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Key themes at MWC and the role of Digital BSS

By January 9, 2019 No Comments

Each year the GSMA comes up with a theme for MWC. These are usually high level and cynics would say meaningless. In recent years we’ve gone from the touchy, feely ‘mobile is everything’ to the sci-fi inspired ‘mobile – the next element’. This year the theme is Intelligent Connectivity. It’s not too bad and given all the 5G activity that we’ll see in 2019, it makes perfect sense.

Not content with having just the one theme for the conference, the GSMA have gone one step further and listed seven sub themes. As Openet will be showcasing their Digital BSS solutions at MWC I taken each of the themes and looked at how Digital BSS can help turn these themes into commercial reality.


GSMA’s theme: 5G will create speed and flexibility to allow for far greater services and performance with higher reliability.

Why Digital BSS: Policy control function (PCF) will be needed to ensure QoS and manage latency on a network slice basis. The initial 5G use cases will be FWA (fixed wireless access) and eMBB (enhanced mobile broadband), but any 5G policy control system that is bought in 2019 must be able to manage latency requirements for advanced 5G use cases – including AR / VR, autonomous vehicles and (the  always quoted 5G use case) remote surgery.


GSMA’s theme: With a market projected to reach $70 billion by 2020, artificial intelligence is poised to have a transformative effect on consumers, enterprises, and governments around the world.

Why Digital BSS: AI and its quieter elder sibling, machine learning, are making in-roads into BSS. Customer experience management and network assurance and the ability for network capacity to intelligently scale up and down has been discussed for several years. Next up is the use of AI in CRM and real-time context aware marketing and communications.

Industry 4.0

GSMA’s theme: Industry 4.0 analyses the implementation and wider impact of the confluence of IoT, cyber physical systems, cloud and cognitive computing that constitutes Industry 4.0.

Why Digital BSS: New industry models will need monetisation and management models. We’re already seeing cloud based digital BSS being rolled out in non telco segments to provide the monetisation backbone for many new digital services. This can range from managing simple subscription based consumer models, to complex SLA driven enterprise monetisation models with a wide range of pricing variables that need to be managed.

Immersive Content

GSMA’s theme: Immersive Content examines the challenges, revenue models and the relationship between consumption and network capacity.

Why Digital BSS: Charging systems must be able to quickly support new revenue models (e.g. pricing based on type of new AR game – not data) and business models (e.g. advertising supported models for, say, sports events). BSS needs to be able to charge for any type of event using any criteria. The days of pricing per MB or GB won’t really work when service providers are looking for charging for content services.

Disruptive Innovation

GSMA’s theme: Disruptive innovation is woven into every aspect of the event as the speed of innovation and its diffusion continues to accelerate.

Why Digital BSS: How services are priced, monetised and delivered is changing. Digital BSS needs to enable these changes and not be a hindrance. The excuse of delaying rolling out a new service, because ‘the billing systems needs to change and it will take 6 months’ won’t really work anymore.

Digital Wellness

GSMA’s theme: As smartphones have become pervasive, there is also a rising concern about the addictive nature of technology, as well as, connections to mental health.

Why Digital BSS: When I saw Digital Wellness I, was expecting the usual play about fitness monitors and remote heath checks. The addictive nature of smartphones and apps is a problem, with recent studies highlighting links between depression and social media. In policy systems, service providers have had the tools at their disposal to help provide a solution. It’s called Parental Controls. I wrote a paper 7 years ago on smartphones and the need for parental controls. This was based on market research surveys of over 1000 teenagers. The results back then were scary. In 2019, I’d say that the problem has only got worse. Service providers can turn this to their advantage and position trust and social responsibility as key attribute and use to sell family bundles and offers. Any service selling a family bundle should have parental controls bundled in as a free offer. It should be controlled via the service providers’ app – which also help overcome another problem – getting customers to use the service provider’s app.

Digital Trust

GSMA’s theme: Recent scandals have eroded trust in the digital ecosystem. Digital trust analyses the responsibilities to create the right balance with consumers, governments and regulators.

Why Digital BSS: Openet ran a survey in 2018 on digital trust and the opportunities for service providers. The results highlighted consumers’ views that they trust mobile service providers more than OTTs. The opportunity here is for service providers to sell more digital services to a customer base who want to buy from them. But to do this, they’ll need to upgrade their BSS that was designed to support digital services and not just plain old telco services.

Digital BSS impacts almost every facet of mobile communications. The speed at which they enable change and respond to market opportunities will make all the difference between turning these industry themes into reality (and revenue).

At MWC, Openet will be showcasing their Digital BSS solutions – including Policy Controller for 5G and real-time charging. We’ll be on stand 2F 30 in Hall 2. See you there.

Click here to find out more about Openet at MWC and arrange a meeting.