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Telecom Billing Introduction

Sending voice, data, picture, fax, etc., from one point to another using electronic media is termed as telecommunication and in short it terms as telecom. Examples include Phone, Radio, Television and Internet. The medium of transmission includes Wire (Copper , !i"er #ptics, Ether ($ireless , Radio to$ers, %icro$ave, Satellite, etc. Toda&, ever&"od& is using phones (%o"ile ' (and (ine and same time numerous services provided "& telecom operators. To name, follo$ing are fe$ international phone companies) Nokia Samsung Panasonic Blackberry Motorola (et me list do$n fe$ international telecom operators, $ho are providing satisfactor& telecom services to their customers) Verizon Vodafone Airtel TATA Etisalat Qtel (et me also list do$n fe$ "asic telecom services "eing provided "& various $ell *no$n telecom operators) Voice Call a! Ser"ice SMS # MMS $nternet Connection %ata %o&nload and '(load Video Conferencing $P based ser"ices) i*e*) "oice o"er $P or VPN Telecom operators are charging their customers in various $a&s, "ut there are t$o mainl& used parameters to charge a customer) Rental Charges) These are the charges ta*en from the customers on monthl& "asis against a service provided. !or example, &our telephone monthl& charges $ould "e +,.-- regardless &ou use it or not. Usage Charges) These are the charges ta*en from the customers "ased on the service utili.ation. !or example, &ou $ould "e charged for all the calls made or data do$nloaded using &our phone.

/part from monthl& rental and usage charges, operators ma& charge &ou for service initiation, installation, service suspension or termination as $ell. Telecom 0illing is a process of collecting usage, aggregating it, appl&ing re1uired usage and rental charges and finall& generating invoices for the customers. Telecom 0illing process also includes receiving and recording pa&ments from the customers.

Billing Systems
There could "e ver& complex charging scenarios, $hich $ould "e difficult to handle manuall&. There are state2of2the2art 0illing S&stems availa"le in soft$are mar*et $hich handle "illing tas*s ver& efficientl& and provide lots of flexi"ilities to service providers to offer their services $ith different price structures. 0illing s&stems are often vie$ed as accounts receiva"le as the "illing s&stem assists in the collection (receipt of mone& from customers. 0illing s&stems are also part of accounts pa&a"le (for inter2carrier settlements as customers often use services from other companies such as $ireless roaming, long distance, and call completion through other net$or*s. 0illing s&stems are high end, relia"le and expensive soft$ares, $hich provide various functionalities. 3ere is a list of most important features "ut not limited to the follo$ing) Rating & billing: This involves rating the products or services usage and producing monthl& "ills. Payment processing: This involves posting of the customer pa&ments to customer4s account. Credit control and collections: This involves chasing the outstanding pa&ments and ta*ing appropriate actions to get the pa&ments. Disputes and adjustments: This involves recording an& customer disputes against their "ills and creating ad5ustments to refund the disputed amount in order to settle the disputes. Pre-pay and post-pay services: This involves supporting "oth pre2paid and post2 paid customer "ase. Multilingual & multiple currencies: %ultilingual and multiple currencies support is re1uired if the "usiness is spread across the glo"e and have multinational customers or if the government regulations demand for it. Inter-carrier settlements: This involves sharing of revenue "et$een carriers that provide services to each other4s customers. Products & services: This involves providing flexi"le $a& to maintain various products and services and sell them individuall& or in pac*ages. Discount applications: This involves defining various discount schemes in order to reduce customer churn and attract and increase customer "ase.

Billing Types

When &ou drill do$n "illing su"5ect, it "ecomes more complicated. I $ould tr& to cover most of the concepts later in this tutorial, "ut let us have a "road vie$ on $idel& used "illing t&pes) Pre-pay illing: / "illing mechanism $here customer pa&s in advance and after that starts using a service. 6suall&, prepaid customers do not receive an& invoice and the& are charged in real time "& the highl& availa"le "illing s&stems called $N +$ntelligent Net&ork,* Post-pay illing: This is the conventional "illing, $hich is coming for man& &ears. 3ere, customers "u& products and services and use them throughout the month, and "& end of the month, invoices are generated "& the service provider and sent those invoices to the customers to ma*e their due pa&ment. Interconnect illing: The net$or* operator is usuall& financiall& responsi"le for services provided to its customers "& other net$or*s regardless of $hether or not the customer pa&s for the service. Interconnect "illing is related to inter2carrier or sometime called partner settlements. Roaming Charging: When a customer goes from one net$or* operator4s coverage area to another operator4s coverage area, first operator $ould pa& marginal charges to second operator to provide services to their customers. Such t&pes of charges are settled through roaming "illing. Convergent illing: Convergent "illing is the integration of all service charges onto a single customer invoice. Convergent "illing means creating a unified vie$ of the customer and all services (%o"ile, !ixed, IP, etc., provided to that customer.

Billing System Vendors


0illing S&stems are the "ac*"one of an& telecom operator. If operators do not have a strong "illing s&stem, then it $ould not "e possi"le for them to offer their products and services $ith attractive promotions and deals and ultimatel& the& can not stand in toda&4s competitive and d&namic mar*et. 7ou can find thousands of vendors, $ho are selling their "illing products $ith a claim of lot of features, "ut there are fe$ in the mar*et $hich are reall& good and most commonl& used !ystem Con"ergys $-B Amdocs Ensemble AMS Ta(estry .enan Arbor Sa"ille Systems Single Vie& Portal $nfranet "ebsite http)88$$$.converg&s.com http)88$$$.amdocs.com http)88$$$.amsinc.com8telecom8 http)88$$$.*enan.com8 http)88$$$.savilles&s.com8 http)88$$$.intec"illing.com http)88$$$.portal.com

Ericsson $N

http)88$$$.ericsson.com

Nokia Siemens $N http)88$$$.no*iasiemensnet$or*s.com

Telecom Billing - System Architecture


!ollo$ing diagram sho$s t&pical architecture of a 0illing S&stem. 3ere, $e have t$o possi"ilities) CR% (Customer Relationship %anagement 8#%#! (#rder %anagement and #rder !ulfillment s&stem contacts $ith the "illing s&stem and "illing s&stem contacts $ith provisioning s&stem to provision the services and net$or* inventor& s&stem as $ell to assign phone num"ers or IP addresses, etc. Second possi"ilit& could "e that CR%8#%#! s&stem itself contacts $ith provisioning s&stem to provision the services and net$or* inventor& s&stem as $ell to assign phone num"ers or IP addresses, etc.

Typical Billing Process

Considering a"ove s&stem architecture, /fter a call is made or &ou can sa& a usage is generated "& the end customer, the mediation s&stem gathers usage data from the net$or* s$itch and "uilds a call2detail record (C9R . This C9R must contain / part& num"er and 0 part& num"er, the start and end date ' times.

The C9R is then stored until it can "e rated. To rate the call, the C9R is examined to see if the call is, for example, a :-- num"er, a local call that is covered "& a local2 area calling plan, international call or a toll call. Information such as the time of the call $as placed and cit& code or countr& codes are used to calculate the rate for the call. #nce each call is rated, this information is stored until the invoice is run, usuall& once a month. When the invoice is run, other nonusage charges, such as discounts or monthl& fees, can "e applied to the "ill or sometime called invoice. There could "e rating time discount or "illing time discount, different pa&ments done "& the customers, different ad5ustments given, all this information contri"utes in final invoice generation. This information is then converted in a format, $hich can "e printed in a reada"le form. !inall&, the envelope is printed, stuffed $ith enclosures, and mailed to the end customer.

Billing System Requirements


/ "illing s&stem should "e composed of a series of independent applications that, $hen run together, are referred to as the "illing s&stem. / good "illing s&stem should provide the follo$ing ma5or functionalities $ith a depth of flexi"ilit&) Customer-inter#ace Management: The "illing s&stem must "e a"le to handle customer2initiated contact, oversee out"ound customer contact, and manage the contact life c&cle. $rder Management: It is a "asic functionalit&, $hich should "e availa"le in a t&pical "illing s&stem. 0illing s&stem should "e capa"le enough to capture product ' service order and manage the order2entr& life c&cle, and oversee the order2completion life c&cle. !ales and Mar%eting: / satisfactor& "illing s&stem should ans$er customer 1uer&, handle commissions, provide sales support, trac* prospects, manage campaigns, anal&.e product performance, and ac1uire multiple d$elling units. Rate Plans and Rating: 0illing s&stems must manage a variet& of products and services, different rate plans associated $ith those products and services and should provide flexi"le $a&s to rate usage generated "& those products and services. Discounting: S&stem should "e capa"le of giving various t&pes of discounts on different usages and rentals. Invoicing: It is important that the s&stem performs "illing in1uir&, generate "ills, process deposits, perform account administration, maintain tax and fee information, process financial information. Credit Control & Collection: 0illing s&stem should control usage and revenue "& assigning different credit classes to different customers. S&stem should support pa&ment collection and appl&ing them on different invoices. Multilingual !upport: %ultilingual support involves providing invoices and customer care services in multiple languages. Multiple Currencies: %ultiple currencies used in different countries can complicate the "illing s&stem as the "illing and customer care s&stem must "e capa"le of recording and processing in units of multiple currencies.

Partner revenue management: Partner revenue management is the sharing of revenue "et$een carriers that provide services to each other4s customers. Problem &andling: 0illing s&stems should also "e a"le to manage trou"le2tic*et entr&, coordinate trou"le2tic*et closure, and trac* the resolution progress of a trou"le tic*et. Per#ormance Reporting: / satisfactor& s&stem $ill provide performance reporting, ensure 1ualit&2of2service (;oS reporting, create management reports, and generate regulator& reports. Installation and Maintenance: The s&stem should also provide $or*force scheduling and manage activities performed at the customer premises. 'uditing & !ecurity: / "illing s&stem should perform data audits and integrit& chec*s. / secure s&stem is al$a&s desira"le for an operator. /part from the a"ove functionalities, a good "illing s&stem should "e) /ccelerating time2to2mar*et for ne$ service launches. Ena"ling convergent vie$ of customers and products. Supporting cost2efficient architectural scala"ilit&. Ena"ling partner relationship management and settlement. Reducing total cost of o$nership.

TELEC ! BILLI"# - PR $%CTS & SERVICES


If an& telecom operator li*e /irtel, <odafone, <eri.on, 0T, etc., thin*s to set up a "illing s&stem, the& $ould thin* to have their products and services defined "& their sales and mar*eting department first and then setting up the "illing s&stem. "hat is a product( / product is a logical or ph&sical entit&, $hich can "e sold out to an end customer "& the operators. This could "e a mo"ile phone, internet connection, <oice call connection, <P=, <ideo on demand, 9igital T< connection, etc. / product can have their monthl& rental, $hich $e call periodic charges also. / product can "e usage generating product or non2usage generating product. / usage generating product is sometime called event generating product and non2usage generating product is also called non2event generating product. !or example, voice call connection, $hich comes along $ith a phone num"er, is a usage generating product "ecause it generates usage $henever end customer uses this product to ma*e a voice call. / simple phone set $ithout a connection is a non2 usage generating product and it could "e given to a customer "ased on monthl& rent onl&. So even if customer is not using it, customer has to pa& monthl& rental. "hat is a service( When $e tal* a"out them from mar*eting point of vie$, as such there is no difference in "et$een products and services "ecause most of the times "oth are used interchangea"l& "& different "illing and mar*eting experts.

Simpl& sa&ing an operator uses their product to provide voice services to their customers. /n international call can "e called a service provided using a voice call connection. /nother example could "e :-- num"er call ma& or ma& not "e availa"le through a particular operator, call $aiting, call for$ard could "e said a service provided "& a model of a phone set or "& an operator. This tutorial $ill use Product and !ervice terms interchangea"l&. >eeping it simple, Products are items that customers can either "u& outright or lease. Products ma& "e) Real o"5ects (a mo"ile phone, for example . Services (a call $aiting service on a telephone s&stem, for example . %ore a"stract concepts (a service level agreement, for example . Product )amilies: Related products can "e grouped together into a product famil&. %ultiple levels of products are possi"le, so a product can "e "oth a parent and a child at the same time. In addition, each product famil& can have more than one parent product if re1uired. Examples of product families are) Tele(/ony ser"ices Cable TV $nternet 0eased 0ine *roup o# Products+ i,e,+ Pac%ages: %an& a times, operators "undle more than one product into a single group and sell them as complete pac*age. There are "illing s&stems, $hich support "undling of various t&pes of products together as a pac*age, $hich can "e offered at discounted price. Pac*ages allo$ a product to "e offered to a customer at a reduced price if it is ta*en as part of a pac*age. Each pac*age can consist of an& num"er of products and these products can "e ta*en from more than one product famil&. This pac*age price plan for a product is usuall& different to its comparison (that is, non2pac*age price plan, as this is ho$ the compan& offers a discount to the customer for "u&ing the complete pac*age. 3o$ever, this is not mandator&, as a product can have one of its normal price plans assigned to it $ithin a pac*age. Products 'ttributes: / product can have a num"er of attri"utes associated $ith them. Product attri"utes allo$ information a"out individual product instances to "e held $here the relevant information differs "et$een t&pes of product. !or example, a pa& T< product ma& have an attri"ute recording its set2top "ox num"er. !or example, a mo"ile phone product ma& need attri"utes to record the International %o"ile Su"scri"er Identit& (I%SI and %o"ile Station International IS9= =um"er (%SIS9= . Product -vent .ypes:

/ product can have a num"er of event t&pes associated $ith it. These event t&pes govern the events that can "e generated "& the product. !or example, a mo"ile phone product could have event t&pes such as voice calls and messaging services. There could "e man& more event t&pes associated $ith a single phone device and operator can charge end customer for each of the event generated "& the customer. illing !ystem Perspective: #nce &our mar*eting department finali.ed all the products, services, pac*ages and associated prices, the& are configured in the "illing s&stem. 9ifferent "illing s&stems provide different levels of flexi"ilities of defining products and their hierarchies in terms of parent, child and grandchild products. Some s&stems are flexi"le enough to support pac*ages and "undles and fe$ provide limited functionalities related to pac*ages and discounted prices. Some s&stems *eep product catalogues separatel& from the price catalogues to provide "etter modular approach and some "illing s&stems com"ine products descriptions, their features and associated prices altogether.

