Sprint inks deal with ItsOn for cloud-based OSS/BSS functions

Sprint (NYSE: S) is going to use cloud-based OSS/BSS services from mobile services provider ItsOn, becoming the first carrier to use the company's new tools for traffic management and policy controls.

ItsOn just announced the commercial availability its "Smart Services" platform last week, and boasts that it lets carriers virtualize service policy control, billing and traffic-management functions for data, voice and texting services. ItsOn claims that the service will let operators offer more personalized and contextual services to customers as well as application-specific or focused plans.

The deal with Sprint appears to be a significant one, though the companies did not disclose a value of the multi-year contract. Sprint will be integrating the ItsOn cloud capabilities into its existing network architecture and the ItsOn Smart Service device software will be embedded in all new Sprint Android devices sold through all of the carrier's distribution channels going forward.

"Carriers have to become more creative to attract customers," ItsOn CEO Greg Raleigh told Bloomberg. "They have to adopt services that are more personal, more relevant. It has to be beyond pricing."

ItsOn is taking a unique approach in one sense in that it is virtualizing and putting in the cloud OSS/BSS functions, though that technique is part of the larger industry trend toward Network Function Virtualization, whereby hardware functions are being turned into software on carrier networks.

ItsOn says its cloud platform easily integrates with existing mobile network architectures to orchestrate all facets of OSS/BSS functions, which the company claims will let carriers deploy new services and plans in days or weeks rather than months. The platform uses a graphical user interface, making it easier for carriers to design and launch new services. Customers' phones will also have a self-car user interface that will let them manage and personalize their plans in real-time right from their phones.

Raleigh told Bloomberg Sprint will also announce new services using the ItsOn software in the coming weeks, and some of ItsOn's capabilities will be exclusive to Sprint in the U.S. "for a period of time," he said.

Interestingly, ItsOn claims it is currently working with "several" Tier 1 wireless carriers around the globe to upgrade their legacy OSS/BSS systems.

Sprint and ItsOn have worked together before, which likely helped the deal along. ItsOn's Zact MVNO runs on Sprint's network and makes use of ItsOn's cloud capabilities. Zact lets customers dynamically adjust their plans on the go, adding or dropping voice minutes, text messages or data as they see fit.

Other carriers have been making OSS/BSS moves recently. T-Mobile US (NYSE:TMUS) signed a long-term managed services agreement with Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC), which will provide T-Mobile with its Service Agility package, including unified charging, billing, order management, product catalog and customer relationship management (CRM). The update covers all branded T-Mobile and MetroPCS customers.

For more:
- see this release
- see this Bloomberg article

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