Why legacy billing restricts telco growth

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Legacy billing systems were built for legacy telco services and are too inflexible to deliver next-generation services. We explore how operators can modernise to unlock key benefits such as cost reduction, accelerated time to market and enhanced customer experience.

Laying the foundations for the new telco vision

There is a crucial need for holistic transformation

Central BSS processes, such as billing, charging and revenue management, form the foundation of daily operations, delivering crucial interactions between operator and customer. Although the predominant focus is often on the network and technology, operators must apply equal focus to transforming these critical processes. Neglecting this transformation alongside the cloudification of network infrastructure will work against operators’ efforts to differentiate themselves and monetise their investments.

To succeed in moving beyond legacy telco services, operators must embrace flexibility, agility, and collaboration, leveraging practices akin to technology companies (e.g. adopting a platform operating model, leveraging cloud technologies, providing digital experiences). This digital-first model will not only enable operators to collaborate across the ecosystem to deliver new services, but also meet rapidly changing consumer expectations, which are shaped by the simple and personalised interactions provided by digital giants like Amazon, Airbnb, and Uber. The substantial investment in 5G infrastructure to date underscores operators’ commitment to this growth opportunity. Upgrading and cloudifying network infrastructure provides operators the capabilities to deliver and monetise next-generation applications in the B2C market, such as cloud gaming and integrated fixed, mobile and IoT services to the home. It also facilitates verticalised B2B offerings, such as network slicing and remote patient monitoring, fostering a shift towards B2B2X co-innovation models.

However, realising the growth potential of operators’ technologies hinges on the transformation of fundamental IT support systems, such as billing and charging. Legacy revenue management systems were built to deliver batch billing processes and simple charging models, making them ill-equipped to deliver more complex services, support 5G-enabled business models and provide a high-quality customer experience. See the below graphic.

As operators upgrade their networks, it is imperative to reassess the requirements of their new telco vision

Source: STL Partners

Table of contents

  • Foreword
    • Methodology
    • Editorial independence
    • A message from our sponsor
  • Executive Summary
    • Recommendations for operators
  • Laying the foundations for the new telco vision
    • There is a crucial need for holistic transformation
    • Revenue management systems must be fit to support increasingly complex services
  • Legacy billing and telco growth: An oxymoron?
    • The complexity of legacy billing systems is a significant cost burden for operators and restricts their ability to innovate
    • To realise growth and eliminate complexity, operators need a fundamentally new approach to monetisation
  • Redefining charging and billing to support the 21st century agile operator
    • Reduce billing operational costs
    • Speed up time to market for new products and services
    • Improve customer experience
  • Conclusion
  • Recommendations for operators

Related research

Technologies and industry terms referenced include: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Miriam Sabapathy


Miriam Sabapathy


Miriam is a consultant at STL Partners working across a range of projects focusing on private networks, the impact of 5G across industry verticals and B2B growth strategies. Alongside this, she works within our private networks practice. Miriam holds a BA in Classics & Philosophy from Durham University.