TELEC ! BILLI"# - TARI'' PLA""I"#


%ar*eting department in a telecom operator compan& $or*s hard to define rental ' usage charges for different products and services. These charges are defined *eeping other competitors and regulator& in mind. 0roadl& spea*ing, there are t$o t&pes of tariffs, also called rate or price plans, depending terminolog& used in different "illing s&stem. There could "e different t&pes of charges to "e applied for a product and associated services. !or a given product, an operator can define one or more of the follo$ing charges, "ut the& are not limited to onl& these charges, there could "e some other t&pe of charges depending on countr&, location and "usiness situation) Product Initiation Charges: These are one2time charges, $hich can "e ta*en from the customer as a part of installation, activation, service or initiating a connection. Product Periodic Charges: These are the charges, $hich can "e applied on monthl& or "i2monthl& or &earl& "asis as a rental of the product and service provided. Product .ermination Charges: These are the charges, $hich can "e applied on termination of the product and service. Product !uspension Charges: These are the charges, $hich can "e applied if a product is suspended "ecause of some reason? for example, non2pa&ment. Product !uspension Periodic Charges: There could "e a re1uirement to charge a customer periodicall& even if a customer is suspended "ecause of some reason. Product Re-activation Charges: /ssuming a product $as suspended due to some reason and no$ it needs its activation, an operator can appl& re2activation charges for this service.

Product Usage Charges: This is most important t&pe of charge, $hich $ould "e applied "ased on the usage of the service. !or example, call per minute or per second, data do$nload per %0, etc. /ll the a"ove charges are defined (i.e., configured in different tariff catalogues inclusive or exclusive of applica"le tax depending on regulator&. These catalogues var& from a "illing s&stem to "illing s&stem. Some "illing s&stems *eep all the prices in a single catalogue and some "illing s&stems *eep usage charges separate from other charges. These catalogues are maintained in the "illing s&stem, "ut the& are also made availa"le to front end s&stem so that different tariffs can "e applied to the customer $hile creating customer account. /ll the prices are defined "ased on products and their pac*ages as $ell. There could "e different com"inations of products giving different prices in different pac*ages. !ollo$ing section $ould give &ou an idea on different concepts, $hich are closel& related to tariff definition)

In-'dvance & In-'rrear Charges: There ma& "e situation, $hen an operator $ould li*e to charge their customers in advance for some services and in the end of ever& month for some services. Charges ta*en in advance "efore providing the services are called in2advance charging and charges ta*en after providing the services are called in2arrear charges. !or in2arrears charging, the product charges are applied for a period up to at least the da& "efore the current nominal "ill date (or "ill re1uest date for non2periodic "ills . So $hile configuring different charges, "illing s&stem should give a provision to configure charges in advance and it is al$a&s optional for the operators if the& $ant to configure a particular price in2advance or in2arrears. N1TE2 6sage charges can not "e ta*en in advance until the& are lump2sum "ecause &ou never *no$ ho$ much usage a customer is going to generate in coming month. If the& are lump2sum amount, then &ou can ta*e that amount in advance and let the customer use unlimited "ased on their re1uirement. Proratable & /on-Proratable Charges: Consider a situation, $hen a customer ta*es phone connection in the middle of the month and his invoice needs to "e generated on @st of ever& month. If prices are non2 prorata"le, "illing s&stem $ould charge the customer for the $hole month $hich $ould not "e fair $ith the customer. Same appl& at the termination, if customer terminates a service in the middle of the month, and then operator ma& not "e $illing to charge the customer for rest of the month. Pro2rata"le pricing means that the& $ould appl& onl& for the num"er of da&s customer is going to use the service. !or example, if monthl& product rental is +Aand customer used this product for @- da&s onl&, then "illing s&stem should charge the customer onl& +@- for those @- da&s. So "illing s&stem should provide an option to configure particular prices to "e pro2 rata"le as $ell as non2prorata"le and let the operator choose $hat suites them "est. Re#undable & /on-Re#undable Charges:

=o$, let us consider a situation $here an operator is charging a customer in advance for the $hole month, "ut customer leaves in the middle of the month after using a service for @- da&s. If prices $ere configured as non2refunda"le, then the& $ould not "e refunded to the customer, "ut if the& $ere configured as refunda"le, then the& $ould "e refunded to the customer. Second rule, if prices $ere configured as pro2rata"le, then the& $ould "e refunded "ased on pro2ration other$ise the& $ould "e refunded as a $hole. Charge $verriding $ption: / good "illing s&stem provides an option to override "ase prices at the time the& are given to the customer. !or example, for a particular product "ase prices in the catalogue are defined +A- per month "ut customer is not read& to pa& +A- per month, and "ased on some "argaining, he is read& to pa& +B, per month. In such situation, customer service representative (CSR should "e a"le to override defined "ase price +A- and add them as +B, at the time of customer creation in the s&stem. 0illing s&stem should give an optional provision to the operators if a particular price can "e overridden or not and let the operators decide if the& $ant to override some charges at the time of sale or the& are fixed in all the situation. Revenue !egregation by Revenue Codes: /ll the operators $ould li*e to *no$ ho$ much the& have earned using a particular product, its rental, suspension or usage, etc. While defining different prices in the catalogue, "illing s&stem should give a provision to associate some *ind of revenue codes or *e&$ords $ith different t&pes of charges. This helps in generating different reports "ased on the codes associated $ith the revenue. .ari##s Classi#ication: /n operator ma& define different tariffs, $hich can "e offered to different people having different credit classes. !or example, a ,m"ps data line at a cost of +@-- per month can "e offered to a customer having monthl& income more than +@---8month and a @m"ps data line can "e offered to a customer having minimum monthl& income +,--8month. /ll the "illing s&stems give options to define different credit classes, $hich can "e assigned to customers "ased on their credit histor& and income and ma& "e "ased on some other parameters defined "& the operator. /ll the products and services can have different tariff plans, $hich can "e offered to different classes of people ranging from general class to <IP class. Parameters #or Usage Charges: There are num"er of parameters, $hich can "e used $hile defining usage charges. !or example) Calls in da&time, usuall& called pea* time, $ill "e charged on higher rate and in night time, i.e., off pea* time rate $ill "e relativel& lo$.

If calls are terminating $ithin the same net$or*, usuall& called on2net calls, $ould "e charged at relativel& lo$ prices. Calls during $ee*end, i.e., Sat and Sun $ould "e charged at lo$ prices. Calls to a particular destination $ould "e charged at high prices. Calls during some festival $ould "e charged at special prices. 9ata do$nload from a particular site $ould "e free of cost. Sending S%S to a particular code $ould "e charged at high rate. Calls $ith2in a particular group of num"ers, usuall& called closed user group (C6C , $ould "e charged at .ero prices. Sending international or national %%S $ould "e charged at the same prices. 0illing s&stems provide lots of flexi"ilit& to define various such rules to charge voice, data, S%S or %%S usage generated "& the customer.

TELEC ! BILLI"# - C%ST !ER AC(%ISITI "


/ customer is a Dlegal entit&D (that can "e either an individual or a compan& that ta*es the products and services offered "& the service provider and responsi"le for pa&ing the "ills. In a residential "illing scenario, a customer might "e a single householder. In a "usiness "illing scenario, a customer might "e a corporation. Individual customers: /n individual customer is a single person (or household , $ho "u&s one or more products and pa& the "ills. There $ould not "e an& hierarch& re1uired to maintain customer or account. Company customers: / compan& customer is a single compan& or "ranch of a compan&. There could "e a t&pical parent and child t&pe of customer hierarch& representing different "ranches or departments of the compan&. Customer 'c0uisition Process: Customer /c1uisition is the process of identif&ing, attracting and retaining potentiall& profita"le customers. This is handled using a s&stem called Customer Relationship %anagement (CR% , $hich is one of the important "usiness support s&stem (0SS . / CR% s&stem $ould al$a&s "e connected $ith various s&stems including 0illing S&stem and feeds customer personal data, product and service information to the "illing s&stem. / customer, $ho is purchasing the products ' services, needs to "e activated in the s&stem and for this various details a"out the customer are re1uired) The customer ma& have to fill up an application form providing personal details. <alidate the identit& of the customer in order to prevent fraud. Service Provider needs to carr& out a credit chec* on the customer and assign appropriate credit class "ased on credit histor& and monthl& income, etc. #ffer appropriate products, $hich are provisioned at the net$or* to provide the service. #nce the customer is ac1uired, it is re1uired to manage and retain the customer $hich involves)

Interacting ' communicating $ith the customer for sales and collection activities. These interactions can "e recorded in different formats li*e =otes, voice recordings, etc. This data can "e used to anal&.e the "ehavior of the customer and helps the service provider to "etter services in order to retain the customer 3andling trou"le tic*ets raised "& the customer against an& pro"lem the& face $ith the net$or* or invoice, etc. This data can also "e used to anal&.e the "ehavior of the customer and helps the service provider for the "etterment of the services in order to retain the customer. 3andling an& "ill disputes and ad5ustments raised in "et$een the customer and service provider.

Customer 1i#e Cycle / t&pical customer life c&cle is sho$n "elo$ in the follo$ing diagram)

/ll the phases comprising a customer life c&cle are "riefed here) Customer -ngagement: The customer contacts the CSR (Customer Service Representative and the CSR engages the customer $ith the various products and services offered "& selling them to the customer. $rder Creation and #ul#illment: The customer ta*es the product(s and services(s and the CSR creates and completes the order into the s&stem $hich is then fulfilled "& suppl&ing re1uired product and services to the customer. !ervice Provisioning: The products and services are provisioned at the net$or* using a s&stem called Provisioning S&stem. The Provisioning S&stem

informs the net$or* a"out the customer4s information and the services the& are authori.ed to use. In fact, this activates the customer on the net$or*. Products Utili2ation: #nce the customer is activated on the net$or*, the customer starts using the products ' services, li*e ma*ing a call or data do$nload, etc. Products and services usage is Rated & illed: Customer usage is collected from the net$or* and then it is rated "ased on the defined rate plans and "illed to appl& product rentals and re1uired discounts, ad5ustments, etc. ill Delivery: #nce a "ill is generated, it is delivered to the end customer demanding for the revenue against the services provided. ill Payments: Customer ma*es the pa&ments against the received invoices. Dunning & Collection: There ma& "e man& customers, $ho $ill not pa& their "ills on time. !or such t&pe of customers, different dunning letters are sent to remind them a"out their pa&ment. If customer does not pa& on time, then different collections are ta*en starting from stopping customer service one "& one. Customer .ermination: There ma& "e various reasons $hen it is re1uired to terminate a customer in the s&stem. !or example, customer ma& "e migrating to different location, or customer ma& not "e happ& $ith the services provided, etc. #n a given date, total num"er of active customers in the s&stem are called customer "ase. /dding a customer into the s&stem, terminating a customer from the s&stem, I mean customer addition and deletion in the customer "ase, is called customer churn. Customer .ypes: T&picall&, there are follo$ing t&pes of customers in toda&4s telecom mar*et) Mobile Pre-Paid Customers: These are the customers, $ho use %o"ile services "& pa&ing their charges in advance. !or example, CS%, CPRS phone users. These customers recharge their phone "ased on their re1uirement. Mobile Post-Paid Customers: These are the customers, $ho use %o"ile services "& pa&ing their charges after ever& invoice the& receive. !or example, CS%, CPRS phone users. These customers pa& their "ills on monthl& or "i2 monthl& "asis. )i3ed Pre-Paid Customers: These are the customers, $ho use !ixed line, i.e., landline services "& pa&ing their charges in advance. !or example, PST=, Wi%ax phone users. These customers recharge their phone "ased on their re1uirement. )i3ed Post-Paid Customers: These are the customers, $ho use !ixed line, i.e., landline services "& pa&ing their charges after ever& invoice the& receive. !or example, PST=, Wi%ax phone users. These customers pa& their "ills on monthl& or "i2monthl& "asis.

