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Oracle gears up for telecoms biz

Software giant broadens its portfolio with software aimed at helping operators reduce their IT expenditure.
Written by Jeanne Lim, Contributor

SINGAPORE--With a string of recently-concluded acquisitions under its belt, Oracle is ready to conquer the telecoms applications and infrastructure software space, said the company's top communications executive.

At a press briefing here Wednesday, Lars Wahlström, Oracle's vice president of telecom, media and utilities division, said the company will be offering telecoms service providers a carrier-grade framework, an updated service delivery platform, as well as a BSS/OSS (business support system/operational support system) software suite.

The product portfolio is a culmination of acquisitions Oracle made in the past year, which included the purchase of real-time data management software provider TimesTen last June, CRM (customer relationship management) vendor Siebel, and IP telephony infrastructure software vendor HotSip. Oracle's latest buys are billing products developer Portal, and telecoms application development vendor Net4Call.

Wahlström said: "[The acquisitions] help us drive next-generation data center-centric architecture [in the telecoms space]. We're looking at helping telecoms operators cut [their] IT spend in half."

Specifically, he said, Oracle hopes to help these service providers meet operational challenges such as developing and deploying services that include Internet Protocol (IP) TV, video-on-demand, maximizing customer value, deploying new service-oriented architectures (SOA), and driving cost savings through options such as outsourcing and shared services.

These challenges are a result of industry trends currently shaping the telecoms industry, he noted. These market movements include the need for convergent services such as voice-over-IP, the need to reduce customer churn and maximize average revenue per user (ARPU), the move to next-generation IP networks, and the increasing number of mergers and acquisitions, he explained.

Oracle will help customers address these challenges in three main forms, Wahlström said.

First, the Oracle Carrier Grade Framework is a modular, standards-based data management infrastructure which combines Oracle Database 10g, Oracle Fusion Middleware and Oracle TimesTen In-Memory Database. The product is aimed at helping telecoms operators replace proprietary communications equipment.

Second, Oracle has created its first packaged BSS software suite for telecoms operators, which includes a billing and revenue management system, financials and a CRM tool for large communications call centers. Parts of the BSS suite was developed from technology inherited from the Siebel and Portal acquisitions.

Third, the Oracle IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS)/Service Delivery Platform (SDP), built on Oracle Fusion Middleware, will enable operators to offer services over converged IP networks, develop new services and integrate existing systems using SOA.

According to a May report by analyst Forrester Research, Oracle has an inroad--in selling its SDP and billing offerings--to service providers that are already using the vendor's database and middleware products.

However, the report stated, Oracle "must deal with SDP competition from the likes of BEA System, Microsoft and IBM, as well as competition from developers of billing systems such as Amdocs and Convergys".

In Asia, companies such as China Telecom and Korea's mobile telecoms operator KTF, are users of Oracle applications.

According to Oracle, China Telecom is developing an SOA-based information service platform for small and midsize businesses using Oracle Database and Oracle Fusion Middleware, while KTF is looking to improve its customer service platform using Oracle Application Server 10g.

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