The role of BSS in the journey to 5G monetization

The rollout of commercial 5G services is well underway. This evolution is unlocking exciting new opportunities, but it also presents new challenges. To capture new 5G revenue streams, service providers must transform their existing business support systems (BSS), and develop clear roadmaps to guide this transformation. In the latest MIT Insights report, telecom executives share their vision for 5G-enabled BSS, and how they are preparing for it. Here, we explore some of the highlights.

Engineer working doing network management and network optimization

Marketing Manager, BSS portfolio

Marketing Manager, BSS portfolio

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The benefits of 5G are well-documented. Low-latency connectivity and superior broadband speeds will open doors to fully automated factories and put driverless vehicles on our roads. Service providers will be able to provide cutting-edge solutions and superior consumer experiences. However, monetizing a 5G-fuelled IoT society requires a clear strategic roadmap – particularly when it comes to BSS. As 5G matures, BSS will play an increasingly important role in establishing the service provider’s position in the value chain – and having a clear BSS evolution plan is crucial.

The latest MIT Review Insights report – The 5G operator: platforms, partnerships and a new era of cloud-driven agility – shares critical insights for 5G operators who are considering a step-by-step approach to BSS evolution. In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the key findings that service providers should consider. 


What does 5G-enabled BSS look like, in a nutshell?

Being use-case driven, 5G will require service providers to be able to quickly define, deploy, and adapt new offerings to capture new business opportunities.


The impact of IoT and zero-touch automation on BSS

Research outlined in the report predicts 38.6 billion devices will be IoT-enabled by 2025, and 50 billion by 2030. Experts anticipate that helping enterprises develop and manage these IoT networks will be a crucial role for service providers. Unsurprisingly, zero-touch automation will be key to securing the service provider’s role in this value chain – allowing service providers to innovate effectively at scale and remove bottlenecks from the carrier-partner relationship.

To become a strong innovation partner, leading operators such as Verizon are creating  marketplaces where they can work with third parties to plug-and-play new services that can quickly be scaled up and down. They see new technological capabilities in BSS platforms, particularly blockchain and automation, as enabling this zero-touch partnering.

The report quotes Shankar Arumugavelu, Chief Information Officer, Verizon US, who believes BSS capabilities will be deployed in agile “building blocks”, with customers choosing to “plug-and-play” different components to create their own service platforms. This will require a few critical things in the BSS stack.  

“Number one would be the creation of a partnership marketplace to support zero-touch partnering capabilities,” Arumugavelu explains.  


Cloud migration is a key goal for 5G-enabled BSS

Moving network capabilities to the cloud is an important strategy for service providers to make the necessary improvements in network performance and become an effective innovation partner.

As Pedro Uria-Recio, Group Head of Analytics and Artificial Intelligence at Axiata explains in the report: “Having the network in the cloud is important because it facilitates machine learning and AI, such as forecasting peak utilization, resource utilization, and optimizing and fine-tuning the network capacity parameters for capacity expansion, such as predicting when congestion is going to happen, or to eliminate coverage holes.” 

As service providers move toward 5G, they will need to develop market-responsive BSS to be able to offer these agile, cloud-based technologies to a wide ecosystem of digital partners. This will create compelling new opportunities for service providers, and as a result cloud technology is certainly at the top of the agenda for network operators in their preparation for 5G.


The demand for network slicing has major implications for BSS

The majority of executives interviewed for the report consider network slicing to be an important enabler for monetizing 5G, as it allows service providers to deliver unique and efficient service customization and flexible on-demand service catalogs. To manage network slices effectively, enterprise customers will need to be able self-configure the network allocation through a digital experience front-end integrated with network orchestration – improving the overall performance and the end user experience.

“A 5G network gives you many more currencies to play with and a wide range of opportunities for customization,” says Srinivasa (Srini) Kalapala, Vice President of Technology Strategy at Verizon.

“That’s part of the anticipation: the network can do lot more, and not everybody needs that lot more,” he explains.

Kalapala sees network slicing as fundamental to meeting these expectations. To manage network slices effectively and at scale, he expects enterprise customers will self-manage the network allocation and capabilities through policies, dashboards, or other BSS services, while the carrier manages the overall experience across the network.


Want to know more?

Download a copy of the MIT Review Insights report for the full findings.  



Read the AnalysysMason white paper what they say about 5G monetization: Is your BSS equipped to effectively monetize 5G? 

 Read more about Telecom BSS




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