In the last couple of days I’ve been reading about an event that will, according to one publication, ‘send shivers down the spine of telecoms executives’ and was reported by CBS Moneywatch with the headline ‘Mobile industry starts turning upside down’. This is not Armageddon or a plague but a recent report from Ovum forecasting that global mobile service revenues will actually decline by 1 per cent between 2017 and 2018. Needless to say this report got a fair amount of news coverage, some of which would have people looking for the nearest lifeboat.
The figures that Ovum predicted were that global connections will grow by a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of less than 4 per cent between 2012 and 2018 and that global revenues will grow at about half this rate. But, the real figure that got the headline writers in a lather was the forecast 1 per cent decline in service revenues between 2017 and 2018.
Anyone who works in the industry is only too aware of the changes are afoot and the industry is evolving at a rapid pace. So, what’s the key for survival and (for the optimists among us) growth? Well according to Ovum ‘innovation in services, tariffs, business models, network operations, and partnerships will be key revenue-generating strategies over the next five years’.
Four out of the five of the strategies listed here are very much dependent on charging and billing. Getting new innovative services built and quickly out the door needs flexible charging and billing, which is becoming more than just revenue collection – it’s moving to the central point of revenue enablement. More and more mobile offers need charging and billing (and increasingly policy) to make them work and new examples seem to be launched on an almost daily basis. For example, application service passes (e.g. social media passes) are helping drive data usage, shared data plans are very much the order of the day and personalized upsells are enabled and driven by intelligence from real-time charging.
As the mobile industry increases levels of innovation in offer development and marketing, BSS is now working harder than ever and are no longer just back office systems for only collecting money. Maybe this is why, as the mobile market starts to level out, the BSS market is still growing. At the Informa Next Gen BSS conference in London recently, Peter Dykes, senior analyst with Informa presented the growth forecasts for BSS. These show BSS revenues of US$30,643M in 2013 rising up to US$42,785M in 2017, giving a CAGR of 6.9 per cent. BSS is growing because it’s driving innovation, and that’s exactly what operators need right now.