CSPs are not ready for 5G, even though they and their partners have been throwing the hype around like children who have been given an espresso and a new set of toys.
The infrastructure might be there. The marketing hype has been there since time began (OK, 2014). Yet 94% of CSPs are not ready with their charging systems to monetise their new, cool, wind-swept 5G services.
This is the conclusion of a study by Oracle Communications, carried out by OvationMR, with 303 decision-makers worldwide. As Reuters says, ‘fake it until you make it‘ (5G marketing outpaces service reality).
It is depressing.
Even though Billing professionals have been discussing charging models and billing issues for over 30 years (yes, 30 years), and CEOs went through a phase of saying ‘billing is critical’ a lot during investor conference calls, nothing it seems has changed.
Whether this proves that CSPs are not ready to change at all remains to be seen. Once again, they have focused on the network and its slices, low latency and superfast speeds, without, it seems, wondering how to monetise all the services that others will design to run on their networks.
CSPs in the survey are citing the same old barriers to innovation in charging.
The cost of managing existing systems is one issue and lengthy time to market for new services is another. What CSPs need, or want, from their next-generation charging systems is pretty much the same as it was for 3G and then 4G. They need cross-network convergence and flexible rating and charging.
We could find a presentation that said exactly that from 1994, but it might tip you over the edge (frankly, we need a cold towel and a large gin and tonic).
CSPs are not ready to capitalise on their massive investment in 5G, and, sadly, it is not surprising. There is no sign that, even though it is at the top of the hyped services, they have processes in place to charge for the quality of service.
We admit that we believed that this time would be different. How could it not be with the many years of discussion and work done in the TM Forum, ETIS and even the Global Billing Association so many years ago? 5G (actually 3G and 4G) was made for the models we came up with.
The conclusion, it seems, is that CSPs are not ready for the latest, most significant development in network technology ever. They must rectify this, and fast, otherwise – once again – keener, more agile companies will wander in and eat their lunch.
And they will only have themselves to blame.