Bell, Canada’s largest communications company has signed a multi-year partnership with digital BSS provider Openet. This is interesting for several reasons.
First, it sends a clear signal that partnership is the only real approach to managing the fast moving market that is the digital world, while keeping up with your customers’ requirements.
Second, the approach seems to be exactly the one that Niall Norton, CEO of Openet, described in our recent pre-MWC interview. One that “is actually quite like a BT strategy from 20 years ago. BT had a library of artefacts to help developers to develop their services, for example flexible rating capabilities etc. If you do this right now, the next Uber or AirBnB will use your tools and that will put you in a great position. You also get to many, many more developers. It won’t happen for two to three years – but it will come”. It seems as if it might be happening a little faster than that.
Norton is, not surprisingly pleased (presumably for several reasons), not least because “tier one operators like Bell are leveraging microservices and adopting DevOps to quickly respond to new opportunities as their networks and services evolve”.
Bell’s Vice President of Network Strategy is also pleased because of the ability to “develop innovative solutions that can be incorporated quickly into our wireless rating platform. The suite of microservices will allow us to deliver an enhanced customer experience while future proofing our systems in preparation for 5G deployment.”
Everybody at this table clearly understands that 5G is just one piece in the delivery platform puzzle and, as Norton says “Customers don’t care how it gets to me, as long as it does” but this does point to a tier one telecoms operator embracing – properly embracing – the idea of a platform that fosters innovation and allows developers to take advantage of the power of a telco.
This kind of announcement is encouraging for the industry as a whole and we look forward to tracking some of the innovations in pricing and service delivery that emerge over the coming months and years.