April 29, 2008 1:18 PM BST
For so long BSS/OSS was hailed by vendors as a competitive differentiator for Service Providers. Well that myth has long gone. And yes we have seen a consolidation to only a small number of credible players particularly in the Tier 1 space. There is no longer the money in the telco industry to encourage new entrants. Would you invest many millions of dollars building a better telco billing engine today? The risk is high, the competition strong and the potential rewards small. I agree with Ken Jones, billing is being commoditized. So where will the next generation of billers come from? In my view multi-industry billing engines will provide the spark for innovation by increasing the available revenue pool and providing a viable financial case for new development. Billing systems that can be configured for telco, utilities, airports/airlines, transport etc will provide new options. The question is can a billing engine that has the required flexibility and configurability be built? Companies like MetraTech believe that, if they aren't already there then they are well on the way. I hope so. We need innovation in all aspects of this industry to keep it humming!