Service providers are planning to expand their prepaid offerings to include services that are traditionally offered only to post paid customers, a research sponsored by customer experience systems provider Amdocs has found.
Conducted by analyst firm Ovum, the report reveals that nearly half of the service providers polled said they needed to make moderate to large changes to their business and operational support systems (B/OSS) in order to answer the technical challenges involved in expanding prepaid services.
''Prepaid wireless services are becoming even more prevalent around the world. Ovum forecasts prepaid will grow from 75 per cent of total connections worldwide in 2010 to 77 per cent by 2015,'' said Sara Kaufman, analyst at Ovum.
73 per cent of respondents said they would like to expand prepaid offerings or have already begun doing so. Services that are being added include mobile data and content services, such as application downloads, mobile broadband and messaging.
The research further found that 47 per cent of respondents already offer high-demand consumer devices, such as smartphones and other mobile broadband devices, to prepaid customers.
63 per cent of respondents, primarily North American and European service providers, said they were already offering hybrid (a mixture of prepaid and postpaid) payment models to customers. Providing more service and payment choices and increasing customer loyalty are driving service providers' move towards hybrid service offerings, the company said in a statement.
As far as the B/OSS systems are concerned the research showed:
- 47 per cent of service providers said their prepaid strategy would require moderate to large changes to their B/OSS systems to address technical challenges.
Inability of their B/OSS systems to support fast time to market of new offerings was the technical challenge cited most frequently by respondents. Additional challenges cited include charging performance and integration of charging systems with CRM and legacy systems.
- 67 per cent of those polled are in the process of implementing changes to accommodate new prepaid service capabilities with an additional 33 per cent planning to implement changes within the next 12 to 24 months.
- 38 per cent of service providers interviewed have deployed a convergent charging system or are in negotiations for one.
- An additional 23 per cent said they were planning to deploy a convergent charging system within the next five years.
Rebecca Prudhomme, vice president of product and solutions marketing at Amdocs, said, ''Service providers that can offer customers a broader choice of services will drive customers to use more services, increasing customer stickiness and spend.''
The research is based on qualitative interviews of senior executives from 19 service providers in Europe, North America and Asia-Pacific.