The two telcos say using open source software allows them flexible options for their networks to meet demands for new services besides freeing them from high licensing costs related to proprietary software.
“The implementation has brought down the need for licensing of software as well as the manpower requirement that has to be actually trained by these IT partners of ours,” said Alpna J Doshi, chief information officer at RCom. She said sustaining licensed software is costly.
Open Source software are commonly free with availability of the source code for the community, adopter and end user to study and modify as per their needs.
Proprietary software typically prohibits access to modification of the source, and are usually available through licensing which comes at a cost.
Both RCom and MTS are using open-source software for their Business Support Systems (BSS) like billing & CRM, data and voice value-added services, applications, tele-databases and Virtualization of the server system.
MTS India chief information officer Rajeev Batra said freeware, or open source software, has helped the company reduce development plus applications management costs.
If put financial value to open source (replaced with packaged software), then it can be estimated to be around 20% of the overall software cost within MTS India, he said.
Rcom’s Doshi said roughly 20% software within the company are open source and that mass scale adoption of such software would happen over the next two years. “Mobility and fault management applications which are currently on remedy perhaps can be migrated to open source, as industry evolves and matures enough to have higher level of maintenance,” she said.
Their move comes at a time when the central government has mandated that all of its software requirements should be met through open source. In cases when proprietary software is adopted, the concerned department needs to justify the reasons for the same.
Top telecom operators Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular declined to participate in the story.
Analysts reckon that open source is a step in right direction for telcos as it helps them achieve faster time-to-market, significant reduction in principal expenses and stronger mobility offerings.
Sanchit Vir Gogia, chief analyst & group CEO at Greyhound Research, said the prime benefit of adopting open source approach for telcos is that such software can be altered as per the outcomes required.