What are OSS and BSS systems in telecom?

If you work in telecoms you may have come across the terms OSS and BSS before. These two terms are often used together but they are different from each other. OSS and BSS are network entities or systems that represent the operational and business sides of the telecom networks respectively. Let’s have a quick look to find out what these entities are and what they do in mobile telecoms.

OSS stands for Operations Support Systems and refers to a system consisting of specialised software and hardware to monitor, analyse, configure and manage the operational activities within a mobile network. BSS stands for Business Support Systems which is a system responsible for handling customer-facing business aspects.

What is OSS?

OSS stands for Operations Support Systems (also known as Operational Support Systems), and it refers to a system consisting of specialised software and hardware to monitor, analyse, configure and manage all the operational activities within a mobile network. OSS is usually provided by the mobile network vendors who also build the network equipment. The OSS typically controls both radio and core network components of a mobile network. The deliverables of OSS mainly include network performance, fault management, configuration, provisioning of new services, network inventory and service assurance.

OSS is a vital part of the network architecture for any mobile network. It enables a mobile operator to manage the day-to-day operations and maintenance activities within the network. OSS is a combination of specialised software tools hosted on dedicated servers and is deeply integrated into the overall mobile network, i.e. radio and core networks. The network status and performance is monitored from a centralised office. With OSS, the network components can be controlled remotely, and the information can be captured from all of these network elements. The information is then presented in a readable format including network KPI reports and other similar analyses.

What is BSS?

BSS stands for Business Support Systems which is a system responsible for handling customer-facing business aspects. The activities that come under this umbrella include billing, service fulfilment, revenue management, customer management, order management, product catalogues and charging, etc. The focus is on the business side of the network rather than the technology side. The BSS works alongside Operations Support Systems (OSS), and it is also a key part of the network solution available from network vendors. Most mobile network vendors provide both OSS and BSS as part of one solution. Usually, the solution comprises CRM, ordering, charging, billing, self-service, product catalogue and even partner/dealer management capabilities which are all required for the general business operations. The information can also be used to create reports for the management teams as well as for individual teams, within an operator, that deal with the activities supported by the BSS.

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