Smaller CSPs must be agile to survive – that means a radical new BSS

Smaller CSPs must be agile to survive – that means a radical new BSS

By Caroline Gabriel, Research Director, Rethink Technology Research

In the telecoms market where consolidation is rampant, it is easy to assume that size is all that matters in the battle to survive the twin tidal waves of rising data usage and over-the-top (OTT) competition.

But smaller CSPs in Tier-3 and below can flourish, provided they create an entirely different proposition from that of the giants. As in Aesop’s fable of the lion and the mouse, even a tiny entity can carry the day if it identifies its key capabilities and plays to those.

In a global survey of CSPs in Tiers 3-5, conducted by Rethink Technology Research in spring 2016, some respondents were addressing competition by becoming more specialized. For instance, 26% were focused only on business customers, up from 21% the previous year. Many said that business users were more sensitive to quality of service (QoS) and strong customer support, and felt focused CSPs would be better positioned to offer this than an OTT provider or even a large operator.

In other words, smaller CSPs are carving out new, high-value niches by differentiating themselves in new ways, often related to strong customer knowledge and support, and overall QoS. By 2018, almost half expect QoS and customer service levels to be more important than price and speed in winning and retaining subscribers.

To be able to pursue new business opportunities, CSPs need a new level of flexibility and agility. The BSS (business support system) is a key weapon, enabling CSPs to deploy new services rapidly, and supporting important aspects of the customer experience, such as agile pricing and self-service.

Yet smaller CSPs rarely have the budget or in-house skills to embark on a ‘big bang’ BSS project, and a BSS designed for a Tier-1 operator may be overkill for their needs. Instead, they need a BSS which is both affordable and tailored for their requirements. They need a modular solution, so they can pick and choose functions to support them, and adopt new ones quickly as their needs change.

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Flexibility combined with low cost of ownership are the critical requirements of this new BSS model, according to the study. But it’s no mean feat for a BSS to offer all these features to small CSPs with limited budgets. Nevertheless, it is becoming more achievable, thanks to flexible, modular platforms with open APIs (application programming interfaces) for linking to third-party functions.

Above all, this new breed of lean, customizable BSS is made possible by the cloud, transforming the economics for both operator and vendor. Solutions like Amdocs Optima will revolutionize the capabilities of smaller CSPs and turn their plans for a diversified, differentiated business model into a reality.

Smaller CSPs must be agile to survive – that means a radical new BSS