TELEC ! BILLI"# - %SA#E CAPT%RI"#

/ customer starts generating usage at =et$or* as soon as he8she starts using the products and services sold "& the operator. / net$or* element is a com"ination of soft$are plus hard$are and responsi"le for overall service control and metering events for an& t&pe of service. "hat is an -vent( /n event is a single "illa"le occurrence electronicall& "& a net$or*. !or example, telephone call, an event is generated $hich call, such as the call duration, the time of da& $as called. of product usage, t&picall& captured $hen a mo"ile phone user ma*es a contains information a"out that phone the call $as made, and the num"er that

"hat is a CDR( /n event along $ith all its attri"utes is called Call 9etail Record (C9R . / data collector in the net$or* s$itch captures the usage in the form of Call 9etail Record (C9R 86sage 9etail Record (69Rs . These ra$ C9Rs869Rs are in turn converted "& the mediation s&stem into a format understanda"le "& the 0illing S&stem. There could "e different net$or* elements controlling the services and producing different t&pes of C9Rs? for example, for CS% telephon&) <oice calls are captured "& the %SC (%o"ile S$itching Centre . S%S traffic is captured "& the S%SC (Short %essage Service Center . 9ata traffic is captured "& the CCS= (Cate$a& CPRS Support =ode . %%S traffic is captured "& the %%SC (%ultimedia %essaging Centre . Roaming C9Rs are captured "& roaming partner4s s$itching element. !ollo$ing diagram sho$s the =et$or* elements capturing 6sage data and sending Ra$ 69Rs to the %ediation S&stem and finall& to the 0illing S&stem for rating and "illing.

CDR 'ttributes: /s mentioned a"ove, a C9R *eeps usage details along $ith various other useful information. 0elo$ are the most important attri"utes of a C9R) Calling Part& (/ num"er . Called Part& (0 num"er . Call Start (date and time . 3o$ long the call $as (duration . Call T&pe (<oice, S%S, and 9ata etc . / uni1ue se1uence num"er identif&ing the record.

/dditionall&, a C9R ma& also record other information such as) The identifier of the telephone exchange. The result of the call ($hether it $as ans$ered, "us&, etc. . Trun* or route used to connect the call. /n& fault condition encountered. Indicators that note the use of features such as call for$arding, three2$a& calling. /n& facilities used during the call, such as call $aiting or call diversion. <arious other attri"utes depending on re1uirement. The accurate recording of all re1uired information in a 69R depends on the logic of the s$itch vendor plus the s$itch specific ta"le entries. If either of these cannot record the data accuratel&, the mediation s&stem $ill not "e a"le recogni.e the completed calls and pass them to the "illing s&stem. CDR Processing: The %ediation S&stem collects C9Rs from different net$or* elements in different formats. <arious net$or* elements generate C9Rs in /S=.@ format and some net$or* elements have their o$n proprietar& format of C9Rs. The %ediation S&stem processes all the C9Rs and converts them into a format compati"le to the do$n stream s&stem, $hich is usuall& a 0illing S&stem. The %ediation S&stem applies various rules on C9Rs to process them? for example, mediation s&stem mar*s the international calls "ased on the dialed num"er (02 =um"er , same $a& mediation s&stem mar*s the on2net calls "ased on /2=um"er and 02=um"er. There ma& "e a re1uirement to filter out all the calls, $hich are having call duration less than , seconds, the "est place to filter out such t&pes of calls $ill "e at %ediation S&stem level. Same $a&, if some extra information is re1uired in the C9Rs $hich is critical to "illing, then %ediation S&stem $ill help in providing such information "ased on some other attri"utes availa"le $ithin the C9Rs. #nce the collected C9Rs are processed, %ediation S&stem pushes all the C9Rs to the 0illing S&stem using !TP "ecause usuall& %ediation and 0illing s&stems run on different machines.

TELEC ! BILLI"# - RATI"# PR CESSES


Rate is the charge8price for the occurrence of an event. Examples of rate include charge for the duration of the telephone call) !or example) D-.E- I=R per @ minuteD or a specific 1uantit&. !or example) @-.-- I=R for @%0 do$nload or it can "e charged for the 1ualit& of service. We alread& explained that Event is a single occurrence of product8service usage. The events are captured "& the net$or* elements in the form of C9RS869Rs and passed to the 0illing s&stem for rating ' "illing. Rating is the process of determining the charge8price of individual events. !or example, the price for B minutes call is -.:- I=R $ith the rate of -.E- I=R per minute. Rating Engine, $hich is part of the 0illing s&stem, carries out this rating function.

Rating Process: Rating Engine receives the events in the form of data records called as Call 9etail Records (C9Rs or 6sage 9etail Records (69Rs , $hich descri"e the use of a product8service. / C9R is a string of data that contains call information such as call date and time, call length, calling part&, called part&, etc., $hich are used to rate the events. There is a list of "asic functions of Rating8Rating Engine) /ccepting C9Rs from the %ediation S&stem or other service providers or roaming partners in case of roaming usage. <alidating the C9Rs and eliminating an& duplicate records. These duplicate events are stored in a data"ase ta"le for later verification. To determine the customer account that has to "e charged for the event. 3ere, Rate process pic*s up the event source (%o"ile =um"er or IP /ddress, etc. and chec*s the data"ase to verif& if this event source is associated $ith an& account. This step is called Event Cuiding. If the event can not "e guided, then this event $ill "e re5ected and can "e put in suspense categor&. These re5ected events are stored in a data"ase ta"le for later verification. To calculate the cost8price of the event as per the rating tariff (also referred as rate plan . To appl& an& applica"le rating time discounts. This could "e first five minutes free and after that call $ill "e charged at normal rate. Such t&pe of discounts are called rating time discounts. To store the rated event in the data"ase for a "illing purpose or send it to the external s&stem for "illing. The follo$ing diagram sho$s the "asic diagram of the Rating Engine and associated functions)

The customer4s information determines the rate plan (rating tariff to use in charge8price calculation. The rating engine uses the rating ta"les, and the event information from the C9Rs (e.g. distance, time of da&, location of the call, duration or volume of the event, etc. to calculate the actual charge for each call. Duplicate -vents: / duplicate event is defined as an& un"illed event that relates to another un"illed event in all of the follo$ing $a&s) The account num"ers are identical. The event sources are identical. The event t&pe I9s are identical. The event dates and times are identical. /n& other criteria can "e defined in the "illing s&stem to identif& duplicate events. There are a num"er of situations that ma& cause duplicate events to "e su"mitted to the 0illing s&stem) / failure of the mediation s&stem4s filtering mechanism. Coding errors in the mediation s&stem soft$are. / repetition of all or part of an event file "eing passed to the Rating Engine.

Rejected -vents: When 0illing S&stem encounters a pro"lem $ith a particular event, the offending event is re5ected. Re5ection ma& "e due to pro"lems $ith an& of the follo$ing) The event itself. The rate plan. Customer and account data. Configuration data. There are three main reasons for re5ecting an event) Parsing errors prevent the 0illing S&stem from reading the information in the event detail record. / parsing error ma& occur "ecause the data in the event record is corrupt or in the $rong format. 6nguidea"le errors prevent Ceneva from identif&ing the event source or account associated $ith the event. /n unguidea"le error ma& occur "ecause the event source does not &et exist in the 0illing S&stem data"ase. 6nratea"le errors prevent 0illing S&stem from calculating a cost for the event. /n unratea"le error ma& occur "ecause of pro"lems $ith a rate plan. /ll the re5ected events are posted to a special account, $hich is called internal account or suspense account and these re5ected events are called suspense events. !inance department *eeps trac* of all the re5ected events and count them as a part of revenue loss. IT department al$a&s gives lot of attention to resolve re5ected events and rate them properl& to save revenue. If a re5ected event cannot "e fixed and the #perator does not $ant to post it to an internal account, the event can "e discarded. When an event is discarded, it $ill not "e su"mitted to the Rating Engine and no further attempts to rate it $ill ta*e place. Real-.ime Rating: Real2time rating is the process of ta*ing events as the& occur and rating them immediatel&, $ith as little dela& as possi"le "et$een event generation and costing. Real2time rating can "e contrasted $ith file2"ased rating, $here event details are stored in a file "uffer for hours, da&s, or $ee*s "efore the $hole file is finall& rated. Real2time s&stem processes include e2commerce transactions and data do$nload. /n& application $here events must "e rated and applied 1uic*l& to a customer4s account is a suita"le candidate for real2time rating. Rerating -vents: There are several situations in $hich it ma& "e necessar& to rerate events. !or example, $hen) /n error in the rate plan used resulted in incorrectl& priced events. The events $ere loaded against the $rong account (due to incorrect event source registration . /n existing rate plan $as replaced at some point "et$een the last and the next "illing dates. The rate plan, price plan, or event source for a product has "een retrospectivel& changed. The process for rerating events is ver& simple and it is as follo$s)

6nload86nrate all the events from the data"ase using provided utilit&. %ost of the "illing s&stem provides a utilit& to unload or unrate all the rated events. !ix the pro"lem $herever it lies. Resu"mit the events for rating "& the Rating Engine.

Partial -vents: Partial events allo$ a customer4s "alance to "e maintained $hile an event is in progress. !or example, in case of long data do$nload, mediation s&stem $ill *eep sending partial events to the "illing s&stem so that "illing s&stem *eep rating them instead of $aiting for event completion, and as soon as customer4s credit limit "reach, account $ill "e "arred and =et$or* element $ill "e informed to terminate the call. .hresholds and 'ctions: The Rating Engine can automaticall& chec* to see if an& rating time thresholds, including rating time discount thresholds, have "een reached. Rating time thresholds help in protecting operators from lots of revenue loss. !or example, a customer ma& not "e $illing to pa& more than his credit limit, in such case, it "ecomes necessar& to terminate customer4s call as soon as it reaches to credit limit threshold. If it is re1uired to ta*e rating time action, then it is important to have as much as real time rating as possi"le.

TELEC ! BILLI"# PR CESSES


0illing is the aggregation of all non2recurring, periodic, and chargea"le events on an account2"&2account "asis. It is also the calculation of all outstanding charges and availa"le discounts and "onuses. The output from "illing process is a stream of tagged "ill data that can "e used to create a "ill on paper, dis*, or an& other media. 0illing Engine, $hich is part of the 0illing S&stem, creates invoices. ill Process: The follo$ing diagram sho$s the "asic diagram of the 0illing Engine and associated functions)

0illing Engine pic*s up an account due to generate a "illing and follo$ing associated information to generate invoice data) /ll the rated C9Rs for the customer $ithin the month of invoice. /ll t&pes of charges (initiation, installation, periodic, suspension, termination, etc., applica"le for the customer4s product and services. If there is an& refund or an& other charges applica"le. Total outstanding from previous "ills. Total pa&ments made "& the customer in the given month. Total ad5ustment passed in favor of the customer or against the customer. Total discount given to the customer. Total taxes applica"le on customer4s usage and rental charges. 0illing configuration parameter re1uired to run the 0illing Engine? for example, pa&ment due date, etc. /"ove2mentioned information is 5ust an indicative and ma& var& from "illing s&stem to "illing s&stem and operator to operator. 0illing Engine produces ra$ data having all the information re1uired to generate a final "ill and this ra$ data can "e used to generate a final invoice to "e sent to the end customer.

ill Cycles: When a customer is added into the 0illing S&stem, s&stem assigns the customer a predefined 0ill C&cle. / "ill c&cle is a date on $hich 0illing Engine runs and produces "ills for a set of customers. If there are man& customers, then the& are divided into different "illing c&cles. !or example, a group of customers can have "illing data as @st of ever& month? another can have the "illing date of @,th of ever& month. If customer is assigned to run a "ill on @st of the month, this $ould "e called customer4s nominal bill date. 0ut "ecause of various reasons, man& times "ill run "ecomes dela&ed and actual "ill gets generated on a later date, this $ould "e called actual bill date. ill .ypes: There could "e various t&pes of "ills availa"le for a user. !e$ of them ma& not "e supported "& some 0illing S&stems. ill .ype Initiation "ill Description =ormall& onl& re1uested as the first "ill on an account. Includes product charges and ad5ustments, "ut no events. Produced at regular intervals. Includes all periodic charges, events, and ad5ustments. /n extra "ill that contains charges due to events processed for the account since the last "ill. Includes all events and ad5ustments, "ut no periodic charges. Sent $hen an account has "een suspended. Includes all periodic charges, events, and ad5ustments. Sent $hen an account has "een terminated to "ill all outstanding charges that are due. Includes all periodic charges, events, and ad5ustments, along $ith an& refunds? for example, the return of a deposit. Sent $hen a terminated account has receiva"les outstanding after the production of a final "ill. Includes an& post2termination events and ad5ustments, "ut no periodic charges. /n extra "ill that contains all ad5ustments in the customer4s favor generated since the last "ill. / summar& statement can "e produced for a customer2driven "illing hierarch&. It can summari.e all

