5 Ways Software Will Power the Next Great Era of Telecom

Global telecoms are racing to answer a $2 trillion dollar question–what will tip the scales for CSPs to help them claim market share in the years ahead? 

The opportunities are clear. New research shows the global telecom market value reaching close to $3 trillion by 20301. 5G connections will number 2 billion by 2025, with the U.S. and China leading the way2 .This is no secret–over the past decade telecoms have invested billions in developing networks. However, the supporting software, notably business operations orchestration and network provisioning (BSS and OSS) hasn’t kept pace–limiting the experience potential of these pivotal network transformations. 

Streamlining operations, offering new products and services, and enhancing end-customer experiences are all opportunities for CSPs to win new customers, retain existing ones, and diversify their offerings. Modernizing the telecom software infrastructure–call it the final thirty percent of digital transformation–will be the battleground. 

Here are 5 ways software will provide a competitive advantage in the months and years ahead:

Greater flexibility and efficiency 

The lack of flexibility in traditional software creates rigid tech silos, meaning that every network or business system improvement—big or small—requires a complete stack overhaul. Not only is this inefficient but it also ties CSPs to monolith systems. 

A McKinsey analysis, A Blueprint for Telecom’s Critical Reinvention stated that, "With evolutions in open source and cloud, a reimagined stack is affordable, easy to maintain, and can accommodate quick changes. This approach has enabled an APAC operator to reduce capital expenditure by 80 percent and a European operator to increase IT velocity—the time it takes to go from feature definition to release—by up to ten times."

As clear as the opportunities appear for telecoms, so is the path to get there–modern, flexible cloud-based software.

Enabling better experiences

The latest NPS scores for B2B industries rank Communications & Media, and Internet Software & Services second-to-last and last, respectively. Customers are seeking better services–like increased reliability, consolidated billing, one-point customer service, and personalized plans.

Look no further than the healthcare and insurance industries as examples of how modern software platforms are creating better experiences and increasing satisfaction. These systems have adopted a total experience (TX) framework–connecting user experience, customer experience, employee experience and multiplatform experiences. The strategy ensures that every audience’s needs are met, and with interconnected, easy-to-use interfaces. 

Faster speed to market

One of the biggest barriers to releasing new products and features quickly and on pace with demand is inefficient orchestration and integration between business systems. Legacy software is built on old foundations, creating disconnected systems that are wildly inefficient in how they pass data back and forth. This drastically impacts launch times.

Modern software utilizes a modular, event-based architecture that dramatically improves time-to-market for integrations between systems, facilitating the steps toward a seamless total experience. Adding and modifying products, offers, promotions and discounts, and launching new products can happen in hours and days, instead of months.

Increased system reliability and scale

Complicated network provisioning is one of the most acute pains in telecom, both for providers and customers. It’s one of the main reasons why customers experience outages and increased costs, and why CSPs have trouble launching new features and growing market share across networks. 

By operating from an event-based architecture and the software that supports it, the result is a more streamlined system of provisioning. (One effect, for example, is that systems are no longer taxed with unnecessary bandwidth consumption.) More streamlined network provisioning offers greater reliability, even during peak demand, and the ability for telecoms to scale as quickly as they can capture new markets.

Making room for innovation

New technologies like IoT, AR & VR, and voice-activated services and experiences carry great promise, high consumer expectations, and big challenges for CSPs both in how their business operations are orchestrated to offer these experiences, and how well the networks are equipped to provide them.

Better BSS and OSS holds the key to how these opportunities for innovation are realized. Simply put, better business orchestration and more efficient network provisioning means less time and resources spent on the management of disparate systems–reducing expenditure, and freeing budgets and workforces to build and test new products and services.

Today's telecom operators are just scratching the surface of an underutilized infrastructure, delivering on a fraction of their network potential. Maximizing customer experience, increasing speed-to-market and enhancing network value–this will inevitably be the next frontier of telco competition. 

While the lion’s share of investment has been in the networks over the past decade, telecom software has failed to keep pace. It’s time for a fresh start with a fundamental transformation of telecom software so that CSPs can deliver on their promises, and rising customer expectations.


1. Precedence Research, May 2022 

2. GSMA, 2022

The editorial staff had no role in this post's creation.