April 2, 2020

Next-Gen BSS Required to Differentiate the 5G Consumer Experience

Network capabilities will be perhaps the most salient part of 5G, but BSS will ultimately be what helps define the consumer experience moving forward.

The telecom industry has spent a great deal of time discussing the more advanced capabilities of 5G as a platform for B2B engagements, but how will these advancements be used in consumer markets?

The first wave of 5G consumer revenues will likely come from 5G-enabled smartphones and tablets bundled with a 5G data plan, similar to existing LTE device bundles. This would include ultra-high-definition video streaming formats (4K/8K) and super-fast internet connections for OTT apps such as social media and gaming.

Beyond this, operators will be able to introduce potentially lucrative applications surrounding immersive media. This includes advanced virtual reality (VR) entertainment applications, 3D-video movies, augmented reality (AR), 360-degree video and eSports.[AK1] . The high bandwidth connections provided over 5G RAN, along with the ability to lower latency to milliseconds, and edge computing bringing processing power closer to the end user means that immersive media can finally thrive.

Many of these applications already had false starts in the home entertainment setting where fixed broadband connections and nascent technology could not provide the expected user experience, but in the last year, companies such as Oculus, Sony and Samsung have seen a boost in sales for devices enabling these applications. So while consumer expectations for this second wave of 5G services are still a mixed bag, there is potential for a boom market beyond standard smartphone connectivity.

What does this mean for CSP operations and business?

The first wave of 5G sales will occur simultaneously with network rollouts, so a huge influx of new subscribers could make things difficult for a 5G operator. In the race to be the first to offer 5G, there are limitations on what the newly available networks will be able to do at scale. However, the second wave of 5G applications has the potential to snowball in popularity, adding millions of subscriptions specifically for immersive media.

Onboarding digital service subscribers isn’t new for CSPs. the implications for the BSS are more of a concern than network resiliency. It is likely that operators will be in a value chain relationship with content providers, tech collaborators and other partners, so the ability to manage this in an automated fashion at the front end of the business with open, standardized APIs is essential. The BSS must be able to dynamically bill for the services provided, deliver an omnichannel customer experience through online self-service and automate workflows through the order manager and OSS to provide network activations or changes in real time. It must also be able to provide analytics feedback to the whole operational and business system to self-optimize processes and functions.

The consumer expectation of 5G is partly in the actual capabilities of the network technology itself, but the operator’s BSS must also move forward to help differentiate the customer experience.

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