Telecom Technology Essay

This essay has a total of 8986 words and 49 pages.

Telecom Technology

1.0 Executive Summary
Over the last four years, OSS Telecom Technology, a well respected $300 million steel
conglomerate, has built up significant interests in the telecom sector ranging from
wireless and paging services to billing software. OSS Telecom Technology Taiwan, was
formed in Taiwan in 1994 to pursue opportunities in the Operations Support Systems (OSS)
telecom software market, with a particular focus on customer care and billing software
solutions (CCB systems). Since 1994, OSS Telecom Technology Taiwan has grown steadily,
building a customer base of 24 telecom operators for its software.

In 1998, encouraged by the potential of the billing software market opportunity, OSS
Telecom Technology decided to pursue a more aggressive expansion strategy, appointing an
experienced and credible executive management team to unleash the potential of the OSS
Telecom Technology Taiwan business. Corresponding with the placement of the executive
management team, OSS Telecom Technology was created. OSS Telecom Technology has already
made and continues to make significant investments in growing the business.

2.0 Situation Analysis
OSS Telecom Technology current situation:
Product
Since 1994, OSS Telecom Technology has developed an open and flexible product platform
from which it can expand. The current product portfolio includes:

• Caribou: a customer care and billing product;
• MEDUSA: a mediation system providing billing data collection and service provisioning services.
The following products are all currently under development:
• Short Messaging Service Center (SMSC);
• IN Prepaid/Calling Card Platform;
• Performance Appraisal of Networks (PAN): Windows and UNIX based network
performance monitoring system for telecom networks;

• Java-based rules engine.
Product Support
In support of product sales, OSS Telecom Technology offers a number of services such as
installation and configuration, as well as warranty and post warranty support services.

Consulting Services
OSS Telecom Technology has developed most of its products to date through projects
delivered as part of its consulting services group. Services offered under the umbrella of
the consulting services group include consulting, project development, and implementation.
This enables OSS Telecom Technology products to be closely tailored to customer needs.

2.1 Market Summary

Operations support systems (OSS) encompasses a broad range of applications and services.
Although definitions vary, OSS typically includes applications geared toward customer
acquisition, service provisioning, asset management, network management, customer care,
and billing. Increasingly, these applications are becoming more interdependent and
carriers are beginning to realize how important a world-class OSS is to effective
competition.

Telecommunications OSS
The OSS segment of the telecommunications industry is experiencing tremendous growth. The
increasingly competitive telecommunications market, both wireline and wireless, has
increased carriers' awareness of the importance of OSS. As a result, companies are
investing millions of dollars in their OSS in order to improve operations and create a
competitive advantage.

In terms of aggregate spending on OSS, projections differ, mainly because there is no
consensus on the exact definition of OSS. Nevertheless, the Yankee Group predicts that the
OSS market will grow to almost $60 billion worldwide in 2003 before falling off slightly.
The slight decrease in spending is the result of more companies choosing to build rather
than buy certain components of their OSS.

Customer Care & Billing Overview
OSS Telecom Technology currently focuses on one aspect of OSS, customer care and billing
(CCB) systems. At its highest level, a CCB system provides a carrier with the means to
bill its customers for service.

However, bill generation is but one aspect of a complete CCB application. The data
captured by the billing system provides valuable information to both the carrier and the
customer on how services are used, what additional services are necessary, how services
can be used more efficiently, or even how effective particular promotions or operations
have been. Today's CCB systems collect, collate, manage, and report this valuable
information to management, usually in real time.

CCB systems are also vital in terms of customer service and satisfaction. By having real
time access to customer information, customer service representatives can better respond
to customer needs in a timely and efficient manner.

In addition, modern CCB systems can turn the monthly bill into an invaluable marketing
tool; this is important since the customer's bill is the only regular contact a company
has with its customers. As a result, a great deal of attention is typically placed on a
company's CCB applications.

