BSS/OSS And Telecommunications Markets in Asia-Pacific

In my career in telecommunications I have worked across Europe, and throughout the Asia-Pacific region. I’ve also spent most of my life in the Asia-Pacific region, and used telecommunications services across various countries. My experience has shown me that telecommunications providers, vendors and professionals need to have a markedly different attitude towards this region. Europe is a considerably more homogeneous region than Asia-Pacific. The OSS and BSS solutions that I was involved in within Europe were remarkably similar in their approach (if not their functionality), whereas the solutions that I worked on in the Asia-Pacific region were radically different in their approach to delivering what was often the same functionality. There really isn’t “a telecommunications market” in the Asia-Pacific region, there are many divergent markets. In my opinion these markets are probably the most diverse of any (so-called) region. This is because the Asia-Pacific region itself is quite divergent in general and especially when it comes to the state of telecommunications.  Consider the following facts about Asia-Pacific:

  • It contains both developing and developed nations. Within the developed nations category it includes nations that have always been in that category (e.g. Australia and New Zealand) and nations that have moved into that category in more recent times (e.g. South Korea).
  • Asia-Pacific includes both the largest (China, India, Indonesia) and smallest nations (Nuie, Nauru) in the world.
  • It includes areas and nations with the world’s highest population density (Macau, Singapore) and the lowest (Australia, numerous Pacific islands).
  • The Asia-Pacific region also has a fairly wide spread of national per capita incomes (GDP) with Australia and Singapore near the top end, and Timor-Leste and Nepal near the bottom.
  • It has an enormous disparity in internet and mobile penetration. According to (admittedly old figures) the ITU internet penetration ranges from below 1% in some Asia-Pacific nations, to above 65% in others; and, mobile penetration ranges from below 1% in some nations to 90% or more (currently New Zealand and Australia both have over 100% mobile penetration rates).

These facts (among others) mean that service providers and telecommunications vendors cannot apply the same strategies, approaches and tactics across the region. In particular I believe that OSS and BSS solutions in these different markets need to emphasise quite different technical qualities in order to succeed in these different markets.

  • OSS and BSS solutions in the developed, rich countries (e.g. Australia, New Zealand and Singapore) need to be much more concerned with system qualities such as reliability, accuracy and agility because the customers in these markets have more money and demand higher quality services, while competitive differentiation is often based on getting new products to market quickly.
  • In developing countries, with poorer populations, customers demand low-cost services (and therefore are often willing to settle for lower quality of service) and therefore the most important quality of a OSS or BSS solution is its unit cost (not necessarily its total cost).
  • Those markets with well-developed infrastructure will be more interested in convergent or multi-play capable solutions, than those (such as India) which are dominated by single service (mainly mobile) providers.
  • Countries with enormous populations like China and India require OSS and BSS systems where capacity is the quality of prime importance just to handle the sheer number of subscribers.
  • India needs solutions that are extremely scalable as well given the velocity of the increase in (specifically mobile) subscribers: according to the ITU India added 20 million new mobile subscribers in February 2011. Can your BSS or OSS solution scale that rapidly? Are you including that rate of growth in your thinking?
  • Countries with dense populations need solutions that manage and allocate resources in different ways to solutions for countries or areas with low density populations.

So, when you think about the Asia-Pacific region don’t think in generalities. One size fits all may work well enough in Europe or North America, but it won’t work in Asia-Pacific. BSS and OSS vendors and professionals need to tailor their thinking, their solutions, their offerings and their approaches to the specific situations for each country, even when trying to solve the same business problems.

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