Periodic "ill Interim "ill

Suspension "ill !inal "ill

Post2final "ill

Credit note Summar& Statements

"ills produced "& all accounts "elo$ the customer it is associated $ith. #ptionall&, the& can also concatenate all the "ills into a single statement. 0ills are produced either automaticall& or on re1uest from a customer. illing Modes: / 0illing S&stem can generate "ills in t$o modes, for example) .est 45hat i#(6 billing mode: This mode if used to produce formatted test "ills $hilst leaving the data"ase unchanged. These "ills are useful to ma*e sure that s&stem is $or*ing fine and test after ma*ing changes to "ill templates or tariffs. When running the 0illing Engine in test mode, commits are not made to the data"ase. So there $ould not "e an& impact on customer4s profile even after running test "illing man& num"er of times. Test "ills are usuall& run for a sample set of customers. If &ou are satisfied $ith the test "ills, then &ou can proceed for production "ills. Production 4live6 billing mode: This mode is used to produce normal production "ills. %ost of the time, this is the default mode for the 0illing Engine. #nce a production "ill is generated, 0illing Engine updates customer4s profile in the data"ase $ith the total outstanding "alance to "e paid "& the customer, and next "ill date, etc. 0illing Engine assigns different invoice num"ers to all the production "ills $hich help in *eeping trac* of different pa&ments made against the invoice. ill !uppression: There ma& "e a situation $hen it is not $orth to generate a "ill and "etter to suppress the "ill. !ollo$ing are such t&pe of situations) Suppressing "ills for accounts $ith .ero (.ero activit& "ills or ver& little value (small "ills . / particular t&pe of "ill can also "e suppressed if multiple "ill t&pes are re1uested8scheduled at the same time and therefore preventing unnecessar& "ills from "eing sent to the customer. / small "ill is a "ill that falls "et$een the range defined "& the minimum positive "ill amount and the maximum negative "ill amount exceptional "ill conditions. Small valued "ills are produced and then removed from the "illing process, so that the& are not sent out to customers. -3ceptional ills: Examples of possi"le exceptional "ills are unusuall& high "ills or "ills, $hich exceed the account4s credit limit "& a set multiplier. The 0illing Engine performs some "asic chec*s on the "ill data that it produces. These involve testing the total "eing "illed to ensure that the follo$ing conditions are met) The "ill total is greater than the minimum negative "ill amount. The "ill total is less than the maximum positive "ill amount.

The "ill total is less than account4s credit limit multiplied "& the credit limit multiplier. /ll the a"ove conditions var& from "illing s&stem to "illing s&stem and operator to operator and the& are called exceptional "ills conditions.

ill Itemi2ation: 0& default, all the invoices provide a detailed summar& of product and service charges along $ith usage charges. 0ut it does not provide the details on all the calls made "& the customer. /n itemi.ed "ill means giving complete details of all the calls made "& the customer. This needs more num"er of papers to "e printed. Recent trend is to send itemi.ed "ill through electronic e2mail and summar& statement is sent using a ph&sical cop& of the "ill. ill )ormatting: There are 0illing S&stems, $hich provide 0illing !ormatting utilities, $hich can "e used to generate final formatted "ills. 0ill formatters ta*e the output data produced "& the 0illing Engine and usuall& generate either Post Script file or a P9! file, $hich can "e used "& the 0ill Printing Compan&. If 0illing S&stem is not capa"le enough to generate formatted "ills, then s&stem generates a set of tagged files along $ith "illing information and an& external 0ill !ormatter can use that tagged information to generate a $ell2formatted invoice. =o matter, if 0illing S&stem generates formatted invoice or $e use an external tool to generate these formatted invoice using ra$ data generated "& the "illing engine, finall& these invoices are sent to the "ill printing compan&, $ho ta*es care of generating final cop& of generating invoice. I $ill explain it in detail in su"se1uent chapter DInvoice Ceneration.D

TELEC ! BILLI"# - $ISC %"T APPLICATI "


/ll discounts alter (most commonl& to reduce the price to "e paid for a set of events and8or products. 9iscount is a $a& of giving customer mone& off. 9iscount defines a set amount of mone& (percentage or monetar& to "e applied to products or usage that meet certain criteria. !or example, all the local calls made on a particular da& sa& -@2-@2B-@- are charged at +-.B-. 9iscounts can "e calculated either during the rating process or the "illing process) Rating .ime Discount: /ll the discounts given at the time of rating process. These discounts can "e given at usage onl&. /n example of rating time discount is D,F off the first hour of all international callsD. illing .ime Discount: /ll the discounts given at the time of "illing process. These discounts can "e given on rated usage as $ell as on product ' service charges. /n example of "illing time discount is D,F off if &ou spend over +@, $ithin a monthD.

/ pre2itemi.ation discount is one that modifies the price of each event to $hich it applies to determine a rerated price. This discount also comes in "illing time discount categor& "ut this is related to rating of the calls. #ther "illing time discounts leave the price of the event unmodified. / pre2itemi.ation discount cannot incorporate product charges, onl& event charges. Discount !teps and .hresholds: The si.e of a discount is determined using a series of discount steps and thresholds. 9iscount steps allo$ the si.e of the discount to "e changed $hen particular thresholds are reached. !or example, a discount for telephon& events could depend upon the num"er of minutes spent calling $ith @- percent off after @-- minutes and B- percent off after B-- minutes. Each discount should have at least one step. !urther steps can "e added if the discount is re1uired to "ecome more or less favora"le $ith greater volumes. Each discount step can have its discount expressed as either an amount of mone& or a percentage ("ut not "oth . !imple Discount .ypes: There could "e infinite t&pes of discounts given to the end customer, "ut it depends on $hat &our "illing supports. There are follo$ing simple "ut ver& good t&pes of discounts $hich can "e offered) 476 Cross product discounts: These are the discounts $here a set of products ' events determine the discounts for another set of products ' events. !or example, D@- S%S free if more than +A- is spent on mo"ile callsD. 3ere mo"ile calls determine the discount and S%S product gets the discounts, such t&pe of discounts are called cross product discounts. 486 .iered discounts: These are onl& applica"le to the portion of the set of events or mone& spent that falls "et$een the assigned discount thresholds. !or example, in the follo$ing diagram, -F off for a spend of +-2+@-- threshold or -2@-- events threshold, ,F off for a spend of +@--2+B-- threshold or @--2B-- events threshold, etc.

496 :olume discounts: These are the discounts "ased on the num"er of events or product charges that a certain product generates. !or example, in the follo$ing diagram, ,F off for a spend of +@-- or @-- events, etc. /s seen, the greater the spend, the more the discount.

4;6 .a3 Discounts: Tax discounts provide an alternative method for dealing $ith some tax exemptions. The& are calculated and applied $hen the account is "illed. Discount Periods & Proration: %ost discounts have a discount period associated $ith them $hich can "e an& num"er of da&s, $ee*s, or months. This period can "e used in three $a&s) To specif& the time over $hich a threshold value is meant to "e reached. To specif& the fre1uenc& $ith $hich an a"solute discount is meant to "e applied. To specif& ho$ often the highest usage is determined for discounts $ith highest usage filters attached.

9iscounts could "e pro2rated and non2prorated "ased on the re1uirement. If discount is pro2rated, then discount $ill "e calculated "ased on the num"er of da&s service has "een under use and in case of non2proration discount $ill "e calculated for the $hole period for $hich discount has "een configured. onus !chemes: 0onus schemes are methods of giving the customer free events, $here the num"er of free events is determined "& the prior usage of or charge for one or more products over a period of time (for example, the previous &ear . !or example, DTa*e the Superdeal telephon& pac*age and get +@- of free calls for ever& three hours of international calls made in the previous 1uarter.D There are other $a&s of giving customers mone& off, for example, giving a more favora"le price plan via a pac*age, reducing the unit rate of a product as the 1uantit& ta*en increases. Calling Circle *roups 4CU*6: Calling circle Croups define a relationship "et$een users, $ho are modelled as mem"ers and ("& default non2mem"ers. Within this model, a call made "& a mem"er of the circle to another mem"er of the circle $ould "e priced using a different rate to that applied to a non2mem"er (or associate ma*ing the same call. The relationship "et$een the calling parties is determined "& the com"ination of caller identities. Calling circles can span net$or*s if the net$or*s "elong to the same operator and a single calling circle can include "oth mo"ile and fixed2line users.

TELEC ! BILLI"# - I"V ICE #E"ERATI "


%ost of the "illing s&stems generate structured /SCII text containing the information content of the "ill. The "ill data for each "ill is $ritten initiall& to either data"ase or flat text files. The format of the data at this stage is the same, regardless of ho$ the data is to "e processed. This "ill data can then "e processed "& one of a num"er of formatting engines to produce output in the desired form. !or example, paper, C92R#%, etc. There are 0illing S&stems availa"le $hich provide internal 0ill !ormatting tools. If a "illing s&stem does not provide capa"le tool to generate formatted "ills, then there are third part& tools availa"le li*e 9#C@, is one of the most commonl& used tools. 3ere is a t&pical diagram sho$ing the flo$ of "ill formatting)

!ollo$ing is a snapshot of "ill data ta*en from Converg&4s Infin&s 0illing S&stem) 9#CST/RTG:, 9#CT7PE 0I(( CE=E</<ERSI#= ,.0I((ST7(E @ 0I((T7PE @ 0I((TE%P(/TE :, 0I((SE; @ 0I((<ERSI#= @ /CCC6RRE=C7C#9E 0E! 0I(((/=CI9 B 0I(((/=C=/%E English (6S 0I(((/=C(#C/(E us P/7%ET3#9I9 @ !#R%/TRE; /A---@--@8---@ C#P70I((=6% 0I((P6RP#SE @ /99RESS=/%E 9r 9 Hac*son

P#SITI#= Pro5ect %anager 9EP/RT%E=T Recruitment /99RESS@ @B South Street /99RESSB 9etroit /99RESSA %ichigan IIPC#9E @BAE, C#6=TR7 6nited States 0ST/RT/CC!/99R /CC!/99RG@ 6nited States /CC!/99RGB %ichigan /CC!/99RGA @BAE, /CC!/99RGE @B South Street /CC!/99RG, 9etroit /CC!/99RGJ 9r 9 Hac*son 0E=9/CC!/99R C6ST#%ERRE! CA---@ C6ST#%ERT7PE Standard /CCT/KST/T6S Exclusive I=<#ICI=CC#=/%E Invoicing compan& for English (6S I=<#ICI=CC#/99RESS@ Compan& 3ouse I=<#ICI=CC#/99RESSB /tlanta I=<#ICI=CC#</TREC taxref---,LJ /CC#6=T=# /A---@--@ 0E=90!P/7S6%%/R7 0/(#6T -.-C3/RCES @EB.-=EW0/( @EB.-0ST/RT0!P/79ET/I(S /CC9EPPRE<T#T -.-/CC9EPC3/=CE -.-/CC9EPC6RRT#T -.-0E=90!P/79ET/I(S 0E=90!ST/TE%E=T 0I((RE! /A---@--@M---@ 0I((9/TE -B8B-8NN =EKT0I((9/TE -A8B-8NN 0ST/RTP/7%E=T96EI=!# P/7%E=T96E9/TE -A8-E8NN 9E0TST/RT9/TE -B8B,8NN P/7%E=TTER%9ESC Pa&ment due L da&s after the "ill date P/7%E=T96E9/7S L 0E=9P/7%E=T96EI=!# CIR#RE! AE CIR#/CC#6=T E-E L:-#CRRE! @A---@--@N

#CRS#RTC#9E <JAEE-EL:-CIR#/%#6=T @EB.-#CR/%#6=T ---@EB--I=<#ICE/CT6/(9/TE -B8B,8NN I=<#ICET/K9/TE -B8B,8NN I=<#ICEST/RT -@8-A8NN I=<#ICEE=9 -B8@N8NN T/KT7PE @,B.--, TE=9T/KT7PE I=<T#T/(T/K B.-0E=9T/K9ET/I(S I=<T#T/( @EB.-I=<T#T/(R#6=9E9 @EB.-T#T/(S/<E 2@@.-PERI#9E=9 -B8B,8NN P#I=TS0/(/=CE P#I=TSE/R=E9 P#I=TSRE9EE%E9 P#I=TS/9H6ST =EWP#I=TS0/(/=CE 9#CE=9

0ill data consists of succession of lines of /SCII text. Each line ta*es the form) T/C=/%E tagvalue T/C=/%E and tagvalue are separated "& a tag separator (tagsep of a space. The tagvalue can "e either a single value or a list of values separated "& delimiters (sep . The delimiter used is a comma unless specified. ill Post Processor: / 0illing Engine ma& not "e a"le to generate all the information re1uired in the "ill or there ma& "e a re1uirement to perform some special calculation on the data provided in the invoice. This is called 0ill Post Processing and usuall& done "& a custom component called 0ill Post Processor (0PP . / 0PP can "e $ritten in &our preferred programming language $hich reads a ra$ invoice file and performs re1uired modification into this file "efore passing it for the final formatting. There is none "illing s&stems availa"le $hich provide out2of2the2"ox 0PP functionalit& "ecause re1uirements var& operator to operator and this process can not "e standardi.ed. /t most, "illing s&stem can provide a plug2in point to plug &our custom 0PP along $ith 0illing Engine. D$C7 ill )ormatter:

