Why Today’s Telecom Operators Need to Become Tomorrow’s ‘Digital Service Providers’


As telecom operators look for innovative ways to monetize on their existing network infrastructure, they need to become ‘Digital Service Providers’ in order to maximise their profitability and inject innovation in their offerings.

Ian Watterson, Vice President and Managing Director of Asia Pacific for CSG International talks with Zia Askari from TelecomDrive.com about the company’s key focus areas and how it is helping operators move towards being DSPs and embrace next generation services.


What are some of the top priorities for CSG today?

Our biggest priority is to deliver the solutions that our customers need to prosper in their markets. Increasingly we see them challenged by how to compete in the digital economy, so CSG is focusing much of our attention on helping them in this area.

A key example here is the recent announcement of our new Ascendon solution, which is designed to help solve some of the biggest challenges associated with becoming a Digital Service Provider (DSP), such as time to market and how to monetize digital services, while delivering the customer experience that consumers are demanding.

How does the company look at the Indian and the SAARC market?

We view the India and the SAARC regions as one of the most exciting markets to participate in. The high growth, massive volumes and demographics of the region put innovation at the forefront. The challenges in delivering solutions that meet the cost parameters of this highly competitive market place ultimately drives us to deliver smarter solutions – something that our global customer base can benefit from as well.

Operators are finding it difficult to monetize their 3G, 4G networks – how can CSG help in this regard?

Network monetization has varying challenges over the lifecycle of the network. From the initial deployment, where so much focus is on the logistics of networks and handsets – and Business Support Solutions (BSS) can be a well needed and respected, but lower priority; to a mature network, with high subscriber penetration where the BSS needs to be the key tool for market differentiation.

The Indian market is a great example of this: CSG’s solutions have been used by leading Indian operators from start-up to maturity for many years. Without a doubt this is a reflection of our focus on delivering solutions that can be deployed quickly, can scale to support massive volumes, meet the price points of operators and yet still provide the ultimate in flexibility.

Software is gaining more importance within the telecoms segment today – how does CSG look at the upcoming trend of virtualizing applications such as OSS or BSS?

We see accelerated service development and deployment, both of which are necessary to support new Digital Service Provider (DSP) business models, to be key drivers for virtualisation. BSS/OSS solutions need to adopt standard protocols for interfacing with control planes and be re-architected to provide truly programmable processes.

Again, we need to keep in mind that when network configuration and services change dynamically, the BSS/OSS tools that manage, control, and charge for those services need to be dynamic as well. In response to the needs of the markets in this area, CSG already offers all necessary applications in a virtualised environment.

What are some of the big challenges that your product portfolio is solving for the CSPs and operators?

Our solutions are used extensively across India, SAARC, and globally to support the core transactional processes of CSPs – from mediation, interconnect, wholesale management and real-time charging through to billing and invoicing. Some of the biggest challenges operators face are the demand of evolving networks; subscriber growth; and product and pricing flexibility that they need to constantly tune to remain competitive.

Our solutions are incredibly adaptive: as networks and products – and indeed business models – change, our customers configure their CSG solutions to incorporate their changing needs. Being able to use the same solutions as the organisation evolves saves significant re-investment in siloed systems as well as reducing operational complexity and the associated asset and resource costs that brings with it.

As a further comment, it’s not just CSG’s product portfolio that is solving challenges for our customers: it’s how we deliver it. CSG is proven at offering our products via a variety of delivery mechanisms, including offering them as a managed service. We’re increasingly finding that the cost argument in favour of this option, although powerful, is further enhanced by other benefits such as time to market and innovation enablement. We manage to business-focused as well as technology-focussed SLAs, ensuring that CSPs get the business outcomes they need.

What kind of growth are you looking for? Where is this growth going to come from?

Well, we are firm believers that if our customers are successful, then we will be successful – it can’t be any other way. Specifically, we see growth in the digital economy. CSPs are at the heart of the delivery channel for this economy, and they are all asking how to generate optimum revenue from this position.

To meet the needs of this market, we recently launched our latest solution, Ascendon, at Mobile World Congress 2015. It brings together our vast experience of providing digital content monetization solutions for some of the world’s leading entertainment companies, with our award winning BSS capabilities. Ascendon offers the market a cloud-based digital commerce platform that will transform the way they manage digital interactions and expanding commercial models for digital services, including the acceleration of the launch of video, content and other digital offers.