Target Markets


Market Analysis
Potential Customers Growth 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 CAGR
Tier 2 Telecom Operators 8% 481 519 561 606 654 7.98%
Tier 3 Telecom Operators 6% 564 595 628 663 699 5.51%
Internet Service Providers 10% 2,011 2,202 2,411 2,640 2,891 9.50%
Application Service Providers 10% 2,540 2,781 3,045 3,334 3,651 9.50%
Total 8.99% 5,596 6,097 6,645 7,243 7,895 8.99%
2.1.1 Market Needs

The outlook for the future appears positive. Telecom markets will continue to deregulate
and the number of operators will continue to grow to 5,500 in 2004, representing an
additional 1,700 compared to 1998.

With the increase in operators, the demand for OSS has also increased. OSS are the systems
on which the telecom operator's business runs. At the core of OSS is billing for telecom
services, which is provided by customer care and billing systems (CCB). CCB systems enable
accurate, timely, flexible, feature-rich billing of services.

The additional competition in the marketplace has made OSS, and CCB systems in particular,
a key source of competitive advantage for many players. CCB systems have become
increasingly sophisticated, incorporating features such as hot-billing (where users
receive billing information on demand), Internet billing (billing data disseminated over
the Internet), multi-service billing, loyalty programs and "friends and family" type
services.

2.1.2 Market Trends

Market Overview
Although OSS Telecom Technology's primary focus today is the traditional
telecommunications market, it is important to consider other communications markets,
including Internet and cable. The lines between these groups are becoming increasingly
hazy, which will lead to tremendous future opportunities for OSS Telecom Technology and
its competitors.

When considered in aggregate, the total worldwide market for telecommunications, Internet,
and cable TV is more than $1 trillion annually. By any estimation that is a very large
market. However, despite its size, this is not a stagnant market; it is a robust and
expanding market. With a new era of deregulation and privatization sweeping the globe, and
the fact that developing countries have very low penetration rates for these services, the
overall market is expected to continue to grow well into the next century.

Market Background (Deregulation)
When we talk about deregulation, we are typically referring to the telecommunications
industry. However, in recent years both the cable TV and utility industries have undergone
their own wave of deregulation and privatization. In fact, the lines between
telecommunication, cable TV, utilities, and Internet service providers have blurred
considerably. The greatest impact of deregulation and privatization, however, has been
felt in the telecommunications industry. As other industries move down the road toward
deregulation they will also experience significant change worldwide.

For the majority of the 20th century, telecommunications providers around the world have
been providing wireline services in heavily regulated environments. These service
providers were largely acting as government sanctioned monopolies and offered only plain
old telephone service (POTS). More recently, however, the telecommunications industry has
experienced an unprecedented move toward deregulation worldwide.

In the U.S., deregulation began in 1984 with the breakup of AT&T and the subsequent
entrance of competitors into the long distance market. In 1994, deregulation entered the
wireless industry when the government began auctioning additional radio spectrum, thereby
allowing additional competition into the traditional cellular duopoly. Most recently, the
Telecommunications Act of 1996 opened the domestic marketplace to widespread competition
by allowing new and existing local and long distance companies, wireless companies, and
cable TV operators to provide competing services. As result of this move toward
deregulation, the number of carriers in the U.S. has risen dramatically over the past 15
years.

Outside of the U.S., deregulation, and in some cases, privatization, are resulting in the
emergence of new carriers, increased competition, and the increased availability of
telecommunication services. Three major events that became effective in 1998 are fueling
this drive toward free competition.

First, the World Trade Organization's Agreement on Basic Telecommunications Services
commits 69 countries, accounting for 90 percent of the world telecom market, to embrace
national and international market competition.

Second, the European Union, home to more than 30 percent of the worlds' telephone lines,
opened its telecommunications markets to competition.

Third, the Japanese telecommunications market, the worlds' second biggest, fully opened to
competition. This trend toward global deregulation has created unprecedented opportunities
for new and existing companies in the global telecommunications market place. As a result,
the number of carriers worldwide is expected to grow substantially in the coming years.

It is clear that deregulation and privatization have had a significant effect on the world
telecommunications market over the past 15 years. These effects are likely to continue
well into the 21st century. These effects will be seen in innovative new products and
services, greater access (especially in developing countries), and increased choices as
new service providers enter the market.

