Few legacy BSS systems are capable of withstanding the increase in complexity and transactions per second that shared data brings. This leaves the operator with 2 choices, decide not to deploy any kind of sharing functionality or invest in BSS capable of supporting shared data or multi device plans. With each passing quarter the case for launching shared data becomes more and more clear cut. Take AT&T’s most recent quarterly results. Their Mobile Share shared data plans, now represent more than 41 million connections, with the number of Mobile Share accounts more than tripling year-over-year to reach 14.6 million, with an average of about three devices per account. 49% of Mobile Share accounts had 10 GB or larger data plans, up from 25% in Q2 2013. Mobile Share has helped drive year on year increase of 20% in wireless data billings.
The correlation is an increase of customers on shared data plans means an increase in corresponding revenue. More everything is the name of their proposition, meaning more Voice, SMS and data for the consumer but also more money for the operator!
While bucket sharing seems like a simple concept, it is often the case that what appears simple from the outside is actually quite complex under the covers. The fundamental complexity involved in bucket sharing exposes real weaknesses in legacy processes and systems. These systems were designed for very different business models; i.e. those that never accounted for multiple users or devices accessing a shared pool of services. So how does one get this particularly stubborn revenue generating bovine to the data ARPU milking parlour? Implementation options are endless but we feel there are three main avenues to delivering shared data propositions to your consumers:
- Upgrade your existing convergent charging system to handle the increased complexity involved with Shared Data
- Add Balance Management capability to the PCRF to manage counters, balances and hierarchies
- Deploy Shared Data using an adjunct solution consisting of Balance, Offer and Profile Management which integrates into existing PCC functionality in order to improve time to market