9#C@ is ver& famous 0ill !ormatter tool availa"le from Pitne&0o$es compan& $hich helps in "ill formatting into P9! or Post Script files. /s mentioned a"ove, the output of the 0illing Engine is structured /SCII text containing the information content of the "ill. / mapping is esta"lished "et$een source invoice file tags generated "& the "illing s&stem and tags re1uired "& 9#C@. 9#C@ re1uires fixed length tags as sho$n "elo$. The follo$ing is a h&pothetical sample from the invoice file provided) /CC#6=T=# /CC--@---/CC6%0#=6SP#I=TSG@ 0#=--,-@-/CC6%0#=6SP#I=TSGB 0#=--,-@-/CC6%0#=6SP#I=TSGA 0#=--,-@-/CC6%0#=6SP#I=TSGE 0#=--,-@-/CC6%0#=6SP#I=TSG, 0#=--,-@-/99RESS@ /CC--A---/99RESSB /CC--E---/99RESSA /CC--,---/99RESSE /CC--J---/99RESS, /CC--L---/99RESS=/%E /CC--B---06SI=ESS=/%E /CC-@B---TST/RT/9H /9H------.......... =o$ using the a"ove translations, a final file $ould "e generated for 9#C@ and 9#C@ $ill ta*e care of generating final invoice using the information provided. Some modifications can also "e performed at 9#C@ level "ut it does not provide much flexi"ilit& to modif& the invoice. 7ou can tr& latest version, $hich can help &ou much more the expectations. )inal Invoice *eneration: #nce all the accounts are "illed and invoices are formatted using either internal or external "ill formatter, these invoices are sent to the 0ill Print Compan& for final printing. If an operator is using Electronic e2mail facilit& to send "ill to their customer, then a cop& of the same "ill can "e sent to e2mail s&stem to send it to the end customer. Tier @ operators (having B-2A- million or more customer "ase usuall& outsource this tas* including "ill distri"ution.

TELEC ! BILLI"# - CRE$IT C "TR L


/ll the operators provide their services and collect revenue from the end customers to survive in the "usiness. There ma& "e t$o possi"le $a&s to charge an end customer) In-'dvance: /n operator charges the customers in advance "efore providing the service. This leads to less customer satisfaction "ut operator is more secure from revenue point of vie$.

In-'rrears: /n operator pushes himself on ris* and charges the customer at end of ever& month after providing re1uired services. This leads to more customer satisfaction "ut operator is on a ris* of collecting less revenue. There is al$a&s a threshold up to $hat an operator can tolerate revenue loss associated $ith a particular customer? same time, there is a threshold of ris* an operator can ta*e $ith a particular customer. !or example, if a customer4s income is +@-,---8month, then operator can provide him their services ver& easil& up to +@--- 2 +B--- "ut for the same operator it $ould "e difficult to provide him a service, $hich $ould cost almost +@-,---8month "ecause in such situation, it $ould "e difficult for the customer to ma*e monthl& pa&ment. >eeping the same concept, operators define different credit classes, $hich the& use to classif& their customers and associate different credit and collection actions.

Credit Classes: The credit class defines a categor& of the customer and associated ris* of revenue can "e ta*en $ith that customer. / credit class also defines $hich collections schedule is to "e applied to the customer, should its o$ner fail to ma*e the (undisputed pa&ments that are due. /ll the 0illing S&stems provide facilit& to define various credit classes, $hich can "e assigned to different customers at the time of adding them into the s&stem. !ollo$ing are fe$ examples of credit classes) :IP Credit Class: This can "e assigned to <IP customers and $ould have ver& high value of credit limit. *eneral Public Class: This is the most common credit class and $ould have almost +@-- or +B-- credit limit. !egment !peci#ic Class: These classes can "e defined "ased on different segments li*e police, militar& or "an* officers, etc. #perator can define credit limit "ased on their comfort. There could "e infinite num"er of credit classes defined "ased on the re1uirements and categor& of the customers. Credit Control: There are mainl& t$o stages $here credit can "e controlled for a particular t&pe of customer categor&) Un-billed Usage ased: This is rating time control $hich is done "& the Rating Processes. 3ere, customer4s usage and total charges are chec*ed against the assigned credit limit, and if customer starts approaching to$ards the assigned credit limit, customer is informed a"out the same and after "reaching the credit limit an appropriate action can "e ta*en. There are operators, $ho $ould li*e to "ar (i.e., temporaril& stop the services if customer is "reaching the credit limit and the& $ould "e un"arred once the pa&ment is done. !or example) Customer having a credit limit of +B-- $ill "e informed on :-F of usage "& a mean of S%S, on reaching threshold of N-F might "e informed "& mean of a reminder call, etc., and $hen @--F credit limit has "een reached, then outgoing might "e "arred.

To control the credit, operators li*e to "ar onl& outgoing calls in case of <oice and S%S usage, "ut in case of data do$nload, customer $ould not "e a"le to perform an& data do$nload. illed Usage ased: This is usuall& done after sending the invoices and more related to revenue collection process, $hich $e $ould discuss in next chapter. To control the credit at rating time, it is important to *eep rating as real time as possi"le. If usage is not "eing captured in real time and it is "eing rated after a long gap, then there is a possi"ilit& that customers $ould have crossed their credit limit and legall& customer ma& not "e a"le to pa& the amount "e&ond their assigned credit limits, "ut this varies from countr& to countr& and operator to operator. Deposits: There are "illing s&stems, $hich support deposits to "e held against accounts. 9eposits are held alongside the account "alance and cash can "e transferred "et$een the t$o. There could "e different level of deposits to provide different *inds of services, $hich can "e maintained against an account. 9eposits help operators to cover their revenue in case customer is not a"le to ma*e their pa&ments.

TELEC ! BILLI"# - C LLECTI " PR CESS


/fter an invoice is generated and dispatched to the customer, ideall&, all customers $ill receive their "ills and pa& promptl&. 3o$ever, there ma& "e some customers, $ho do not pa& their "ills and there ma& "e an unaccepta"le dela& in pa&ing the "ill and hence the service providers must ta*e some action needed to remed& the situation and collect the outstanding "alance due (called account receiva"le, a""reviated as /8R . Collection is the process of chasing past due receiva"les on customer account. This usuall& involves sending notifications to the customer and ta*ing appropriate actions in a"sence of due pa&ments after the due date. 0illing S&stems support dunning (receiva"les chasing "oth at the invoice level $here receiva"les are chased on an invoice "& invoice "asis and at the account level $here"& all overdue amounts for an account, across several invoices, can "e handled "& a single dunning action. The dunning model to "e used for an account $ill "e assigned on the "asis of its credit class. / core collection process includes the follo$ing t$o items) Collections 'ging .rac%ing: This is the process of trac*ing the customer invoices that have not "een paid $ithin the specified pa&ment period due date. It deals $ith the Dage of account receiva"lesD? for example, invoices that are -2 A- da&s overdue, A-2J- da&s overdue, etc. Collections 'ctions: Collection action is the action that is performed $hen the account receiva"le reaches a particular age. !or example, reminder messages to the customer to "e mailed or recorded audio message should "e pla&ed.

Collection 'ction !chedules: Examples of collections actions ma& include) Send reminder mail and8or call) The customer service department contacts the customer reminding the pa&ment. Still if there is no pa&ment received, then proceed for the next action. Send Red letter) !or example, a DPa& in seven da&sD letter is issued. Still if the pa&ment is not received, then proceed for the next action. 9isconnect the service of service) The net$or* management department suspends the service. Collections schedules define collections actions, $hich should "e carried out and the times at $hich the& should "e carried out $hen a customer does not pa&. The collections schedule specifies the series of stages that ma*e up the collections process. !or each stage, it covers) The effective age that the receiva"les have to "e for an action to ta*e place. The effective age of receiva"le is calculated "& ta*ing the actual age of receiva"le. The action to "e ta*en. This might "e an action that 0illing S&stem is to perform, for example sending out a dunning notice on a particular date. Whether or not the action is mandator&. If an action is mandator&, su"se1uent actions cannot ta*e place until this one has "een performed. The minimum receiva"les amount "elo$ $hich the action $ill not ta*e place. !o#t Collection 'ctions - Dunning /otices: In the earl& stages of the collections process, the soft collection action $ill t&picall& "e to send a num"er of dunning notices, $hich are simple reminder letters and re1uests for pa&ment. /fter a num"er of dunning notices have "een sent at various stages, other actions are t&picall& scheduled. !or example, &ou can specif& that a customer services representative (CSR should telephone the customer to as* $h& the& have not paid. &ard Collection 'ctions - lac%listing If the initial attempts fail, then more aggressive actions can "e ta*en li*e "arring the services, or disconnecting the services or hot2lining (hot2lining is the process of re2 directing all calls of delin1uent customers to collections operator . If all the attempts to collect the dues fail, then the service provider ma& $rite2off the account and mar*s the due amount as "ad de"t or ma& hand over (sell off the account to a collection agenc&. Collection agencies $or* on a percentage of collected revenue. 3o$ever, once the uncollected account invoices are sold off to a collection agenc&, the service provider is not allo$ed to $or* $ith the customer regarding the pa&ments. 3ere, $rite2off means service provider (operator clears the dues on "ehalf of the customer and closes the account forever. This is done for accounting purpose, other$ise it is a loss for the operator. The service provider maintains the histor& of the $rite2off accounts, also called "lac*list customers so that the& are not re2activated again and informs the credit chec*ing8reporting agencies a"out such accounts.

TELEC ! BILLI"# - PA)!E"T PR CESSI"#


#nce the invoices are sent to the customers, the customers start ma*ing pa&ments of their "ills. The processing of "ill pa&ments into the "illing s&stem is called pa&ment processing. The pa&ments made "& the customers are posted to the customers4 account. If there are an& outstanding invoices, then $hich invoice is paid depends on the account4s accounting method. There are t$o t&pes of accounting methods) alance #or5ard accounting: 6sing this method, if a num"er of invoices are outstanding, pa&ments received are allocated to invoices according to the age of the receiva"le, $ith the oldest invoice "eing created first. $pen item accounting: This method allo$s pa&ments to "e allocated to specific invoices. #pen item accounting is particularl& useful $hen dealing $ith pa&ments from "usiness customers. Payment Methods: / customer can ma*e pa&ment using different pa&ment methods that are supported "& the service provider? for example, the customer can ma*e pa&ments using the pa&ment methods li*e che1ue, or credit card or direct de"it or cash or $ire transfers, etc. /n operator ma& have multiple "an* accounts into $hich it $ill receive pa&ment done through "an* accounts directl&. These "an* accounts are referred to as holding accounts and sends pa&ment details to the "illing s&stem in text files. If pa&ments are received outside the "illing s&stem either manuall& or electronicall&, then those pa&ments are uploaded into the s&stem using automated process to settle do$n the invoices. 'utomatic Payments: 0illing S&stems provide facilit& to capture credit card or de"it card information and automatic pa&ment methods on monthl& "asis. If pa&ment method is set automatic using either credit card or de"it card, pa&ment re1uests are generated automaticall& after ever& invoice or on a given date and these re1uests are sent to the pa&ment gate$a&s (or "an*s for pa&ment authori.ation. #nce all the pa&ments are authori.ed, the& are uploaded into the "illing s&stem to settle do$n the due invoices. Manual Payments: If the pa&ments are made using cash or che1ue, then either it can "e entered into the s&stem upfront the customer or if this is collected "& some agencies, then all such pa&ments are collected and posted to the "illing s&stem using automated methods provided "& the "illing s&stem. !or all the pa&ments received, pa&ment files are prepared $ith a predefined format and then the& are pushed automaticall& to a predefined location from $here 0illing S&stem pic*s them up and uploads into the "illing data"ase.

There ma& "e a situation, $hen a pa&ment made "& credit card or che1ue does not go through. If this pa&ment is alread& posted into the s&stem, then it needs a cancellation to ad5ust the amount. 0illing S&stem provides utilities to handle failed or cancelled pa&ments. Payment Inter#aces: /n interface is a "ound "et$een the "illing s&stem and an& other external s&stem to receive the pa&ment. Interface allo$s t$o s&stems to communicate $ith other "ased on predefined rules. !or example, a simple text file could "e a pa&ment interface "et$een a "an* and the "illing s&stem. If interface is file "ased, "an*s *eep sending pa&ment details using pa&ment files in predefined format. There could "e an online /PI2"ased interface "et$een a "an* and the "illing s&stem. If an online interface is in place, then "an* $ill call the provided /PI to post the pa&ment directl& into the "illing s&stem. Similar $a&, there could "e file2"ased or online interfaces provided for third part& involved in collecting pa&ments.