Historical Market Growth (Telecommunications)
By any measure, the telecommunications industry has grown dramatically over the last
century. During the first three-quarters of this century, growth in telecommunications
came mainly from wireline applications and was largely due to growth in developed
countries. However, during the last quarter of this century, growth has come as the result
of three main influences: global deregulation, the advent of wireless technologies, and
the building of infrastructure in developing countries.

As the demand for telecommunications grew over the past century so has the infrastructure.
In the past 37 years the global telecommunication network has grown at a fairly constant
rate and generated a compound annual growth rate of 5.9% per year, resulting in an
enormous increase in main telephone lines worldwide. By the end of 1997, it was estimated
that there were approximately 800 million main telephone lines installed worldwide. Main
telephone lines represent a physical connection between a subscriber and an exchange and
therefore exclude wireless connections.

By the end of 1996, approximately 40 percent of all households worldwide had a telephone;
conversely, 60 percent or some 870 million households did not. By far the largest
percentage of those households that did not have a telephone were in developing countries.
The rapid growth in main telephone lines and teledensity has led to a corresponding
increase in telecommunication service revenues.

As previously mentioned, the historic growth in telecommunication services over the past
quarter century is not entirely attributed to growth in traditional wireline telephony.
Since the early 1980's, the rapid growth of wireless services has accounted for a
significant portion of the entire telecommunication industry growth.

The telecommunication market has experienced tremendous growth over the past 100 years
and, as the graphs illustrate, the growth rates have been increasing in recent years, due
in large part to deregulation, wireless technology, and the buildout of developing
countries. Obviously, telecommunications is a thriving and expanding market worldwide.

Internet
Closely related to telecommunications and a relatively recent development, the Internet is
poised to change the way we communicate. The Internet was originally developed in
conjunction with the U.S. Government in the late 1960's to be used as a failsafe means of
communication in times of war. Subsequently, during the 1970's and 1980's the Internet
evolved into a civilian communications tool utilized primarily by universities and
research laboratories as a means of sharing information. Not until the 1990's and the
emergence of the World Wide Web (WWW) did the Internet come into the mainstream as a
useful communications tool. The worldwide growth in the Internet, as measured by the
number of host computers, started slowly but has increased rapidly during the 1990's.
(Host computers are computers connected directly to the Internet and are a standard
measure of the size of the Internet.)

Fueling this growth in host computers has been a tremendous growth in people who are
connected to the Internet or "online." In 1991, only 4.5 million people were estimated to
be online. In September 1998 it was estimated that 148 million people were online
worldwide.

Undeniably this is substantial growth, and this growth has created unparalleled
opportunities for those providing Internet connectivity. These companies, Internet service
providers (ISPs), have enjoyed tremendous revenue growth over the last five years.
Worldwide ISP revenues have increased from approximately $50 million in 1994 to an
estimated $14 billion in 1998.

Although the Internet in total has expanded significantly, Internet access and actual use
vary greatly among countries. On a usage basis, the U.S. accounts for the largest share at
55 percent. On an access basis, Canada is the leader followed by the U.S.

Market Forecast


2.1.3 Market Growth

Projected Market Growth
While a historical perspective is valuable, what is most important with respect to OSS
Telecom Technology is future growth. While it is impossible to predict the future with 100
percent accuracy, it is possible to gain a sense of what is likely to happen and gain an
appreciation for the size of this ever-expanding market.

Telecommunications
Historically, the global telecommunications marketplace has enjoyed tremendous growth in
terms of network size, number of subscribers, number of operators, and overall revenues.
While this growth has been impressive, of real importance is what is going to happen to
the telecommunications market in the near future, say the next five years. The next five
years will be a pivotal time for the telecommunications industry as the effects of global
deregulation, the continued expansion of wireless services, and the further buildout of
developing countries combine to reshape the global marketplace. The buildout of developing
countries is critical if these countries are to increase teledensity and data capacity in
order to join the 21st century.

