By Dan Blacharski
China Mobile, the largest mobile operator in China, has revenues of $23 billion. But China is not alone in the Asian nations; India and Japan both present enormous opportunities for telecom companies and OSS providers alike. India, in particular, has a rapidly growing middle class, and the need for telecom services in that country is particularly burgeoning.
At the Broadband World Forum Asia 2006 in Hong Kong, Michel Rahier, EVP and President of the Fixed Communications activities within Alcatel, stressed that the increasingly sophisticated services, such as IPTV and triple play, that are in demand throughout much of Asia must rely on an IP-based infrastructure. This infrastructure must be able to deliver the interactivity necessary for cutting-edge services, and also the necessary QoS levels.
Last month, the 6th Annual Asia Pacific Billing and Revenue Management Week took place in Bangkok, another event that underscores not only the emergence of telecom in the Asian countries, but also the importance of OSS systems to telecom companies that wish to participate in this huge market.
The Asian Marketplace
The Chinese telecom industry has grown more than 20 percent annually for the past decade. There's no disputing the enormity of the Chinese marketplace and the rapidly growing demand for wireless services. The upside of telcos doing business here is high, with growing demand and low penetration. The country has nowhere near the penetration of the United States in terms of telephone lines, yet China has 311.7 million main lines in use, compared to the US's 268 million; China has 334.8 million cell phones, compared to America's 194.5 million. According to Research in China, by the end of 2005 China had 111 million Internet users.
And Chinese users aren't just demanding plain vanilla phone service. The Asia-Pacific market in general, and China specifically, is a high-stakes market. Seventy percent of China Telecom customers in a recent survey indicated that they want IPTV. From a broader Asian perspective, the survey indicated that by 2010, half of all IPTV customers will be in Asia.
Chinese telcos are spending the money it takes to bring their OSS systems up to the level they need to be to accommodate this rapidly growing marketplace. Chinese telecom operators are investing more money in standards-based, flexible infrastructures, which allow them to take greater advantage
of 3G networks and deliver new and more sophisticated telecom services to their customers. Several international OSS and telecom companies have exhibited a strong