5G has the potential of changing the telecom market in a way that previous technologies couldn’t (or didn’t). With its increased bandwidth and low latency, it’s in the perfect position to give solid roots to the internet of things, or the IoT. This alone puts a huge OSS and BSS challenge for the telecom operators across the globe. According to an estimate, mobile networks will be handling over 75 exabytes of data every month by next year. It’s in stark contrast to the mobile data traffic of 28.5 exabytes in 2019.
This is just a glimpse of how drastically BSS will have to evolve to provide the 5G services that consumers will be expecting after the widespread deployment of 5G. According to the Ericson Mobility report, there will be around 2.6 billion 5G users by 2025. This is the change that telecom operators need to absorb by changing their BSS accordingly. Most telecom operators believe that over 72% of the revenue growth expected from 5G technology will depend upon the successful transformation of their current OSS and BSS models.
Prominent Evolutionary Changes
A Gartner report has indicated that 5G will see its true boom in the year 2020. Let’s take a look at how BSS has evolved, or must evolve, in order to capture the right market at the right time.
CSP to DSP
Traditional communication service provider (CSP) BSS and OSS models are becoming obsolete. Telcos need to realize that staying with the older approach to consumer satisfaction and attraction doesn’t have a place and that their BSS has to focus on the current and future technological advents.
A large part of it is evolving into a digital service provider. This will allow them to cater to the increasing demand for real-time mobile digital services, which is increasing in individual consumers and even more so on the enterprise level. Digital Transformation will also allow telecom providers to fulfill the needs of an IoT market. And while deploying all this might be the OSS domain, developing a related product, effective monetization, and a more comprehensive real-time charging falls under the umbrella of BSS.
If a telco’s BSS, and under it the customer value management, 5G sales and distribution, mobile financial services, and billing mediation services, etc. don’t change accordingly, then it might lose to more agile competitors.
5G Network Slicing
4G has already reached its limit when it comes to bandwidth and latency, and even LTE isn’t able to cover the range of new consumers and demands of new digital products that consumers expect. With its mmWave, the 5G is expected to absorb the enormity of data that is expected to arrive with IoT. But the magnitude isn’t the only problem; another problem is variety.
5G network slicing might solve this problem as telcos and operators will be able to offer different slices of their network to different consumer types. For example, mobile data users will be using a different slice then a machine to machine (M2M) application. From a BSS perspective, this will require a complete overhauling and expansion.
You see, now telcos are essentially dealing with only one slice, as they are providing the same networking products to match most of their consumer needs. But handling a variety of slices, each with different variables and tailor-made for a specific consumer type, will require a thorough expansion. Pricing for different latencies is just one of its examples. BSS has to change across all four of its key tenets: Customer, product, order, and revenue management, to reap the benefits offered by network slicing.
The level of overhauling of current OSS and BSS needed to deploy the network slicing efficiently may slow down the speed. A relatively unorthodox solution to this was provided in the form of something called a “dumb slice.” In this solution, the network operator will offer the underlying resources, like VNF and a slice management automation suite. The consumer will be responsible for managing that slice themselves. This may allow the BSS of a telco to cater to a wide variety of consumers, instead of becoming limited by the specific slices they have designed.
IoT and the Fourth Industrial Revolution
Since it’s expected to disrupt the internet provision by fiber cable, 5G might be the key to the successful deployment of IoT. This means dealing with a wider variety of connected objects, each of which handles data differently. With it come many BSS challenges, like how do you offer a subscription service for a completely automated kitchen that includes several interconnected devices but uses a tiny amount of data, and instead depends more on the latency of data.
Similarly, the complete integration of artificial intelligence into the industry and next-gen automation will also require products that are completely different from what the telcos are used to offering right now. And not only products themselves, but the order management will also be different, and the revenue generation will be tackled differently.
But perhaps the most important changes that network operators will be making to their existing BSS will focus on how fast they can create and deploy different products to different consumers. Fleet management, drone operations, traffic safety, smart supply chains, remote plants, self-driving cars, medical sensors, retail stores, and a plethora of other different things will require different 5G services.
5G is forcing BSS of telcos and operators to evolve at a much faster pace. This is also in-line with the data handling changes that are already taking place: Migrating from in-house servers to cloud (public or private). A smart move for a telco would be to take some of the things off its plate and focus on their goals and competitive advantages. The inevitable changes that are needed for 5G services can be outsourced to professional companies that specialize in OSS, BSS, and are more agile than telcos and operators as well as more future-driven.