5G Monetization: How to compete with “Over-the-top”

Currently, the consumer market may be the safest bet when it comes to 5G monetization, but by nature 5G is designed to enable enterprise businesses to thrive. As new services emerge, the key question will be how to effectively explore these seemingly infinite opportunities. 5G is use case driven, which means those who can define, deploy, and adapt new offerings quickly will be the ones who capture new business opportunities. Here’s what service providers must consider now to stay a step ahead.

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Head of Digital Services at Ericsson Middle East and Africa

Head of Digital Services at Ericsson Middle East and Africa

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When it comes to seizing opportunities to monetize 5G and evolving in the value chain, communications service providers have a key decision to make: which role best addresses their ambitions for growth, based on their current business position?

Considering the new stakeholder groups emerging within the 5G/IoT business context, it is no longer only about offering solutions such as radio, core network and communication services to a consumer-focused group. In the 5G/IoT landscape  the number of stakeholder expands further to include four key types of stakeholders:

  • Enterprises and industry verticals that require solutions beyond telecoms
  • New types of suppliers such as IoT device providers and suppliers of eSIM (embedded SIM) and/or related technologies
  • Platform providers that specialize in specific IoT or edge clusters or groups of use cases such as massive and broadband IoT platforms, industrial IoT platforms and content data networks
  • Integrators that specialize in specific verticals such as asset management, mission-critical services or automotive that combine capabilities from multiple stakeholders to address consumer needs.

To cope with these huge industry shifts and reduce complexity, new business models must be explored.  At Ericsson, we see that to monetize new 5G use cases sucessfully, service providers must focus their efforts on two key areas.  The first is to focus on revenue and policy management to charge, bill and control the network usage for 5G services and new business models. Second, should be implementing customer management tools to improve the customer experience and create more opportunities for monetization.

The capacity to expose network capabilities as well as both BSS and OSS capabilities are critical for  service providers to be able to deliver on service creation beyond telecoms and enable their partners to develop tailored applications and for deployment on service providers’ infrastructure. These multiple partnerships require new supporting business models that allow flexible charging, revenue sharing and billing.

At the same time, the sheer number of connected devices in the 5G/ IoT world is a major challenge for existing BSS environments to manage. While current BSS architectures are scalable, they will be too costly for IoT use cases due to the large data footprint and processing needs of each device- scalability will be a key risk. To address this, a 5G-evolved BSS landscape must have a persistence and management model that is lightweight enough to allow many devices to use the same footprint as one traditional device. 

Let us explore this challenge by considering IoT devices that are mounted in vehicles at a factory. The factory personnel will likely want to test that the device is working before shipping the vehicle to the reseller. The reseller may then want to demonstrate the service the device provides to prospective buyers, before a consumer ultimately buys the vehicle and starts using the service. At each of these stages, the charged party and charging model may be different depending on the state of the device. Overcoming such challenges requires a BSS architecture that can provide up-to-date state information per individual device or resource as well as aggregated information for the rating, charging and billing functions.

Subscription management in 5G-evolved BSS also requires a high level of automation and solutions that reduce the processing footprint to onboard and manage devices, services and products. 

Unlike traditional BSS, 5G-evolved BSS must be able to capture and create the network charging data records (charging function). This task provides the BSS with a unique opportunity to determine which charging, balance management and aggregation functions must be performed, and this knowledge can be used to monetize the usage of the 5G network. 

5G-evolved BSS must also support the management and monetization of services that are not traditional telecom services, such as those for the IoT platform or application hosting at the edge. In the past, BSS platforms have traditionally relied on a well-defined set of parameters provided through standardized protocols, but this approach will not be sufficient when entering the non-telecoms service arena. 

In conclusion, to monetize on non-telecom services, 5G-evolved BSS must have the flexibility to use previously unknown identifiers and parameters, especially in charging and billing systems.

To discuss this topic further, TM Forum and Ericsson, along with Saudi Telecom, will explore service provider roles in future 5G ecosystems in a webinar on June 16 at 1pm GMT, titled: 5G Monetization: a roadmap for uncertain times.

During the session, the role of service providers and the need for designing a market-responsive BSS will be discussed. The webinar will also feature a live Q&A session – we hope you can join us!

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