As a result of these fundamental influences in the telecommunications market, demand for
voice telephone service alone is expected to increase dramatically. In fact, the total
demand for voice telephony is expected to increase more than 50% from 1998 to 2004.

Another fundamental influence that will drive the growth of telecommunications is the
continued growth in the world's population. Obviously, as the population expands so does
the need for telecommunication services.

The historical growth in main telephone lines worldwide is expected to continue through
the turn of the century. The number of main telephone lines worldwide is expected to grow
from approximately 850 million in 1998 to 1.25 billion in 2004.

The majority of the growth in main telephone lines is expected to come from non-U.S.
regions. The bulk of that growth is expected in the Asia/Pacific region. Corresponding
with the projected growth in main telephone lines is an expected growth in worldwide
teledensity. Worldwide teledensity is expected to increase from 14 lines per 100 people in
1998 to approximately 19 in 2004.

Access to telecommunication services worldwide has grown at an impressive pace over the
last twenty years. In large part this is due to the emergence of wireless telephony. This
is especially true in emerging markets where it is considerably less expensive to deploy
wireless infrastructure than it is to deploy traditional copper wire. As a result, the
number of wireless subscribers has grown significantly over the past decade. This growth
is projected to continue at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 24% from 1998 to 2004.

A number of competing technologies exist in the global wireless market: analog, CDMA,
TDMA, GSM, and PDC (PDC is Japan's digital technology). Most carriers today are in the
process of upgrading their current systems from analog to digital technologies and new
carriers are starting with digital technology. As a result, the technology mix is expected
to change significantly from 1997 to 2004.

OSS Telecom Technology originally developed its products for use with GSM technologies.
Therefore, the growth in GSM is of particular interest to OSS Telecom Technology. GSM is
rapidly becoming the standard digital wireless technology worldwide. In fact, GSM
operators are currently adding four new subscribers every second.

What all of this growth in wireline and wireless telephony drives is revenue. Worldwide
telecom service revenue is expected to grow from $840 billion in 1998 to $1.4 trillion in
2004. This growth represents a compound annual rate of 8.7 percent.

It is evident that the global telecommunications market is expanding and will continue to
expand in the foreseeable future. This expansion has created tremendous opportunities for
incumbent operators and emerging operators, who are, in turn, creating opportunities for
companies that support them. Infrastructure vendors, consultants, software vendors, and
many other types of suppliers are enjoying the expanded opportunities the telecom market
is offering. OSS Telecom Technology is positioning itself to take advantage of the growing
telecom market.

Internet
In the entire scheme of communications, the Internet is still in its infancy. The
technology is still evolving as are its applications and uses. Electronic commerce,
perhaps the biggest revenue generating opportunity of all time, is just emerging. In
addition, Internet telephony is showing promise and is beginning to attract meaningful
support, as the technology is refined. As more and more information, entertainment, and
goods & services become available on the Internet the number of host computers and
Internet users is expected to increase. The number of host computers connected to the
Internet is expected to mushroom to around 285 million by 2004.

Corresponding to the growth in Internet infrastructure is the expected continued rapid
growth in Internet users. The number of people projected to be online by 2004 increases to
more than 500 million, more than three times the number of people online today.

Without a doubt, the Internet has tremendous market potential. Every aspect of the
Internet (hardware, software, and services) is projected to grow significantly in the next
few years. In total, the Internet market place is expected to be worth in excess of $22
billion in just two years. This is a rapidly expanding and, as of yet, largely untapped
market.

Currently, the numbers of ISPs operating worldwide is estimated at close to 4,000.
Undoubtedly the number of ISPs is likely to increase as more and more people desire to be
online, especially in non-U.S. regions where Internet usage is relatively low. Partially
offsetting the growth in the number of ISPs is the eventual wave of consolidations that is
likely to grip the industry.

The Internet offers several opportunities for OSS Telecom Technology, with respect to CCB
applications. The biggest opportunity is in IP (Internet Protocol) telephony or voice-over
IP (VoIP). Using the Internet to make phone calls has been possible for a few years now
but although the rates were cheap quality was poor. However, recent technological
advancements have made the prospects of wide reaching IP telephony a reality.

