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How OSS and BSS is shaping the present and future of the Telecom Infrastructure Industry

OSS and BSS are the key enablers for telecom infrastructure providers and operators in meeting the demands of this networked society. The role of telecommunication network/service and infrastructure providers has moved from providing mere access to being an integral part of the total offering that requires the ability to combine business, IT, and network capabilities for meeting the growing demands of society. 

Demand for personalization, seamless service usage, and the drive for diversity across communication industries and platforms, has amplified the need for efficient portfolio and telecom site management software

What is OSS?

Operations Support Systems - OSS in telecom consists of specialized software tools and are vital in helping to assess and maintain the health of telecommunications networks. They are used to deploy, analyze, monitor, and configure all the operational aspects related to telecom site management.

OSS is usually used by rollout and build teams, sales, and key account managers, property and real estate managers, network planners, service designers, operations, and engineering teams. Senior management under the CTO or COO also use or rely on OSS.

What is BSS?

Business Support Systems - BSS in telecom enables infrastructure providers in handling all the business and customer-facing aspects of telecom site management. They help in defining billing parameters, service fulfillment, revenue management, customer management, order management, product catalogues, charging, etc. Since scaling and billing are the biggest problems that towercos and telcos run into, BSS help by dealing with things like billing and customer relations, both of which are becoming increasingly important in this space.

Business Support Systems (BSS) primarily consist of order capture, customer relationship management (CRM), and customer billing.

How do OSS and BSS work together?

OSS and BSS in telecom are often used together since they are the primary points of contact to manage the whole site portfolio. Analytics, cloud computing, automated business processes,  and software-defined business rules join forces to make everything work together and ensure consistent network capacity and stable quality of service for telecom infrastructure providers and/or operators.

The relationship between OSS and BSS is simple; OSS usually pass various service orders and also supply service assurance information to the BSS. BSS focus on managing the business aspects associated with telecom site management to secure revenue and maintain quality, while also supporting many business functions, including marketing, product offerings, sales, contracting, and delivery of services. OSS and BSS include the following services:

Operation Support System (OSS)

  • Order Management
  • Site Inventory Management
  • Operations and Maintenance

Business Support System (BSS)

  • Service Fulfillment
  • Customer and Product Management
  • Contract Management
  • Billing and Revenue Management

Importance of OSS and BSS in Telecom Site Management

The ability of telecom infrastructure providers and operators to maximize their opportunities depends on having holistic views of operations and management solutions based on extensive OSS/BSS architecture. The following points highlight the role that OSS and BSS play in telecom site management software applications:

  • OSS and BSS initiate revenues (activation flows)
  • OSS and BSS retain revenues and customers (assurance flows)
  • OSS and BSS collect revenues (billing flows)
  • OSS and BSS optimize profitability (portfolio monitoring and efficacy)
  • OSS and BSS operationalize the assets

In recent years, the demand for cloud OSS/BSS has steadily risen and the industry has undergone adaptation to meet this demand for more efficient systems. This need for OSS/BSS tools is driven by factors such as:

  • Swift deployment and scalability
  • Demand for more streamlined billing systems
  • Enhancing customer experiences
  • Drive business agility
  • The onset of customized cloud digital OSS and BSS solutions

A noteworthy growth driver of this market is the increased demand and adoption of Revenue Management Systems. These billing processes include features such as pricing management, invoicing, payments, rating, and charging. Given how rapidly these cycles of business are evolving, the traditional definition of OSS/BSS is also poised to change. Repeatable business processes that deliver instant customer gratification and free up capital - compared to older CAPEX-driven OSS/BSS processes – will drive efficiency.

Current Market Trends

TowerCos are increasingly assuming the role of an end-to-end infrastructure provider by becoming a digital shared infrastructure provider in the telecom value chain. Offering customers service is about enabling the right integration between the commercial products managed by BSS and the ability of OSS to deliver certain products. Increased data consumption and the evolution of technology have provided new growth opportunities to telecom infrastructure providers and operators in terms of small cell densification and fiberization of telecom assets

Here are some key trends shaping the telecom infrastructure industry:

  • Looking at adjacent business models – fibre, small cell, data centre, Wi-Fi, IoT, etc.
  • Telcos carving out their own “captive” towercos
  • On-going towerco consolidation
  • The flow of pure sale and leaseback (SLB) transactions
  • Hybrid/Renewable energy and innovative energy storage solutions
  • Towerco management solutions for operational excellence

Tarantula's integrated tower portfolio management software utilizes the CAPP framework to integrate asset, activity, and commercial management into a single enterprise solution:

  • Contract Management: Know your rights & obligations
  • Asset Management: Know what is on and planned to be on your sites
  • Process Management: Know what is meant to happen
  • Project Management: Know what is happening

Tarantula is committed to adapting its  OSS and BSS systems to run on a service layer architecture and is engaged in ongoing efforts to achieve its vision of shifting to a more cloud-native architecture. The benefits of this model are numerous – business and workforce agility, speed to market, immense scalability/elasticity to cope with varying demands, inherent responsiveness, speed to innovate/evolve, and cost optimization.

What does the future look like?

Globally, telecom site management is progressively moving from MNOs to independent TowerCos and MNO-captive TowerCos. The presence of private equities' in sites under independent TowerCo management has more than doubled since 2011. Recognizing the changing nature of tower transactions is an essential first step in allowing both MNOs & telecom infrastructure providers and operators to stay ahead in the game by serving customers better with efficient order provisioning and self-service mechanisms. 

Leveraging and combining different players’ assets (large MNOs, local players, private equities) is going to become critical to unlocking deals. Additionally, other infrastructure growth levers, such as fiber, data centers, and small cells, are waiting to be explored. Apart from new equipment at existing macro sites, 5G will also require network evolution, including fiber backhaul, tower reinforcement, edge computing, and hyper-scale data centers, among other things. These CAPEX requirements added to network virtualization movements and topped off with regulatory push, would require an agile OSS BSS platform like Tarantula, which is ready to tackle the evolving needs of the end consumer.

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