots for instant redressal of customer queries.

Telecom operators are already in the battle to build 5G networks and intend to offer improved quality of service to customers. And as they invest billions of dollars in 5G RAN, they must remember that an effective 5G strategy includes IT systems to generate ROI on that investment. Digital BSS has the great benefit of being modular so it can be rolled out in phases, mitigating the risks involved in a largescale migration of one’s billing system. To maximize their chances of success, operators must modernize their infrastructure with a digital BSS transformation today.

Rani Shanmugam

Rani Shanmugam

Marketing Content Writer

Long story short, Rani writes about the workings of telecom networks. Short story long, she has a rich and diverse background as a developer, business analyst, and technical writer for broad-spectrum solutions across various industries, and is now focused on telecommunications marketing. She unwinds by painting with her toddler son and loves to whip up elaborate meals fit for a feast.

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