The Evolution to 5G Brings New BSS Requirements

Traditional service providers won’t survive in a 5G world unless they change what’s worked for them in the past.

The demand for ubiquitous connectivity has driven wireless service providers to take drastic action around IT transformation in order to meet their customers’ ever-changing needs and always-on expectations. 5G networks promise lightning-fast network capacity with the potential to displace other service delivery methods. 5G networks will drive new opportunities for services, forcing traditional providers to embrace the transformational challenges needed to support emerging revenue streams well in advance of their actual launch.

While the new 5G “killer app” has not yet been defined, mobile operators will likely treat the network itself as a new revenue resource, offering Network-as-a-Service (NaaS) solutions based on speed, quality-of-service (QoS) and value for both B2B and B2C segments.

BSS at the Core of New 5G Service Revenue

Mobile operators must be ready to transform their BSS if they are to rate and bill for a new wave of services and support whatever 5G business models are thrown their way. In fact, analyst firm Ovum expects spending on revenue management-related BSS to grow from $8.2 billion in 2017 to $10.6 billion in 2020, a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 5.2 percent. Growth in revenue management and analytics revenues will drive overall growth in the BSS domain.

5G wireless networks promise higher data rates, enhanced end-user quality-of-experience (QoE), reduced end-to-end latency and lower energy usage. One of the key catalysts for 5G infrastructure will be the growing ecosystem of connected things around the end user, which will produce and consume massive amounts of insightful data in a highly efficient manner.

One example of using a 5G revenue-generating service could be a water company in a drought-stricken region that leverages wireless sensors located around its supply area to maximize water resources. The company would receive guaranteed network capacity from an operator to ensure each sensor remains wirelessly connected to a central management system. Through periodic data gathering or via on-demand updates, the utility would gain valuable insight into current reservoir levels, help discover or prevent water main breaks as well as link to smart meters to compare actual consumption with projections. In this case, each download would be a billable event for the operator, and the water company would reduce costs by not having to invest in massive infrastructure repairs. 

Another example is a mobile operator partnering with a sports media company to provide 4K-quality streaming of sporting events. In this case, the streamed event would be given dedicated bandwidth and billed based on a flat rate or by duration. Any delivery issues would trigger QoS discounts as part of the BSS policy management and ensure the billing system creates proper rates and bills for the transactions accordingly. 

Potential revenue streams like wireless sensors and 4K streaming demonstrate the importance of rating and billing flexibility for mobile operators in order to make 5G services viable and profitable. 5G creates an opportunity to move mission-critical services from wireline to wireless networks and serves as a wake-up call for mobile operators to assess and evaluate BSS readiness.

Any operator that does not optimize its BSS will likely miss out on significant revenue opportunities enabled through innovative 5G technology.