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OSS vs BSS in Telecommunications: What’s the Difference and Why Does It Matter

OSS (Operations Support Systems) and BSS (Business Support Systems) are two IT systems that support various telecommunications services. These systems are made up of hardware and software tools and, ultimately, are at the centre of network operations and services. Below we unpack the difference between the two systems and answer the question, “How do OSS and BSS ensure network and operational efficiency?”.

What are OSS and BSS in Telecommunications?

To understand the importance of OSS and BSS within a Telco network, it’s essential to understand what these systems are and how Telecommunication Operators use them.

According to Gartner, an OSS (operations support systems) is a set of programs that help Telcos monitor, control and analyse the network and its behaviour. On the other hand, BSS (business support systems) refers to various software programmes that assist Telcos in managing and streamlining customer-facing services.

OSS technology is specifically used to support network planning, provisioning, service fulfilment and assurance. OSS allows a Telco to manage several operational functions, which include:

  • Network inventory
  • Fault management
  • Service provisioning
  • Configuration
  • Service assurance

Alternatively, BSS is often referred to as a business interface as it enables efficient interactions between Telcos and their customers, these interactions can vary from a response to resolving billing issues, to upgrading subscriptions or purchasing services and more. BSS allows Telcos to oversee and streamline the following customer-related activities:

  • Billing  
  • Customer orders
  • Subscriptions
  • Customer notifications
  • Service fulfilment
  • Revenue management
  • Product Marketing
  • Customer relationship management (CRM)

Understanding the Differences between OSS and BSS

When explaining the difference between these two critical systems, we like to think of OSS as the back-end support system behind all the operational activities within a mobile network. On the other hand, BSS is the front-end or customer-facing system that ensures the customers have a great customer experience across all operations, services and solutions. The table below highlights the differences between these two systems in more detail:

 OSS (operations support systems)

  • OSS helps Telcos oversee and manage technical and operations activities.
  • Allows Telcos to remotely manage and monitor day-to-day operations, maintenance issues, and activities across the entire network.
  • Supports service management functions, internal processes and infrastructure.
  • Enables the monitoring, analysis, and automation of operations, from network and internal system performance to fault management.
  • Monitor, identify, and alert Telcos to any critical network problems that must be managed.

BSS (business support systems)

  • BSS allows Telcos to manage and oversee customer-facing business activities.
  • This system allows a Telco to simplify workflows, monitor service quality, and resolve customer issues quickly.
  • Supports the management of orders, billing, customer engagement, revenue, products and services.
  • Streamlines customer-related services, from billing and order processing to subscription notifications and self-service.
  • Provides access to customer and business performance insights that assist Telcos in monitoring business performance, predicting outcomes and trends, and making informed decisions.

The Importance of OSS and BSS for Telcos

From the above, it is clear that OSS and BSS fill very specific and different roles for a Telecommunication Operator. These roles are essential to the functionality of the network and its operations and are necessary for providing excellent customer service. Let’s unpack this in more detail below.

Effective BSS and OSS systems offer many different benefits for Telcos, especially in revenue generation. These systems often work hand in hand. For example, an OSS can onboard customers to a network and ensure connectivity. The BSS will then ensure that the customer is billed correctly and provide them with information related to personalised offers and promotions that meet their needs. In this way, both systems ensure a great customer experience.

Both software solutions also add a layer of security to the network. For example, an OSS can detect outages in the network and mitigate this by ensuring that customer connectivity is maintained through redundancy within the network. Similarly, BSS can be used to attempt to stop fraudulent behaviours from customers and manage this to ensure minimal losses.

Without both systems in place, Telcos would have difficulty managing the network’s day-to-day operations and maintenance requirements. This would have a knock-on effect resulting in poor performance, delays, connectivity issues and ultimately, a negative customer experience. If this does occur, many customers are likely to churn, significantly impacting revenue and profitability.

The Future OSS and BSS

There is no doubt that both systems are necessary for a Telco’s success, but one of the many challenges is that these systems are often run in silos. The result is missed opportunities for network improvement and enhancing customer experience. What is the solution?

The answer lies in one integrated OSS/BSS solution that works with each other to ensure maximum operational efficiency within the network and the best possible outcome for customer services and offerings. When both systems are integrated or share data that can be accurately collated, valuable insight into their unique operations can be drawn which in turn leads to a Telco having the ability to make data-informed business decisions focused on increasing revenue and growing the business.


OSS and BSS are imperative to enabling a successful Telco. Both of these systems aim to ensure that every aspect of the network and customer service is managed optimally and efficient to improve customer experience, reduce churn and increase revenue. Globally we are seeing a move towards integrating both systems to create more visibility and enhance control surrounding issues or opportunities that may impact the network and its customers. Choosing the right solutions provider, is critical to this success. This is an exciting space to watch, and we are excited to see what trends emerge within the OSS/BSS space over the next few years.

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