Why getting the basics right will drive growth for CSPs

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With 1.35 billion smartphones expected to sell globally this year driven by consumer demand for better and faster devices, great pressure mounts on communications service providers (CSPs) to innovate to keep up.  With many new technologies and handsets announced at this year’s Mobile World Congress, the supporting infrastructure to enable this connected world and support the constant increase in mobile data consumption becomes ever more important.

As demand in the telecoms market increases, a huge opportunity for growth for CSPs emerges, however it appears that largely revenues and profits across Europe are beginning to plateau. 

Increasing investment in developing 4G networks is beginning to take its financial toll, as CSPs struggle to find ways to monetise the benefits driven by consumer demand for digital services.  With streaming services largely unprofitable for CSPs, bundles and tariffs are being forced into expansion as telcos use new and exciting add-ons to attract, retain and drive profits from customers. 

OTT services are key to helping CSPs remain competitive, but these services itemise the offer.  This makes the agreement more flexible for the consumer, but decreases the loyalty to the provider as consumers can simply opt in and out as it suits.  Finding ways to increase loyalty, while ensuring the CSP can profit, is crucial.

Transactional or real time billing therefore, is now becoming imperative to ensuring that CSPs can monetise the benefits of this new type of consumer relationship.  The challenge though, is ensuring the IT infrastructure of the CSP is moving in line with the direction of the market - namely, that the company is able to integrate new optimised BSS environments. 

Historical, large operation and business support system (OSS/BSS) environments with multi overlapping systems were built to be the power force driving profit for the market.  However, these rigid systems quickly turned from assets into liabilities as the need to integrate innovative and agile ways of doing business took over the market.  A drain in cost appears here too - both in maintaining legacy systems and in trying to find ways of integrating new BSS operations into old infrastructure.   

With the nature of the relationship between operators and mobile subscribers ever changing, getting the IT backbone of the operation in place will be fundamental for CSPs of all sizes this year, if they are to successfully navigate the choppy waters of new technology integration and increasing consumer demand – and drive profits.

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