In fact, IP telephony is poised to secure a significant portion of telephone traffic in
the next several years. Probe Research predicts that by 2003, 18.5% of telephone traffic
in the U.S. will be via the Internet. As ISPs and other companies begin to offer IP
telephony services, there will be a tremendous need for CCB applications capable of
billing for this new service.

Another CCB opportunity made possible by the Internet is usage-based pricing for data.
Several companies are exploring the viability of charging customers based on the data they
actually use. This type of arrangement would require billing systems beyond the typical
ISP's current capabilities and therefore represents a significant opportunity for OSS
Telecom Technology and its competitors.

Target Market Growth

Click to Enlarge
2.2 SWOT Analysis

In the SWOT analysis that follows, OSS Telecom Technology maintains a healthy position.
OSS has substantial strengths to balance out weaknesses. Market opportunities in Internet
and cable billing are quickly approaching. Competitive threats are becoming more of an
issue as key competitors ramp up for new opportunities and other new competitors are
entering the industry.

2.2.1 Strengths

OSS Telecom Technology has developed technical strengths in the following areas:
1. Design and development of computer applications on UNIX and NT platforms using
languages such as C, C , and Java and user interfaces such as PowerBuilder and databases
such as Oracle and Sybase.

2. Expertise in client server based application software including multi-tier
application software development, using object-oriented methodologies.

3. Expertise in networks programming on UNIX and NT platforms.
4. Domain expertise in the area of SS7 signaling and GSM protocol layers.
5. Design expertise on object oriented methodologies and three-tier client server applications.
6. Requirements engineering and requirements management.
7. Project management and project tracking.
2.2.2 Weaknesses

OSS Telecom Technology currently has weaknesses in the following areas:
1. Employee morale issues.
2. Communication/language issues between headquarters and Taiwan.
3. Version control issues among Caribou and MEDUSA product lines.
2.2.3 Opportunities

OSS Telecom Technology currently has opportunities in the following areas:
1. Internet and cable billing.
2. Application service provider billing.
2.2.4 Threats

OSS Telecom Technology potentially faces threats in the following areas:
Internal Risk Factors
1. A product road map which leads to the development of new functionalities and the
enhancement of existing system modules which are in-line with customer expectations.

2. Ability of the company to attract, train, and retain qualified technical, sales,
marketing, financial, and management personnel to meet the challenges of growth.

3. Attraction of adequate initial capital to jump-start the company to the next level.
These funds will allow the company to hire needed resources, open regional sales offices,
develop OEM/system integration relationships, and develop system enhancements and new
product offerings on a more timely basis.

External Risk Factors
1. Competition in the market for telecommunications billing and customer care systems
is highly competitive and the company expects this competition to increase. Not only does
the company compete with other independent providers of billing systems and services, it
competes with system integrators and with internal billing departments of many
telecommunications carriers.


It is expected that continued growth and competition in the telecommunications industry,
and the entrance of new competitors into the market, will continue.

2. Alternative pricing arrangements may be required to cultivate relationships with
new market entrants, and to a lesser degree with established companies. These arrangements
may call for deferred payments. However, if the company permits customers to pay for its
products and services on a deferral or revenue sharing basis, the company may ultimately
be unable to collect payments for such products and services.

3. International factors may cause significant risks to the company. The company's
business may be subject to unexpected changes in: regulatory requirements, tariffs and
other trade barriers, costs of localizing products for foreign countries, lack of
acceptance of localized products in foreign countries, longer accounts receivable payment
cycles, difficulties in managing international operations, political instability,
potentially adverse tax obligations, restrictions on the repatriation of earnings and the
burdens of complying with a wide variety of foreign laws and regulations.

4. Fluctuations in exchange rates between the United States dollar and foreign
currencies may have a material adverse effect on the company's business, results of
operations, and financial condition and could result in exchange losses. There are no
assurances that any hedging techniques implemented by the company will be successful.

