A new Oracle Communications survey shows that while 73 per cent of communications service providers (CSPs) plan to launch 5G networks by 2022, 94 per cent have challenges with their existing charging systems. As these CSPs look to monetise everything from streaming videos and network slicing to eHealth and virtual gaming, they worry their outdated charging systems will hinder customer experience, performance, and the ability to get new offerings to market quickly.
“CSPs are making significant investments in their 5G networks and need to be able to quickly and effectively monetise new services to get a return, as well as deliver on customer expectations,” said Jason Rutherford, senior vice president and general manager, Oracle Communications, Applications. “The survey shows that CSPs recognize they need to rethink current charging systems to fully capitalise on the revenue potential of 5G.”
The survey, 5G Readiness Report: CSP Perceptions on Charging and Monetization for the 5G Era, was conducted by OvationMR in May 2021 and included responses from 303 decision makers from the United States, Canada, Mexico, United Kingdom, Spain, France, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, and Australia.
Charging challenges could hinder innovation and experience
CSPs noted the top challenges they currently face when it comes to charging are the cost of managing their existing systems (38 per cent) and the lengthy time-to-market for new offers (34 per cent). They also feel ill-equipped to meet the performance and monetization needs of 5G and are concerned how their dated technology will impact customer experience.
On average, CSPs plan to launch three new 5G-enabled services, ranging from enhanced mobile broadband to smart home, mobile gaming, retail and live entertainment offers. CSPs also expect to monetise 5G differently, using an average of three pricing levers such as data security, latency, and energy efficiency. To support these new business requirements, 86 per cent of CSPs plan to upgrade charging systems over the next 18 months.
CSPs also have clear ideas on the features they need from their next charging system. The survey found that cross-network convergence (55 per cent), flexible rating and charging schemas (37 per cent), and cloud-native capabilities (32 per cent) topped the list. CSPs’ top priorities also include using solution providers with cross-industry expertise, an innovative product roadmap, and robust software capabilities.
“CSPs realise the need for scalable, converged charging systems that will enable them to monetise any business model and complex 5G pricing levers, such as speed, latency and quality of experience (QoE),” added Rutherford. “This survey highlights the innovative service types and pricing methods that CSPs want to pursue in the 5G era and the importance of a full-featured solution to deliver those capabilities.”
The survey also explored the impact of 5G and charging systems on digital transformation and enterprise customers.