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Untangling OSS and BSS

Tilly Michell

May 2, 2024

5 min

In this guide, we’ll explain the difference between operating support systems (OSS) and business support systems (BSS), and explore the advantages of using a telecom as a service platform rather than legacy OSS/BSS providers. 

What does OSS mean?

OSS is an umbrella term for the software mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) use to manage their operations. OSS takes care of the operational side of network connectivity. 

Services covered by OSS include:

  • Service activation and configuration: Onboarding customers and ensuring data plans are set up and activated according to their requirements.    

  • Network provisioning: Handling the allocation of resources such as network capacity and bandwidth and dynamically responding to traffic patterns and service requirements to ensure optimal performance and reliability on a network.  

  • Performance management: Collecting network performance data and analyzing network availability in order to improve the quality of the service. 

  • Network inventory: Monitoring the physical infrastructure on which networks are built to ensure problems can be quickly identified and upgrades can be planned and executed smoothly.  

  • Fault management: Detecting and troubleshooting network issues in order to minimize service disruption and downtime. 

  • Network security: Implementing security measures to protect telecom businesses and their customers from data breaches and cyber attacks. 

What does BSS mean?

BSS is a collective term for the systems that enable the business and customer-facing side of telecom operations. 

Services covered by BSS include:

  • Order management: Activating subscriptions, processing upgrades, downgrades, and cancellations and managing promotional codes and bundles. 

  • Billing: Collecting one-time and recurring payments from users.

  • Taxes: Calculating and applying relevant taxes to users' bills.

  • Regulatory compliance: Capturing and reporting data for regulatory purposes and ensuring telecom companies adhere to industry standards, legal requirements, and licensing agreements. 

  • Customer relationship management: Engaging users with product updates and special offers, managing user accounts, and handling user requests and complaints. 

  • Customer analytics: Providing access to talk, text, and data usage along with customer conversion, renewal and churn metrics. 

What is the difference between OSS and BSS?

An easy way to remember is: OSS provides the maintenance and configuration of network infrastructure, whilst BSS enables the business side of telecom. 

If you run an MVNO, your engineers and developers will oversee the OSS whilst your business, marketing, and customer service team will oversee the BSS.  

What is the significance of OSS and BSS?

Together, OSS and BSS help MVNOs elevate their customer experience, adhere to security and compliance regulations, and enable growth.

Choosing the right OSS and BSS solution will ensure a smooth onboarding and activation experience and a reliable service for subscribers. It will also set your business up for commercial success by providing frictionless billing and subscription management, improving customer engagement, and unlocking insights that drive revenue. 

Allowing data to flow easily between OSS and BSS is critical from both a customer service and an analytics perspective. If a customer makes an update to their plan, it’s important that the BSS automatically updates the OSS. Likewise, by combining data from both OSS and BSS, it’s possible to identify correlations between things like subscription activity and user satisfaction, and to send timely customer communications based on those trends.  

Breaking the legacy silos of OSS and BSS

OSS and BSS providers have historically specialized in targeted solutions, meaning MVNOs had to work with several providers in order to build a fully functioning telecom business. A lack of standardization within the industry often led to compatibility issues which required custom solutions that cost MVNOs millions of dollars to build and maintain.

To solve this issue, modern providers developed APIs that enable the flow of data between OSS and BSS solutions. Gigs goes a step further, giving businesses the ability to manage everything, from wholesale connectivity and service activation, to billing, subscriptions, analytics and more, through a single interface.

This means that, rather than working with a series of partners and building and maintaining complex systems to fit each piece of the puzzle together, businesses can work with a single partner and reap the benefits of a fully integrated system where each element can be monitored from a single dashboard - that is the beauty of telecom as a service

By integrating OSS and BSS capabilities along with additional product offerings, telecom as a service can help MVNOs provide a seamless service to customers, whilst automating business processes and optimizing overall operations as they scale. 

The future of OSS and BSS

Telecom as a service is changing the way MVNOs launch their services, enabling new verticals - including fintechs, wearable tech, travel agencies, and more - to enter the telecom game with very little friction. It’s no longer necessary to be an expert on the complexities of OSS, BSS, tax, compliance etc. By leveraging telecom as a service, platforms can build and launch a fully optimized, modern wireless service fast. 

And emerging MVNOs are not the only ones benefiting. Telecom as a service is also giving established MVNOs the opportunity to upgrade legacy infrastructure, streamline operations, and achieve digital transformation without the massive overheads usually associated with major modernization. 

With Gigs’ telecom as a service platform, established MVNOs can pick and choose which elements of their service they want to update - whether that’s customer relationship management, billing, analytics, or all of the above - and transfer their setup over easily

As we look towards a future of even greater connectivity, where digital innovation and 5G adoption will further expand the digital economy, it’s crucial that established telecom companies use telecom as a service platforms to modernize their business operations. Meanwhile, new-joiners to the industry can leverage telecom as a service to offer beautiful, digital-first experiences to customers from day one, without spending millions of dollars or hiring dedicated in-house telecom engineers and support teams.   

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