5. The laws of certain countries in which the company may sell its products and
services do not protect the company's software and intellectual property rights. As a
result, it may be possible for a third party to copy or otherwise obtain and use the
company's technology without authorization, or to develop similar technology
independently. If this occurs to any substantial degree to the company's business, results
of operations and financial condition could be affected.

6. An integral factor in the company's growth strategy is the development of third
party relationships with a number of consulting and systems integrator firms to enhance
its marketing, sales, and customer support efforts.


The benefits are in respect to installation and support of its product and lead generation
and assistance in the joint marketing and sales efforts in order to generate new business
opportunities.


Failure to generate these relationships will have a negative impact on the company's
ability to meet its targeted growth in sales.

2.3 Competition

With the increasing demand for OSS and CCB systems, many OSS/CCB software providers have
entered the market. It is estimated that there are over 50 vendors for billing and
customer care systems worldwide.

There is an increasing move by computer and switch vendors, system integrators, and
telecom operators (e.g. IBM, Siemens, EDS, Deutsche Telekom) to develop in-house billing
and OSS solutions for customers. They are formidable competitors with deep pockets, large
existing customer bases, and significant influence on customer decision-making.

In addition, the majority of players (both large and small) are extending product service
portfolios to provide all services, i.e. Internet, mobile, cable, fixed and convergent
services. OSS Telecom Technology will compete in this market by providing high-value
products and services at competitive prices.

Competitor Financial Performance
The market for billing and customer care has enjoyed solid growth for the past six years.
Companies that compete in this market were direct beneficiaries of this growth, as were
their shareholders.

Analysis: LHS Group and Saville Systems
Although OSS Telecom Technology faces numerous competitors in the CCB market, two are worth a closer look.
LHS Group and Saville Systems are important because their historical growth and
performance mirror OSS Telecom Technology's projections. Both of these companies focus
exclusively on CCB systems and related consulting services, both derive a majority of
their sales from the telecommunications industry, both are active in international
markets, and both have grown their revenues to $100 million plus in approximately five
years.

LHS Group's market capitalization grew at a CAGR of 201% from June 1997 to June 1998,
while Saville's market capitalization grew at a CAGR of 119% from December 1995 to June
1998. The stock market, as measured by the S&P 500 stock index, only returned a CAGR of
30% from June 1997 to June 1998 and 28% from December 1995 to June 1998.

Growth and Share
Competitor Price Growth Rate Market Share
Saville Systems $650,000 30% 20%
LHS Group $750,000 25% 15%
Other $0 0% 0%

Average $466,666.67 18.33% 11.67%
Total $1,400,000.00 55.00% 35.00%
2.4 Products Offered

This section describes OSS Telecom Technology's different products, including Caribou,
MEDUSA, PAN, and the new products in production such as the SMSC and the IN Pre-paid
Calling Card platform. This section also gives an overview of the product road maps for
the various products. The description also includes some of the highlights of these
products which make them unique and distinct from and more advanced than similar competing
products.

Description of Caribou
Subscriber Billing
The basic billing system consists of the following modules:
Traffic Processing
o Pricing: CDRs received through tape or from the mediation system are validated and
then taken up for pricing using the tariff package, tariff plan, rate structure, rate
calendar, discounts structure. There are four types of pricing--flat, volume, step, and
segmented.

o Reject Maintenance: CDRs with missing information are listed with reject value codes for manual processing.
o Traffic Posting: After pricing, the records are posted to the corresponding
subscriber account that is used during bill generation.

Bill Generation:
Bill generation can be of three types: ad-hoc billing, warm (HOT) billing and cycle wise
billing. The system can take care of multiple billing cycles and multiple billing groups.

o Pre-bill processing: This process is mainly used for calculating the recurring amount of each bill cycle.
o Final bill generation: This process starts after pre-bill processing and it
calculates the total bill and its corresponding discounts for every subscriber. Other than
total bill calculation, it takes care of volume pricing, flat discount, and volume
discount.

Continues for 25 more pages >>




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