The early 2000s (when I first started out in, and fell in love with, the OSS industry) saw many Tier-1 telcos make large OSS and BSS transformation investments. Prior to that, they’d largely run their operations from NMS level and/or using home-grown systems. Since there weren’t many existing OSS to unseat, these projects were mostly greenfields transformations, where monolithic OSS solutions could be built on top of existing EMS / NMS.
During this period of the late 90s to early 2000s, we also saw the rise of many OSS suppliers to service this market need.
Twenty years on, most T1 OSS estates now mostly comprise a patch-work of vendors, products and highly enmeshed integrations. The transformation complexity tends to be much higher now. Not only that, but T1 telcos will generally only replace the small parts of the quilt that are underperforming rather than wholesale replacement of the entire thing. This makes it nearly impossible for wide-scale / monolithic transformation like in the old days.
However, there is one sector of the market that is showing a few similarities with the early 2000s.
I’m now seeing more of what I’ll refer to as the “Super-ISPs.” They tended to start as small ISPs (often in garages) a few decades ago, but have steadily grown – organically and by acquisition (M&A) – and now often have a million subscribers or more.
The M&A cycles have meant that the original home-grown OSS/BSS solutions within one ISP can’t cover the entire estate of all ISPs that have been consolidated under the Super-ISP’s umbrella. Each was developed to fit the initial ISP like a glove and steadily evolve along the way. However, these initial systems typically can’t be easily refactored to cope with the needs of all acquired companies and larger service sets.
This gives rise, like early 2000s T1s, for widespread off-the-shelf solutions to service a wider range of needs, configurations and flexibility. To build new broad-brush OSS/BSS on top of existing EMS/NMS (and some homegrown solutions).
But as we mentioned in the previous article, “Similarities and differences between airlines and telco industries
,” the big OSS/BSS suppliers that service the T1s aren’t always fit-for-purpose for super-ISPs. It’s a market that seems ripe for mid-market OSS/BSS suppliers to service, not as niche functional blocks like they tend to do today, but as a whole-quilt solution again.
If you don’t have all the building blocks to provide a whole quilt of OSS/BSS functionality but would like to acquire or partner, leave us a note and we’d be happy to suggest some great suppliers that you could discuss partnerships with.