With some analysts causing confusion in the community with their smoke and mirrors, others certainly agree on where the market is heading and who will lead the charge. The latest research from Infonetics points to growth in the convergent charging market of 24 percent compound between now and 2016. This follows on from a report earlier this year that predicted that service providers will spend $14 billion on convergent charging systems by 2017, $1.9 billion of which will be earmarked for Policy Management.
Analysys Mason was also upbeat earlier this year, having measured more than $6.5 billion having been invested in revenue management systems in 2011, noting that the business optimization part of that investment had grown by 11 percent.
Driven to a large extent by the move to LTE, Infonetics Analyst Shira Levine believes that this growth will lead to “additional consolidation in the vendor community,” pointing to the recent acquisition by Redknee of NSN’s BSS assets. Whilst that comment leaves us scratching our heads and wondering who is left to be aquired – only a few of the right sized companies – Levine also sees this growth as driving “integrated policy/charging solutions that enable operators to introduce consumption-based offerings.” Presumably consumption based equate to value based charging as operators prepare to flood the market with a range of offerings in the not too distant future.
One feature of the early summary that BillingViews saw was that once the final figures for 2012 are out, Infonetics expects Ericsson to take a much larger share of the market than before, particularly given the acquisition of Telcordia. Hardly had the release been sent than BillingViews caught sight of an article congratulating Ericsson for passing two billion customer subscriptions supported by its BSS platforms. Whilst there is no breakdown of how those subscribers are made up nor how complex the pricing they support, Larry Goldman points to the success and dominance of Ericsson, and believes “the company is well positioned … to further expand on its number-one market-share ranking.” According to the World Cellular Information Service Database, two billion subscribers equates to a 31 percent market share of global subscriptions.
Two interesting pieces of this convergent puzzle that should not be ignored are that while the market for convergent charging is set for continued, robust growth, Infonetics’ scope for convergent charging includes “the multiple dimensions of convergence, including convergence across payment methods, service types and access networks.”
As convergence now includes everything in our increasingly transactional world, the growth will also drive – and urgently – real time capability. Without real time built in to every relevant system, the innovation that is enabled by 4G is simply not possible – and implementing real time is therefore a priority. Without real time, 4G is rather like buying an Aston Martin DB8 – and then finding it has a Ford Mondeo engine in it.