A new report finds that service providers want to offer personalized data plans – and real-time visibility and control over data spending – in order to improve the customer experience and better monetize 4G investments.
The report by Amdocs, teaming with research firm Heavy Reading, also reveals that service providers currently lack the integrated charging and policy management capabilities required to enable this.
"Our research shows that service providers' data services strategies are evolving in tandem with recognition that they need to fully integrate their charging and policy management capabilities in order to enable these strategies," said Ari Banerjee, senior analyst, Heavy Reading. "Those who recognized the importance of charging and policy integration last year, have since launched tiered and family plans and are now looking to enable even more advanced services with real-time user visibility and control capabilities. Those who weren't convinced last year about the need for policy and charging integration are much more convinced today, and therefore they are now looking to enable tiered and family plans."
"Service providers are looking to 4G to deliver service innovation beyond higher capacity and faster speeds, but need to integrate charging and policy to enable this," said Rebecca Prudhomme, vice president of product and solutions marketing at Amdocs. "The research shows they are seeking solutions which pre-integrate charging and policy systems, also including a single product catalog across both systems, to solve broken product management processes which cause time to market delays."
Eighty percent of respondents in the survey said their companies have either launched or are trialing LTE services; 92 percent said their IT organizations are being asked by marketing to enable innovative data price plans; and 63 percent plan to launch VoLTE (voice over LTE) by 2013-14.
Seventy percent of respondents said their companies cannot enable innovative data price plans because of IT limitations; 60 percent claimed that their companies are looking to establish IT capabilities to enable personalization of data plans and promotions; half (50 percent) said their companies are looking to establish IT capabilities to enable real-time user visibility and control over data plans and spending; and three in five (60 percent) said it takes their companies three to six months to launch a new service – another 20 percent said it takes even longer.
There is overwhelming consensus among service providers that charging and policy management integration is key to enabling more advanced services and price plans. The vast majority of respondents from Europe, North America and Asia Pacific (100, 90, and 80 percent, respectively) said their companies see a need to integrate charging and policy management capabilities. Forty percent of service providers in Latin America also agreed. Integration between charging and policy management allows providers to introduce personalized services that relate to the device type, service type, network status, customer location and other customer information, across all lines of business, and with real-time user visibility and control over data plans and spending.
Seventy-five percent of respondents said their companies are looking to manage rules for policy and charging from one location, i.e., implement a centralized product catalog; and 40 percent said their companies have either tried or are currently trying to integrate charging and policy management systems with unsatisfactory results, compared to 10 percent last year.
The research is based on 70 interviews conducted between October and November, with decision-makers from both IT and marketing departments of 35 service providers.