Lightsquared goes best-of-breed in back-office choices

September 21, 2011 - Openet

Controversial wireless broadband player LightSquared, in the news mainly lately for wrangling with the GPS industry, (CP: LightSquared CEO responds to critics) has selected its billing suppliers for its wholesale platform.

Interestingly, for a company whose vision and business plan is based on innovation, it has gone with an “old fashioned” approach to choosing its vendors.

Its choices for its ‘best of breed’ approach are Evolving Systems, which will supply the provisioning and activation platform. Openet will provide real time usage and credit management, and possibly more given the company’s expertise in the policy management field. Convergys will provide the rating and billing piece.

The job of integration falls to Wipro Technologies, a global IT company boasting 150 Fortune 500 companies in many industries among its customers.

Without doubt, the companies are leaders in their respective back-office areas.

The question, though, is why the company chose to go for the best of breed plus systems integrator approach. This bucks an industry trend towards a less risky strategy of best of suite approach, which is behind some of the recent M &A activity in the market (CP: Amdocs picks up policy piece with Bridgewater acquisition).

According to Mahmood Mirza, vice president, client operations for LightSquared, “We moved away from the single vendor ‘best of suite’ approach to a multi-vendor ‘best of breed’ approach to get the best solution set for building our wholesale platform.”

Importantly, it seems that the business requirements and the ‘unknown’ future were part of the equation.

“We wanted as much of our known business requirements as well as some degree of ‘future proof’ from our selected products to avoid heavy customization,” said Mirza.

“Although the latter may require more effort initially to configure and deploy, you reap the rewards for many years.” Mirza continued, “we wanted to get one of the top products in each of the respective domains and then ‘stitch’ these together to form a state of the art wholesale platform to provide the most flexibility and better service to our partners.”

In a counter-intuitive and possibly painful move, it may be that LightSquared has a shot at the Holy Grail of BSS selection – getting what it wants, not what it asked for.


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