Why Service Activation is Key to LTE Success

The Long Term Evolution (LTE) market continues to grow rapidly. Analyst IHS iSuppli is predicting that the number of LTE users worldwide will hit 198.1 million in 2013 before surging to 1 billion users in 2016.

As wireless operators battle for competitive advantage in an increasingly crowded telecoms marketplace, LTE is becoming ever more important. This is not least because it gives operators the opportunity to gain an edge over their rivals through rolling out innovative subscriber services including quad-play bundled services, comprising TV, phone, Internet and mobile.    

As competition, consolidation and convergence change the market place, efficiently managing the service development lifecycle of next-generation solutions is becoming more important. So, service providers are banking on the service bundle, to retain customers and take a bigger share of their spending on telecoms services.

To achieve this, operators need a successful roll-out of LTE technology. This in turn is dependent on operational support systems (OSS) that can effectively manage service entitlements. Service activation systems are becoming especially vital to ambitious operators, as recognition grows of the role they play in supporting faster service innovation and easier integration of new technologies.

Key to Profitability

An effective activation system is can be key to an operator’s profitability. Activation systems are involved in providing every service to every subscriber - voice, data, content, information or messaging. Also, the volume of activation transactions handled by operators is huge - and growing all the time.

At the same time, these systems need to support many new network technologies and increasingly complex activation processes, as more data and content services are introduced. Any shortcoming is highly visible, impacting revenues and customer retention. Today, many operators still have activation systems that need replacing. The effort involved in managing and updating them to meet emerging requirements has driven total cost of ownership beyond sustainable levels.

That’s why scalability, flexibility and reliability are the three key qualities that next generation service activation solutions need to deliver. More specifically, they need to be able to increase business agility to introduce, manage and withdraw services while reducing customer churn by lowering activation errors.

At the same time, cost control is key. The best solutions need to reduce total cost of ownership for activation through a roadmap and benchmarked performance, while lowering the risk and cost of integrating to network elements and business systems.  They must also offer a complete solution for the whole service development lifecycle.  In addition to pure service activation, they need to deliver three key business capabilities for operators: service assembly, service verification and service delivery integration.

A model-driven approach to service assembly will reduce time to market for new services. Efficient and effective service verification will increase customer satisfaction while delivering improving utilisation and data quality of resources. The final element, service delivery integration, ideally needs to reduce integration cost and risk while increasing business agility both through extensive pre-integration and standards-based integration.      

Delivering Benefits

Today, the best service activation systems allow operators to meet the needs of increasingly sophisticated customers for complex solution bundles, often incorporating multiple services and tariffs so characteristic of the new world of LTE, together with real-time activation demanded by Internet-savvy users wanting instant fulfillment.  And we are now seeing operators increasingly turning to technology vendor partners who have the necessary expertise to shorten their time to market and lower their cost of ownership while at the same time enabling them to provide the highest possible levels of quality and availability.   

As we have seen, LTE implementations are taking off but for operators it is high-quality service activation systems that are really making them fly.


Thad Dupper is chairman and CEO of Evolving Systems based in the USA

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