TELEC ! BILLI"# - $ISP%TES & A$*%ST!E"TS


"hat is Dispute( / dispute is a record of a 1uer& a"out an amount of mone& on an account. =ormall&, a dispute $ill "e recorded $hen a customer 1ueries some aspect of their "ill. 9isputes can "e raised) /gainst an invoice on an account. /gainst a particular rated event on the account. !or example, if a customer disputes a particular pa&2per2vie$ T< event due to a po$er cut. Processing o# Disputes: /fter a dispute is recorded, it $ould "e investigated, verified in order to either) 'ccept: If the raised dispute is valid from customer side, then the dispute $ould "e accepted, and $ould "e refunded to the customer. Reject: If the dispute found to "e not accepta"le, then the dispute $ould "e re5ected. Cancel: If the dispute is entered in error, then the dispute $ould "e canceled. !ollo$ing points should "e noted for the dispute and a "illing s&stem should support these points) Collections actions are not escalated $hile amounts have a dispute status of pending, "ut the collections are aged during this period. 9isputed events are not included in collections calculation until the& are "illed. /fter this, the collections are aged as normal. "hat is 'djustment(

/n ad5ustment is a method of crediting or de"iting an account $ith an ar"itrar& amount of mone&. /d5ustments can "e lodged against either an account as a $hole or against a particular rated event on that account. / 0illing S&stem allo$s to create different t&pes of ad5ustments, $hich can "e used in different situations and each ad5ustment flo$s through different stages of approval. If a dispute is accepted, an ad5ustment is created to credit the account $ith the disputed amount. /d5ustments should not affect the "alance of an account until the& are approved. /d5ustments $ith a status of pending approval do not affect "illing or collections. 9isputes and ad5ustments that are made for tax inclusive accounts are assumed to "e inclusive of tax. The gross amount is entered and $ill "e availa"le for output on the "ill.

TELEC ! BILLI"# - REP RTS #E"ERATI "


<arious reports are generated to provide valua"le information to management on finance, sales and performance of the s&stem. 9ifferent *inds of reports li*e financial reports, %anagement reports, reconciliation reports, =et$or* activit& reports, etc., can "e generated. Reports contain information that drives "usiness success and help to monitor the health of "usiness, identif& an& pro"lem areas so that appropriate corrective actions can "e ta*en. Reporting is one of the areas $here none of the 0illing S&stems can meet @--F re1uirements out2of2the2"ox. 9efinitel& mar*eting or finance departments $ill come up $ith such reporting re1uirements $hich $ould need lots of custom development. If &our 0illing S&stem is pushing data on 9ata Warehouse (9W3 , then &ou can transfer reporting activities to$ards 9W3 s&stem "ut still man& departments $ould li*e to have important reports from the source s&stem, $hich is the 0illing S&stem.

We can categori.e reports into t$o categories) Core<Canned Reports: These reports are provided "& the 0illing S&stem as core functionalit& of the s&stem. Sometimes, the& are called canned or standard reports. Custom Reports: These reports $ould not "e availa"le directl& from the s&stem and it $ould need some development using P(8S;(, PER(, or Shell script, etc. 9ifferent "illing s&stems provide different t&pes of reports in different areas. Interconnect 0illing S&stems are re1uired to provide more functionalities related to reporting "ecause the& deal $ith $holesale "illing. Reporting Re0uirements: There is follo$ing list of reports re1uired "& different departments) 476 )inancial Reports:

Pa&ment reports provide information on the customer4s account pa&ments during a period of time. /ccount Receiva"les aging reports provide information on the account receiva"les, outstanding dues, etc. 9isputes ' ad5ustment reports help in identif&ing the pattern of reasons for disputes ' ad5ustments and help to understand the reason for such disputes ' ad5ustments and ta*e appropriate corrective action. 486 Management Reports: %anagement reports provide information on customers, their products ' services usage, call patterns, customer feed"ac*, etc. These reports help to ta*e appropriate steps to reduce customer churn to introduce ne$ services. Churn is the process of customers disconnecting from one service provider and moving to another service provider and this can "e due to man& reasons li*e inade1uate customer service or lac* of competitive products or lac* of competitive charges or it can "e due to a natural reason of geographic relocation of the customer. 496 Reconciliation reports: These reports provide Revenue /ssurance (R/ information ensuring that all the sources of revenue and expenses are under o"servation and there is no lea*age of an& sort of revenues. !or example, revenue can "e lost due to man& reasons li*e lea*age in net$or* s&stem or mediation or "illing mista*es, demand for introducing ne$ services 1uic*l&, etc. Revenue assurance reports help to identif& $here the lea*age is so that appropriate actions can "e ta*en. 4;6 /et5or% activity reports: These reports provide information to identif& the areas of net$or* congestion so that corrective measures (rerouting or adding more resources can "e accomplished to overcome these pro"lems.

-3ample Reports: !ollo$ing is further an imaginar& list of fe$ other reports, $hich can "e re1uired out of a 0illing S&stem) ! / @ Report Description Revenue Classification reports that summari.e revenue information for a specific date range "& credit class, customer details, price plan, charge t&pe, etc. Customer 9etails, /ged Receiva"les and #pen Item reports that are provided primaril& to assist $ith collections chasing.

A E , J L : N

9a&"oo* reports summari.ing the activities of the da& and presenting general ledger information. Product and Pac*age reports giving details of the products in a data"ase and the pac*ages availa"le in a particular "illing8rating catalogue. Interconnect /greement /ccounting (I// reports that facilitate the reconciliation of out"ound interconnect C9Rs Total num"er of activation, termination, port2in or port2out on a dail& "asis. Total num"er of accounts "reaching their credit limit on dail& "asis and ho$ much revenue is going in credit "reach. Report a"out the num"er of events, $hich $ere successfull& rated, posted internall& and posted uncosted for a particular period of time. 9uplicate events report for a particular service or for all the services (i.e., voice, S%S, %%S, etc.

@- Re5ected events report for a particular service or for all the services (i.e., voice, S%S, %%S, etc. 'utomated vs Manual: There could "e a list of reports $hich is re1uired on monthl&, $ee*l& or dail& "asis. So such t&pe of reports are developed if the& are not availa"le and scheduled $ithin the s&stem, so that the& can "e sent in end user4s e2mail "ox $ithout an& manual intervention. There $ill a demand of different reports time to time "ased on some re1uirements, such t&pe of reports can not "e imagined and developed in advance. So these reports are developed and sent "ased on demand from different users.

TELEC ! BILLI"# - PRE-PAI$ VS P ST-PAI$


%ost of the operators provide t$o options to their customers, to go for a postpaid or a prepaid connection. / postpaid as $ell as a prepaid connection has its advantages and disadvantages. 6suall&, an operator $ill have L-F2:-F customer "ase comprising of pre2paid customers and rest of the customer "ase $ill come from post2paid side. !or an operator, it is al$a&s good to have more post2paid customers. 7ou might "e $illing to *no$ a"out the differences "et$een the t$o t&pes of customers, services and s&stems. (et me list do$n fe$ ma5or differences "et$een the t$o)

!ervice Payments: This is the most important factor, $hich differentiates "et$een t$o customer "ases. Pre2paid customers ma*e pa&ment in advance "efore using the service $here as post2paid customers use offered services throughout of the month, and at the end of the month, customer receives the "ill to pa& $ithin the given time frame. Charging & illing: !or pre2paid customer, it is re1uired to charge the customer in real time for all the usage $here as post2paid customers can "e charged at the end of the month. !ervice $##erings: Post2paid "illing s&stems provide more flexi"ilities in comparison of real time charging s&stems. !or example, real time charging s&stem is not flexi"le to maintain a complex "usiness customers4 hierarch& $here as a post2paid "illing s&stem can handle a customer hierarch& up to = level. !upport & Maintenance: /n operator needs to give same attention to "oth the "usinesses. If for a pre2paid "usiness, operator needs to have s*illed manpo$er to control the operation, same time operator needs a great staff to handle post2paid customer4s 1ueries related to their charging, "ills and fixing operational issues. !upported /et5or%: / long time ago, the net$or* of the prepaid and the postpaid connections $ere different. This used to invo*e complaints that the prepaid connection $ould offer "etter connectivit& than the postpaid or vice versa. This is the age of convergent "illing and operators are running their "usiness $ith the same net$or* $ithout compromising communication 1ualit&.

Post-paid !cenario: =et$or* elements (li*e s$itches, S%SC produce ra$ usage called 6sage 9etail Records (69Rs or Call 9etail Records (C9Rs , $hich contain information re1uired "& the "illing s&stem) Calling num"er (/ num"er Called num"er (the num"er receiving the call (0 num"er $hen the call started (date and time Call duration Call T&pe (%#C, %TC, etc., %#C stands for %o"ile #riginated Call and %TC stands for %o"ile Terminated Call The a"ove ra$ 69Rs from net$or* elements and also from other service providers are received "& the "illing s&stem and the "illing s&stem converts these into a format understanda"le "& the s&stem. The a"ove formatted8converted 69R is then guided to find the customer8account to $hich the call should "e charged and then rate the event accordingl&. The a"ove rated 69Rs are then stored in the "illing data store, and on the "illing c&cle date, the "illing process pic*s up these rated 69Rs and processes these and renders "ill8invoice, ta*ing into account, the pa&ments, taxes, discounts, etc. The customer then pa&s the "ill and the "illing s&stem is updated $ith the pa&ment details. !ollo$ing is the diagram sho$ing the a"ove standard "illing process)

Pre-paid !cenario: Steps involved in prepaid "illing in "rief are as follo$s) When customer ma*es a call, prepaid s$itching gate$a& captures the calling num"er and sends the account information to the real time "illing s&stem. Real time "illing s&stems using the a"ove information, authenticates the identit& of the user, calculates the customer account4s remaining "alance using the rating tariff ta"le and maximum allo$a"le duration of the call and sends this information to the prepaid gate$a&. The gate$a& esta"lishes the call. 9uring the call, gate$a& monitors the call so that the user do not exceed the maximum allo$a"le call duration. When the call is over, the gate$a& sends the actual call duration to the prepaid "illing s&stem, $hich then calculates the actual call cost and updates the account "alance, decreasing the remaining "alance. !ollo$ing figure sho$s the general prepaid "illing scenario)

Prepaid "illing process involves follo$ing important steps along $ith account information gathering and updating account after the call is completed. 'uthenticating: /uthentication is the process of verif&ing that a user is $ho he or she claims to "e. The user supplies a user I9 and an authentication credential, such as a pass$ord. The s&stem accepts these as inputs and verifies that the user is valid and has access to the s&stem. 'uthori2ing: /uthori.ation is the process of verif&ing $hat an authenticated user is allo$ed to do. Cenerall&, Remote /ccess 9ial In 6ser Server (R/9I6S

protocol is used to limit access to the s&stem to registered and authori.ed customers. Providing advice o# charge 4'$C6: This gives information a"out the actual cost of the call either prior to or after the event. /#C provides the a"ilit& of a telecommunications s&stem to advice of the actual costs of the event either prior to or after the occurrence of the event.

TELEC ! RETAIL BILLI"#


When $e tal* a"out telecom "illing then "& default it is a"out retail "illing. /s defined earlier, telecom retail "illing is defined as follo$s) Telecom Billing is a (rocess of collecting usage) aggregating it) a((lying re3uired usage and rental c/arges and finally generating in"oices for t/e customers* Telecom Billing (rocess also includes recei"ing and recording (ayments from t/e customers* Retail "illing deals directl& $ith the end customer and comes $ith lot of challenges to meet end customer expectations and regulator& o"ligations. / "illing is assumed to "e successful as long as it is fulfilling follo$ing criteria) .imely illing: End customer4s invoice is "eing generating on time, i.e., nominal date. There ma& "e some circumstances $hen end customer does not get their invoices on time "ecause of some logistic issues, "ut it is IT4s responsi"ilit& to generate all the due "ills on due date. illing 'ccuracy: This is the most important factor for the customer satisfaction and from regulator& o"ligation point of vie$. If "illing s&stem is not generating accurate "ills, then it can lead to serious "usiness issues from legalit& point of vie$ as $ell as leaving a customer in unhapp& state. Retail vs "holesale illing: Retail "illing deals $ith end customer and "illing an individual customer $hereas $holesale "illing deals $ith "illing to the follo$ing entities depending on situation and nature of "usiness) 0illing resellers associated $ith a telecom operator. 0illing interconnect partners for providing interconnection to ma*e calls to another operator4s customers. 0illing roaming partners for providing services to their customers $hen the& roamed in an operator4s coverage area. Wholesale "illing is eas& in comparison to retail "illing and allo$s a "ig level of threshold of tolerance $hereas retail "illing al$a&s needs to "e @--F accurate. Wholesale "illing can never "e @--F accurate "ecause of various reasons li*e difference in prices configured in t$o operators4 s&stems or difference in num"er of calls rated "ecause some of the calls ma& get missed at an& net$or* element. There are speciali.ed "illing s&stems, $hich are "eing used to handle retail "illing li*e Converg&s and /mdocs 0illing s&stems are famous for retail "illing $hereas /SC/9E and I=TEC "illing s&stems are famous for $holesale "illing. Wholesale "illing can also "e settled using retail "illing s&stems "& using simple reports "ecause the& do not deal $ith too man& discounts and promotion t&pes

$hereas retail "illing needs all these complications and can not "e handled using $holesale "illing s&stems. /ll the concepts discussed so far in this tutorial $ere related to retail "illing and su"se1uent chapters $ill discuss a"out interconnect "illing, roaming "illing and other "illing t&pes.

