The rise of the shared data plan, increasingly sophisticated bundles and sheer volume of data are driving operators to invest in convergent charging systems. This is according to a survey of operators by research house, Infonetics, who also predict that operators will spend $14 billion on convergent charging systems in the next five years.
The new report’s author, Shira Levine, sees signs of budgets loosening – particularly in emerging markets – and an acknowledgement that current systems simply cannot support marketing initiatives. This is the main driver of the growth, and scalability and reliability are seen as more important than price as criteria for new systems.
Whilst this seems to reflect a growing ‘intellectual integration’ within organisations where ‘the business’ is, at last, seeing the competitive potential of systems that can be driven by business users, it also means a delay in rolling out sophisticated services if systems need replacing.
Shared data and shared balances seem to be ‘the next big thing’. Groups such as families are seeing the wisdom in having a policy in place that can manage shared balances. “Having a teenager use the month’s bandwidth allowance on day one is unlikely to be popular,” says Levine, pointing to the fact that many tablets out there actually do not have the 3G capabilities turned on because of the fear of BillShock. Being able to manage that experience – providing predictability, clarity and simplicity to increasingly complex world of communications will certainly pay dividends.