Interconnect Voice OSS & BSS: So big it is its own marketplace

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The successful operating of interconnect voice is one of the myriads of complex tasks that telecommunications voice carriers find themselves confronting on a daily basis.

As if operating a complex Next Gen Network in a market with declining revenues and margins isn’t challenging enough, interconnect voice can provide real pain and present organizational impediments to growth. In response to these realities, carriers and solution providers have responded by expanding the OSS & BSS Solution domain to include, specifically, interconnect voice management. Across a wide listing of suppliers, of which we (GCS) are one, we see a fully functioning and thriving marketplace addressing the complexities unique to the interconnect voice marketplace.

The domains of interconnect voice OSS & BSS Solutions typically include:

Carrier Management
Rates, Prices & Costs
CDR Processing and Management
Routing & Rating
Quality Management
Invoicing
Credit & Revenue Assurance
Reporting & Analytics

Collectively these domains encapsulate the common functions that every carrier has to perform on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. These functions comprise the Operational and Business Support (OSS & BSS) of the interconnect voice portion of the voice services business.

Over the past 20 years, as carriers adopted next gen networking technologies they unintentionally revolutionized the interconnect voice industry. Cross Connects is now an anachronistic term. Thirty day provisioning cycles between two carriers, so voice traffic could be exchanged, is a thing that doesn’t need to exist.

While the new networking technologies were being deployed, carriers began running into unexpected challenges from an unlikely source…their OSS & BSS Systems. The “software” behind these systems (if you can call them that, some of them were email, spreadsheets, and hope & prayers) was never architected to support the capabilities that the next gen networks brought forth to the market. As a result, even though carriers were investing hundreds of millions of dollars in their next gen networks, they were limited in their ability to realize benefits on the interconnect side of the business. Eventually, carriers and software companies realized that there was a large need and the industry was born.

In the beginning there were a few players in the market:  Telarix, Amdocs and CSG. As the challenge became widespread and was finally identified as a problem across the entire voice telecommunications industry, more and more solution providers entered the marketplace.  Today, in 2018, there are well over 50 companies offering solutions to the marketplace.

GCS, entered the market in 2009.

The interconnect voice marketplace imposes a set of unique demands on the solution providers. These include:

Speed
Scale
Reliability
Breadth of functionality

The characteristics of the marketplace, decreasing revenues and margin, exponential increase in data volume, and order of magnitude in number of interconnect partners, strained carriers limited voice interconnect voice businesses. That is, the problem was further exacerbated by the marketplace dynamics.   

Automation…if not intelligent automation

The marketplace responded by delivering solutions that attempted to provide automation thereby reducing the overhead required by carriers to support this portion of their business. As a result, the interconnect OSS & BSS industry solidified its relevance and, today, is a thriving, expanding marketplace with a diverse set of companies striving and competing to create and deliver the greatest value to carriers all over the world.

The interconnect voice OSS & BSS platform market space allows carriers of all shapes and sizes to procure the solution that meets their current needs and in many cases their future needs. These solutions are proving to be as invaluable as the switches and Session Border Controllers carriers purchased over the past 5-10 years.   

In 2018, we believe the adoption cycle of interconnect voice OSS & BSS will reach the mature stage and only a small minority will be operating under a TDM network oriented solution. That will challenge the solution providers to continue to innovate to create value for carriers to ensure the long term survival of both the interconnect voice market and the interconnect voice OSS & BSS market.