TELEC ! I"TERC ""ECT BILLI"#


Interconnect is the process of handling calls for other service providers. This allo$s the customers of one service provider to communicate $ith the customers of another service provider. If t$o operators / and 0 are not interconnect partners, then it $ould not "e possi"le for a customer of #perator / to communicate $ith a customer of operator 0.

6suall&, operators *eep their agreements $ith each other to allo$ their customers to communicate $ith each other. This gives good "usiness opportunit& to all the operators engaged in interconnection. /n& interconnection point at $hich the parties agree to connect their respective =et$or*s is called DInterconnection PointD. Examples of interconnection include) T$o ad5acent, non2competing telephone net$or*s interconnect so that su"scri"ers on one net$or* can call those on the other. (ong2distance carriers o"tain access to the facilities of a local service provider and compete against that provider in providing long2distance services to a common customer "ase.

Traditional $ireline telephone and ne$ $ireless mo"ile carriers interconnect so that su"scri"ers of the traditional phone service can call $ireless su"scri"ers, and vice versa. =e$ competitive local telephone carriers interconnect $ith the incum"ent carrier so that the& can attract su"scri"ers in the common service territor& and ena"le those su"scri"ers to call su"scri"ers on the incum"ent4s net$or*. Customers of the incum"ent telephone carrier ma*e calls to their dial2up Internet Service Provider, $hich in turn is a customer of a competing local carrier.

Interconnect Invoicing: This is process of the production of invoices to send to an interconnect partner relating to incoming interconnect call detail records (C9R . Interconnect 0illing concerned $ith calculating the amounts to "e paid to and received from each of the net$or* operators that our infrastructure connects in order for the successful call origination and termination. The C9R for interconnecting calls *eeps the call routing information as a group of valid values to identif& the carrier and countr& details. =ote that the set of Interconnect C9Rs includes the follo$ing details) C9Rs are those "illa"le to retail and $holesale customers. It is revenue for the telecom provider. It is also referred as local "illing. C9Rs that are onl& "illa"le for Interconnect providers. Eg) #utgoing calls, #utgoing Transit calls, Incoming calls, etc. The #utgoing calls are the expense and Incoming calls are the revenue for the Telecom Provider. Interconnect 0illing s&stems do pricing of all incoming and outgoing interconnect C9Rs. 6suall&, an interconnect price is determined for "oth incoming and outgoing interconnect C9Rs on the "asis of the incoming or outgoing trun* interconnect route that carries the call. %ost commonl&, a trun* I9 represents a uni1ue interconnect partner in the interconnect 0illing S&stem. !ettlement Process: The Settlement Process $ill "e used to settle the =et$or* #perator8Carrier involved in carr&ing calls from Interconnect #$ner to #ther =et$or* #perator destination or vice versa. The Process $ill "ring the #utgoing (Expense to Interconnect #$ner and Incoming (Revenue to Interconnect #$ner traffic for the settlement. Settlement can "e done on monthl& or "i2$ee*l& "asis using manual or automated process. It depends on "illing s&stem to "illing s&stem ho$ it supports partner4s settlement.

/etting Process: =etting used to perform after the settlement is completed for the agreed Provider8Carrier. The netting is done "& multiple settlement period for the multiple services, $hich it supports the same currenc& in #perator level.

There are t$o t&pes of netting methods) ').-R: /fter for =etting of #perator4s Interconnecting cost after su"tracting the amount "et$een operator and Provider8Carrier -)$R-: 0efore for =etting of #perator4s Interconnecting cost $ithout an& su"tracting of the amount "et$een operator and Provider8Carrier. Reconciliation Process: This is the process of the reconciliation of invoices coming from an interconnect partner $hich relate to outgoing C9Rs. Ever& month interconnect partners exchange their C9Rs for reconciliation purpose. It is ver& common to have discrepancies in the C9Rs provided "& the t$o partners. 0illing S&stems provide reports facilitating reconciliation of incoming and outgoing interconnect C9Rs. These reports *eep parameters such as call t&pe, destination, cost "and, and duration so that these C9Rs can "e used "& "oth operators to match those parameters and identif& missing C9Rs. There ma& "e a situation, $hen some C9Rs are found missing at either of the operators4 side. /fter doing re1uired reconciliation if matter does not settle, then various negotiations happen "et$een the partners, and finall&, matter is settled "& pa&ing some nominal amount to the impacted interconnect partner. Interconnect Call !cenarios: There could "e various interconnect call scenarios depending on t&pe of agreement "et$een different operators. (et me tr& to cover fe$ most commonl& used) #perator /4s customer ma*es national call to #perator 04s customer. In this case operator / $ill pa& some amount to operator 0. #perator /4s customer ma*es international call through #perator 0, "ecause operator / does not have direct agreement $ith an& international operator. In this case, operator / $ill pa& some amount to operator 0 and operator 0 $ill ta*e care of settling do$n international operator. #perator /4s customer ma*es international call directl& using an international operator. In this case, operator / $ill pa& some amount to international operator directl&. /ll the a"ove calls could "e voice, S%S, %%S and data, etc. Interconnection 'greements: To have a successful interconnection, the follo$ing issues should "e dealt $ith in the interconnection agreement or "& rule or order from the regulator& authorit&) Prices and adjustments: This includes the initial level of interconnection charges, a definition of the currenc& in $hich interconnection charges are to "e paid and ho$ prices $ill ad5ust over the term of the agreement to account for exchange rate changes and inflation.

Points o# interconnection: The ph&sical locations, $here interconnection $ill ta*e place and the technical standards to "e emplo&ed in the interconnection are defined.

.ransport and tra##ic routing: Some definition must "e made for ho$ calls $ill "e routed and $hat $ill "e transport to deliver the calls. =uality o# service: ;ualit& standards are defined, particularl& for time to provision circuits and for call "loc*ing levels, and remedies are defined for $hen those standards are not met. illing and collection: When and ho$ to collect traffic data, $hen and ho$ to exchange "ills, and $hen and ho$ to ma*e pa&ment should "e specified. Reconciliation: / process for reconciling traffic data and for ma*ing in1uiries to the other part& and for handling claims also should "e incorporated. / procedure for resolving discrepancies is useful $hich often involves see*ing recourse to ar"itration, the regulator, or to the courts. /umbering Plan: /ccess of each operator to the countr&4s num"ering plan and num"ering resources must "e defined. .ra##ic 1oad: Capacit& to deliver and receive the traffic that flo$s "et$een the interconnecting net$or*s should "e discussed and documented.

'greements .ypes: #perators can have different t&pes of agreements to exchange their traffic. %ost commonl& used agreements are listed "elo$) i-1ateral 'greement: 6nder this agreement, each part& agrees to exchange digital communications traffic $ith the other part& over its =et$or* at the Interconnection Points and8or in one or more direct interconnections. Pa&ment settlement among different partners happens on monthl& or "i2monthl& "asis as per the agreement. /s per this agreement, "oth the operators can originate and terminate their calls in each other4s net$or*. Uni-1ateral 'greement: 6nder this agreement, one part& sends their traffic to other part&4s =et$or* at the Interconnection and does not ta*e traffic "ac* from other part&. Pa&ment settlement among different partners happens on monthl& or "i2monthl& "asis as per the agreement.

TELEC ! R A!I"# BILLI"#


Roaming is the a"ilit& for a customer of mo"ile communications to automaticall& ma*e and receive telephone calls, send and receive data, or access other services $hile travelling outside the geographical coverage area of the home net$or*, "& means of using a net$or* of another operator. Roaming can "e either national roaming or international roaming. =ational roaming means that mo"ile su"scri"ers ma*e use of another net$or* in geographical areas, $here their o$n operator does not have coverage. This is, e.g., used "& operators, $ho do not have complete coverage in a countr&. International roaming is used $hen mo"ile su"scri"ers travel a"road and ma*e use of the net$or* of an operator in the foreign countr&.

3o$ actuall& it happensO 7es, if a service provider does not have a net$or* coverage in a particular cit& or countr&, then this service provider ma*es a roaming agreement $ith another service provider having net$or* in that cit& or countr&. /s per this agreement, another service provider provides all the availa"le services to the roaming customer of first service provider. C9Rs generated in one roaming partner4s area are collected and rated "& that roaming partner and finall& the& are sent to the actual service provider of the roaming customer. /ctual service provider charges the end customer for all the roaming services provided "ased on their predefined service charges. T$o roaming partners settle their financials on monthl& "asis "& exchanging actual roaming C9Rs and reports "ased on those C9Rs. &PM/ and :PM/: The 3ome Pu"lic %o"ile =et$or* is the net$or* from the operator "& $hich a mo"ile su"scri"er has a su"scription. The term is used as opposed to <isited Pu"lic %o"ile =et$or* (<P%= . The <isited Pu"lic %o"ile =et$or* is the net$or* used "& a mo"ile su"scri"er $hile roaming. The term is used as opposed to 3ome Pu"lic %o"ile =et$or* (3P%= . Clearing &ouse: There are $ell *no$n "odies li*e %/C3 $ho interface "et$een different roaming partners to help them to exchange their C9Rs, setting up roaming agreements and resolving an& dispute. Clearing houses receive "illing records from one roaming partner for the in"ound roamers and su"mit "illing records to another roaming partner for $hich this roamer $ould "e called out"ound roamer. "hat is .'P9( Transferred /ccount Procedure version A (T/PA is the process that allo$s a visited net$or* operator (<P%= to send "illing records of roaming su"scri"ers to their respective home net$or* operator (3P%= . T/PA is the latest version of the standard and $ill ena"le "illing for a host of ne$ services that net$or*s intend to offer their customers.

Clearing house uses T/PA protocol to exchange all the C9Rs "et$een different roaming partners. T/PA defines ho$ and $hat information on roamed usage must "e passed "et$een =et$or* #perators. These files are exchanged using simple !TP connection. There are different versions of T/P. T/P evolved from T/P@ through T/PB and T/PBP to T/PA. The latest release, T/PA, includes support for inter2standard roaming in a satellite net$or*, W(/= and 6%TS and other AC technologies. *!M .'P !tandard .D,>?: CS% Transferred /ccount Procedure (T/P defines the format and validation rules for transferring roaming usage information "et$een mo"ile operators in different countries. T/PA is the third specification version of the standard. The files transferred are termed T/P files. *!M R'P !tandard .D,98: CS% Returned /ccounts Procedure (R/P defines the format for returning information on errors found $ithin transferred T/P files8events and there"& re5ecting financial lia"ilit& for those files8events. The files transferred are termed R/P files. Roaming illing: %o"ile su"scri"er travels to another countr& and creates usage on the foreign net$or*. In order to "ill the su"scri"er, this information has to "e passed "ac* to the su"scri"er4s home net$or*. The foreign net$or* $ill collect information on the usage from it4s s$itches, etc., and then create T/P files containing the information set out in the standard. The files are then EKP#RTE9 (on a regular "asis, generall& at least one file per da& to the home operator, $ho $ill I%P#RT them and then use the information to invoice the su"scri"er. The foreign operator $ill rate the calls and then charge the su"scri"ers home net$or* for all the calls $ithin a file. The home operator can mar* up or re2rate the calls in order to ma*e revenue.

