Service Activation Key for LTE Success

Long Term Evolution (LTE) is among the fastest-growing mobile network technologies today, as wireless operators invest to provide the mobile data services demanded in markets around the world. Just three years after the technology was originally deployed, worldwide subscribers to the 4G wireless standard are expected to surpass the 100m mark this year.

According to market research from analyst, IHS iSuppli, LTE subscribers will reach 198.1m in 2013, up 115 per cent from 93.2m last year. It also projects that, by 2016, LTE will claim more than 1bn users, equivalent to a five-year compound annual growth rate of 139 per cent. 

As wireless operators fight to establish competitive edge in an increasingly crowded and hard-fought telecoms marketplace, LTE is becoming increasingly important, Not least because it gives operators the opportunity to achieve business advantage through the roll-out of new subscriber services, and, in particular, quad-play bundled services, typically comprising TV, phone, internet and mobile.    

 In an industry awash with challenges and opportunities, effectively managing the service development lifecycle of next-generation solutions is increasingly important. As competition, consolidation and convergence change the marketplace, service providers are banking on the service bundle, both to retain customers and to take a bigger share of the wallet.

 Achieving a successful roll-out of LTE technology is absolutely critical to this. Yet operators will struggle without operational support systems (OSS) that can effectively manage service entitlements.

 Service activation systems are becoming especially vital to ambitious operators, as recognition grows that these systems can play a key role in supporting an operator’s quest for faster service innovation and easier integration of new technologies.



An effective activation system is critical to an operator’s profitability. Activation systems are involved in providing every service to every subscriber – voice, data, content, information or messaging. Also, the volume of activation transactions handled by operators is huge – and still growing.

Activation systems need to support many new network technologies and increasingly complex activation processes, as more data and content services are introduced. Any shortcoming is highly visible, impacting revenues and customer retention. Many operators today still have activation systems that need to be replaced. The effort involved in managing and updating them to meet emerging requirements has driven total cost of ownership beyond sustainable levels.

That’s why scalability, flexibility and reliability are arguably the three key qualities from the latest next-generation service activation solutions. More specifically, they need to be able to increase business agility to introduce, manage and withdraw services, while at the same time reducing customer churn by significantly lowering activation errors.

At the same time, cost control is key. The best solutions also need to be able to reduce total cost of ownership for activation through a roadmap and benchmarked performance, while at the same time lowering the risk and cost of integrating with a wide range of network elements and business systems.

Solutions also need to be comprehensive and offer a complete solution for the whole service development lifecycle. In addition to pure service activation, they need to deliver three key business capabilities for operators: service assembly, service verification and service delivery integration.

A model-driven approach to service assembly will reduce time to market for new services. Efficient and effective service verification will increase customer satisfaction, while delivering improved utilisation and data quality of resources. The final element, service delivery integration, ideally needs to reduce integration cost and risk, while increasing business agility both through extensive pre-integration and standards-based integration.      


Sophisticated customers

Today, the best service activation systems allow operators to meet the needs of increasingly sophisticated customers for complex solution bundles, often incorporating multiple services and tariffs so characteristic of the new world of LTE, together with real-time activation demanded by internet-savvy users wanting instant fulfilment. And we are now seeing operators increasingly turning to technology vendor partners who have the necessary expertise to shorten their time to market and lower their cost of ownership while at the same time enabling them to provide the highest possible levels of quality and availability.    

LTE implementations are taking off, but for operators, it is high-quality service activation systems that are really making them fly.


Thad Dupper is chairman and CEO of Evolving Systems