By Kerbey Altmann & Roger Thompson
The Vital Role of OSS in Taming Commercial Services
According to Cable Datacomm News, the market for commercial telecom services is estimated at more than $120 billion dollars. It is also estimated that cable operators stand to earn more than $1 billion dollars this year from commercial services offerings.
Beyond the numbers, the impetus for operators to launch is straightforward – commercial markets represent a largely untapped audience from which operators can generate new revenue streams and subscriber growth. As various telephony operators have found for years, commercial customers also tend to produce more significant profit margins than do residential subscribers. It may also be argued that with major ILECs investing heavily in bundled DSL offerings and triple-play roll outs to compete head-on with cable, an aggressive entrance into commercial markets stands as a logical counterstroke for MSOs to combat ILECs in their traditional domains.
Looking deeper into the competitive landscape, it becomes apparent that taking on ILECs in the large enterprise segment is not the most sensible first step. Though there may be such opportunities in the long term, in the short term such a strategy would not be feasible due to the complexity of requirements, geographic range of the customer, and provider loyalty or contractual obligation. Further, many large enterprise locations – particularly those based in industrial and commercial zones – are not immediately accessible to existing cable plant.
For years, however, ILECs have overlooked small and medium businesses in their effort to focus on large enterprises. For a large, slow-moving ILEC, small and medium businesses represent a difficult challenge because of their need for personalized support and more flexible service offerings. In most cases, the heavy-duty transport ILECs offer is overkill for such customers, and their lack of attention on customer experience is a hindrance. Just as some CLECs - for whom the regulatory playing