APAC telcos revamping support systems for agility

Asia-Pacific communications service providers transforming their operational support systems to support more complex services and lower capital expenditure, notes Amdoc exec.

Communications service providers (CSPs) in the Asia-Pacific region are leading the world in transforming their operational support systems (OSS), as they look to cut capital expenditure (Capex) and replace legacy equipment that is hindering them from offering more complex, lucrative services.

Erwann Thomassain, marketing director at Amdocs Asia-Pacific, highlighted three reasons why telcos in the region are intent on revamping their OSS, noting that financial considerations, consumers' behavioral changes and technical issues are driving the momentum.

Elaborating, he told ZDNet Asia in a phone interview Thursday that from financial and technical standpoints, service providers' existing support systems were architected to support services such as voice and short message service (SMS) for prepaid customers.

However, with the average revenue per user (ARPU) for these services declining, providers now need to introduce more complex, higher margin services, such as post-paid data plans, which are not possible without changing their OSS, he added.

These issues are compounded by a consumer base that is evolving in their use of mobile services.

Thomassain said: "In Asia, the majority of mobile users are young and quick adopters of technology. They don't care whether access to their favorite online services is provided by traditional telcos like [Singapore operators] SingTel and StarHub, or by over-the-top service providers such as Facebook and Google." This underscores the need for CSPs to be quick to introduce new services and establish first-mover advantage, the executive noted.

Additionally, improved support systems will give telcos better insights, not just to the networking IT department but also to other business units, he said. For example, the marketing team will know how consumers use the network, in terms of the kind of services consumed and at what times of the day, to push specific products and pitches to targeted demographics, he explained.

Asia "most advanced"
Thomassain was commenting on findings from an Amdocs-commissioned global survey released Wednesday that looked at factors driving OSS transformation among CSPs. IT managers and senior business executives from 33 CSPs worldwide were interviewed for the study.

In terms of plans CSPs in Asia had for their support systems and the role these systems were meant to play, the survey showed that Asia was the "most advanced". Because of the region's dynamic market landscape and competitiveness, service providers there were found to be "grappling with challenges from new network technologies such as LTE and by the requirement to improve the customer experience as competition bites", the study revealed.

Comparatively, their European counterparts were considered to be "still highly inward-looking" and focused on cost control, the report stated. These companies were not helped by the "severe" economic downturn as well as European Union regulations such as mandating lower roaming charges, for instance, which affected investment and accelerated the fall in revenues.

In North America, communications service providers were more proactive despite still recovering from the economic recession. "Indications are that unlike most of Europe, this region is taking positive steps forward…and many CSPs are now investing or preparing to invest in OSS processes in order to enable this," the Amdocs survey noted.

Some 70 percent of the CSPs interviewed had embarked on revamping their support systems between 2009 and 2011. Service providers who described themselves as "early adopters" had completed about 75 percent of the transformation process, while late-adopters typically had less than 25 percent completed, the survey indicated.


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