Over the last decade, a growing number of Alternative Network Providers, or “AltNets”, have emerged to challenge the status quo of traditional network providers. The sector is expanding, with new players entering the market and driving competition to deliver better services and lower prices for customers. Many of these AltNets have developed niche markets, filling the gaps left by the bigger players as well as competing directly with them in their core markets.
As AltNets transition from build phase to operate phase, there is an increased focus on operational systems and processes to support their next stage of growth and the path to service excellence.
Obstacles to overcome
Despite their potential, AltNets face several challenges to achieving sustainable and profitable growth including:
- Competition from traditional providers – Incumbent providers have the advantage of brand reputation and mature systems and processes that can operate at scale
- Risk of overbuild – While growth is a key driver for AltNets, further investment in network build needs to be commensurate with competitiveness of network services to compete in new markets
- Scaling Operations – As the number of customers and the volume of data traffic grows, ability to scale operations efficiently and effectively will be a critical factor to maintaining profitability and preventing customer churn
- Visibility – Lack of visibility within network infrastructure could hinder the AltNets ability to proactively minimise incidents, detect blind spots, and identify vulnerabilities that may lead to major outages
- Security – Many AltNets are still relying on open-source software to manage their networks and operations, leaving operational systems and customer data exposed to security breaches
Where do we go from here?
A key starting point is to establish an operating model based on industry best practices and standards, supported by a modern BSS (Business Support Systems) and OSS (Operations Support Systems) architecture.
Typical features of modern BSS/OSS include the following:
- Cloud based to provide scalability, flexibility, and reduced time to production of new systems and processes
- AI capabilities to reduce manual intervention and drive operational efficiency and effectiveness
- Ability to monitor network performance and customer experience, enabling AltNets to proactively identify incidents and prevent major escalations
- Integrated Customer Service Management and Network Operations Management to maximise customer experience through end-to-end processes and shared information
- Seamless integration utilising industry APIs to collaborate with an ecosystem consisting of customers, partners, third parties and internal departments
Leading the way
The ANS team is currently engaging with numerous AltNets in the UK, helping them get on the path to service excellence. This is now seen as a critical component of a broader strategy to increase market size and achieve sustainable growth.
A key aspect of our approach is to use the TM Forum business process framework to map existing BSS/OSS systems to the appropriate areas of the business to understand gaps and weaknesses. From this, we work with our clients to develop transformation roadmaps to meet their respective business goals.
We believe that the AltNet industry has a unique opportunity to bring about significant changes in the way we communicate and connect, and ANS is committed to helping AltNet providers to achieve this.
Written by Dinuka Perera
2 minute read
3 April 2023
BMC Helix, delivered and supported by ANS Digital Transformation, is a comprehensive and integrated suite of SaaS solutions to support Customer and Service Assurance operations.
Used by over 70% of Global Tier 1 Communication Service Providers, the suite offers a wide range of AI driven Service Management capabilities out of the box including infrastructure monitoring, discovery, inventory, orchestration, ticketing, self-service and no-code custom workflow creation.
Digital Transformation Specialist
Dinuka is part of the digital transformation consulting team at ANS. His current focus is the UK AltNet market, leveraging his experience with major mobile and fixed line providers in Europe, and his knowledge of industry best practice and standards.