TELEC ! !V"

BILLI"#

"hat is M:/$( %<=# stands for %o"ile <irtual =et$or* #perator. / mo"ile virtual net$or* operator (%<=# is a compan& that provides mo"ile phone services "ut does not have its o$n licensed fre1uenc& allocation of radio spectrum, nor does it necessaril& have all of the infrastructure re1uired to provide mo"ile telephone service. %<=E stands for %o"ile <irtual =et$or* Ena"ler, $hich is a compan& that provides services to mo"ile virtual net$or* operators such as "illing, net$or* element provisioning, administration, operations, support of "ase station su"s&stems and operations support s&stems, and provision of "ac* end net$or* elements, to ena"le provision of mo"ile net$or* services li*e cellular phone connectivit&. /n %<=# in realit& is a reseller of mo"ile products and services from an actual operator "ut under a different "rand. !or example, there is an operator / having all the infrastructure including net$or*, s$itches, "illing s&stems, provisioning s&stem and customer care s&stems, etc. =o$ if

someone $ants to start a telecom "usiness "& doing some minimum investment, then %<=# is the option to proceed. /n %<=# $ill "u& services in "ul* from a $ell2esta"lished operator and change the "rand name as per their convenience and mar*et those products and services as an operator. /ctual operator $ould remain transparent from the end customer and customer $ill have feeling li*e to "e an end customer of %<=#. 9epending on the situation, an %<=# can "u& one or more infrastructure components from an operator and pa& them accordingl&. !or example, an %<=# ma& li*e to use onl& net$or* from the operator or an %<=# can use net$or* and charging s&stem from the operator and rest of the components li*e customer care, provisioning, etc., can "e set up "& the %<=#. %<=#4s have full control over the SI% card, "randing, mar*eting, "illing, and customer care operations. The first commerciall& successful %<=# in the 6> $as <irgin %o"ile 6>,QAR launched in the 6nited >ingdom in @NNN and no$ has over E million customers in the 6>. M:/$ !ervices: %<=#s t&picall& do not have their o$n infrastructure, "ut some leading %<=#4s deplo& their o$n mo"ile I= infrastructure in order to facilitate the means to offer value2added services. %=<#4s can treat incum"ent infrastructure such as radio e1uipment as a commodit&, $hile the %<=# offers its o$n advanced and differentiated services "ased on exploitation of their o$n intelligent net$or* infrastructure. In this $a&, each %<=# and the net$or* operator could focus on their o$n niche mar*ets and form customi.ed detailed services that $ould expand their customer reach and "rand. %ost of the %<=#s come in the mar*et to target onl& pre2paid customers and provide them onl& pre2paid services li*e voice, S%S, %%S, data, "road"and, etc., $ith some nice value2added services. M:/$ illing: /ssuming an incum"ent operator sells their infrastructure to an %<=#, there could "e different "usiness models and agreements "et$een incum"ent and %<=#. !ollo$ing are the most commonl& used) %<=# can "rand their services and sell them in the mar*et and %<=E $ill help in providing those services to the end customer. 3ere, a fixed percent of commission $ill go to the %<=E. %<=# can "u& products and services in "ul* at special discounted prices and then "rand them $ith their name and sell in the mar*et. %<=# sells the products and services, and "ased on the usage generated "& the end customers, %<=# pa&s an amount to the %<=E. In all the cases, %<=# ma& "e re1uired to pa& some amount of securit& deposit to the %<=E and then monthl& settlement happens using simple reports generated "& the %<=E. /n %<=E can add an %<=# in their "illing s&stem as a corporate customer as long as %<=# is providing post2paid services and can add all the products and services

provided to %<=#. 0& the end of ever& month or usuall& after ever& t$o $ee*s, invoice can "e generated and collection can "e follo$ed up. 0ut usuall&, most of the %<=#s provide pre2paid services, $hich are handled in Pre2 Paid s&stem. In such case, %<=# functionalit& is achieved either using "uilt2in functionalit& in the pre2paid s&stem or "& simpl& defining a separate service class. /ll the usage C9Rs and other information is dumped into data $arehouse from $here reports can "e generated to prepare invoice.

TELEC ! C "VER#E"T BILLI"#


"hat is Convergent illing( /ssume an operator is providing different services mo"ile voice, fixed voice, data, IPT<, "road"and, pre2paid and post2paid, etc. / customer can have one or more of these services from the same operator. / t&pical customer $ould definitel& li*e to have single invoice and single vie$ of his account. / convergent "illing is the integration of all service charges onto a single customer invoice and a unified vie$ of the customer. Customer should call a call center and should get complete account information for all the services opted. Customer receives a single "ill and ma*es a single pa&ment for all the services. / trul& Convergent 0illing S&stem should "e a"le consolidate an& num"er and com"ination of products and services onto a single "ill, regardless of the t&pe of product and mar*et segment, i.e., prepa& and postpa& services. /nother important parameter contri"uting in convergent "illing is a single product and price catalogues for pre2paid as $ell as post2paid customers. ene#its o# Convergent illing: Convergent "illing $ould help operators in achieving the follo$ing ma5or "enefits) Single product and service catalogue gives "etter time to mar*et and reduced cost of implementation. / unified "ill ena"les cross2service discounts, so that customers $ho order multiple services can receive preferential pricing. Convergent "illing ena"les multi2service pac*aging and pricing, $here"& existing customers are enticed to add ne$ services and ne$ customers are attracted "& innovative service "undles. Centrali.ed customer care and support for "oth t&pe of customers ( pre2paid and post2paid . Major ottlenec%s: So far it has "een a dream of all the "ig telecom operators to achieve true convergence. %a& "e tomorro$ some "illing s&stem $ould come $hich $ill support true convergence of all the product and services "ut toda& it has follo$ing o"stacles to achieve real convergence) Real time Charging S&stems li*e Ericsson I= or =o*ia Siemens Charging S&stem are ver& popular s&stems to provide solution for pre2paid product and services. These s&stems are not flexi"le enough to handle various functionalities re1uired

for post2paid customers for example) complex customer hierarchies, C9R re2 rating, volume discounts, flexi"le reporting, roaming charging, interconnect charging, etc. Post paid "illing s&stems li*e Converg&s Infin&s or /mdocs 0illing S&stems are great for post2paid product and services. These s&stems are not capa"le to handle pre2paid traffic and charge the calls in real time. Importantl& these s&stems can not "e made highl& availa"le "ecause of their "ase architecture. >eeping t$o a"ove mentioned constraints together, if $e merge "oth the s&stems "& doing a *ind of interfacing "et$een pre2paid and post2paid s&stems then it ma& "e possi"le to achieve a true convergence. Companies li*e Converg&s and Ericsson are $or*ing in the same direction to merge the t$o s&stems and use re1uired functionalities from "oth t&pe of s&stems and ma*e them single Convergent 0illing S&stem.

TELEC ! BILLI"# - S%PP RT & !AI"TE"A"CE


Support and maintenance is an integral and the most important part of a telecom operation. Customer satisfaction directl& depends on ho$ efficient and ho$ good support is "eing provided to them. If customer is "eing put in the loop and he is not getting good response for the pro"lem8issue raised, simpl& customer $ould s$itch to another availa"le operator. Support and maintenance covers the follo$ing ma5or areas) !ystem support and maintenance: This includes *eeping the 0SS (0usiness Support S&stems and #SS (#peration Support S&stems running and in good health. If there is an& issue in an& of the s&stems ( 0illing, Provisioning, =et$or*, %ediation, Customer Care, etc., , then it is loo*ed "& the specialists and fixed $ithin a minimum time frame. Customer !upport: This includes fixing all the issues related to customer provide and services. / customer complains through customer care or call center and then issue flo$s at different stages. This issue could "e related to signals, call drop, voice or data do$nload 1ualit&, $rong "ill, some dispute, service activation or termination, etc. !ystem upgrades: This includes upgrading an existing s&stem $ith the latest version to provide more sta"ilit& and flexi"ilit& in the "usiness. =e$ version of an& s&stem comes along $ith ne$ features to cater ne$ "usiness re1uirements. This also includes hard$are upgrade to maintain s&stem performance and for more storage as $ell. !upport 1evels: There are al$a&s different levels of support *ept in place "& the service providers. These levels handle different t&pes of issues depending of their nature and severit&. %ost commonl& used support levels are as follo$s) 1evel 7: Customer contacts the customer support, $hich could "e a call center and customer support specialist listens to customer pro"lem and suggests a solution on the spot. !or example, there could "e some pro"lems, $hich can "e

resolved "& simpl& restarting the phone. So an efficient customer care specialist *no$s a"out such t&pe of pro"lems and can suggest a solution $ithout escalating the issue (usuall& called a trou"le tic*et to the next level. 1evel 8: If a customer care specialist is not a"le to resolve a pro"lem, then issue is escalated to second level support, $hich is a group of technical specialists. These specialists "elong to Information Technolog& (IT department, and if the& are a"le to understand the pro"lem, then the& can suggest a solution and send the issue "ac* to level @, other$ise the& chec* the nature of issue to understand if issue is related to net$or* or "illing s&stem or provisioning s&stem or hard$are, etc., and "ased on the nature of the issue, issue is assigned to next level, i.e., department. 1evel 9: These are different departments speciali.ing in their areas li*e core engineering, radio planning, "illing, provisioning, order management, etc. If issue is escalated to them, then the& anal&.e the pro"lem and tr& to find out the root cause of the pro"lem. %ost of the times, issue $ill "e diagnosed and fixed "& third level support "ecause the& are highl& s*illed engineers speciali.ed in their area. There ma& "e situation, $hen issue can not "e fixed at Ard level support "ecause it ma& "e related to core functionalit& of the s&stem $hich is not modifia"le "& Ard level support. In such case, issue is further escalated to Eth level support. 1evel ;: These are actual vendors of the s&stems supporting "usiness, for example, "illing s&stem, net$or* s$itch, provisioning s&stem, etc. So if issue is found to "e related to the core functionalit& of "illing s&stem, for example "illing s&stem is not a"le to appl& correct discount, then it $ould "e escalated to the "illing s&stem vendor, and if issue is related to the core functionalit& of the provisioning s&stem, then it $ould "e escalated to the provisioning s&stem vendor.

!ervice 1evel 'greements 4!1'6: Support departments al$a&s $or* $ith a predefined service level agreement called S(/. These S(/s are defined and *ept in place *eeping various parameters in mind. !or example) Severit& of the issue or operational tas*. 0usiness impact of the issue or operational tas*. Whether issue or operational tas* is impacting a single customer or multiple customers. Whether the issue or operational tas* is directl& related to revenue loss or customer satisfaction. 0ased on such t&pe of parameters, different priorities are defined and assigned to different issues or operational tas*s. #perational tas* could "e report generation, invoice generation, data"ase cleanup activities, or "ac*up activities. !inall&, each issue and operational tas* comes along $ith an assigned priorit& and each priorit& $ill have associated S(/. !or example, if there is a pro"lem in creating customer order, then it $ould "e assumed a high priorit& issue "ecause it is directl& impacting "usiness. Such t&pe of issues need to "e resolved as soon as possi"le "& the assigned department. So a ver& tight S(/ is defined for high priorit& issue.

S(/s are discussed and finali.ed $ith mutual agreement *eeping "usiness need on top priorit&. 6suall&, an S(/ *eeps the follo$ing information) Parameters to 1ualif& the nature of the issue $hether it is priorit& @st issue or Bnd priorit& issue or Ard or Eth priorit& issue. (o$er the priorit& num"er, higher is the criticalit& of the issue. !or a given t&pe of priorit& and severit&, ho$ much time it $ould ta*e to resolve the issue. In case of failure of an S(/, $hat penalt& $ould "e applied. Contact points of escalation for each level of support. Process flo$ and communication medium during issue resolution. Infrastructure availa"ilit& and other constraints impacting the issue resolution. S(/s can "e defined "et$een different departments, "et$een vendor and operator and "et$een different operators as $ell in case of interconnection.

+ - !a,or Billing Systems


/ list of ma5or 0illing S&stems in Telecom Industr&. This page lists do$n ma5or telecom "illing s&stems availa"le in the mar*et. This list is "ased on our o"servations and self2evaluation. 7ou should ta*e &our decision "& going through these "illing s&stems &ourself. Retail illing !ystems:
!ystem /mdocs Converg&s Cellution Comarch Comverse CSC S&stems !TS 3igh9eal 3ua$ei I9I 0illing Solutions >a"ira Technologies (3S %artin 9a$es S&stems #racle R0% Sitronics "ebsite http)88$$$.amdocs.com http)88$$$.Converg&s.com http)88$$$.@cellution.com8 http)88$$$.comarch.com http)88$$$.comverse.com http)88$$$.csgs&stems.com http)88$$$.fts2soft.com http)88$$$.highdeal.com http)88$$$.hua$ei.com8 http)88$$$.idi"illing.com http)88$$$.*a"ira.com8 http)88$$$.lhsgroup.com http)88$$$.martinda$ess&stems.com http)88$$$.oracle.com8index.html http)88$$$.sitronicsts.com8en8home8index.html

%agna1uest Technologies

http)88$$$.magna1uest.com
"ebsite http)88$$$.ericsson.com http)88$$$.no*iasiemensnet$or*s.com http)88$$$.orga2s&stems.com http)88$$$.magna1uest.com

Pre-Paid

illing !ystems:

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Interconnect
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illing !ystems:
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- - Billing System Inter.aces


6nderstand various ma5or interfaces interacting $ith a 0illing S&stem. !ollo$ing diagram sho$s a t&pical architecture of a 0illing S&stem. This chapter $ill give a "rief introduction of all the interfacing s&stems starting from top to "ottom.

CRM<$M$) !ystem This is the first s&stem from $here a customer order is captured and customer is created into the s&stem. CR% stand for Customer Relationship %anagement and #%#! stands for #rder %anagement and #rder !ulfilment. There are s&stems li*e Sie"el, $hich provides modules for CR% as $ell as #%#!. The CR% s&stem *eeps customer2related information along $ith product and services. The #%#! module is responsi"le to trac* order starting from its creation till its completion. 3ere, $e have t$o possi"ilities) CR% (Customer Relationship %anagement 8#%#! (#rder %anagement and #rder !ulfilment s&stem contacts $ith the "illing s&stem and "illing s&stem contacts $ith provisioning s&stem to provision the services and net$or* inventor& s&stem as $ell to assign phone num"ers or IP addresses, etc. Second possi"ilit& could "e that CR%8#%#! s&stem itself contacts $ith provisioning s&stem to provision the services and net$or* inventor& s&stem as $ell to assign phone num"ers or IP addresses, etc. Provisioning !ystem: This s&stem ta*es commands either from the 0illing S&stem or CR%8#%#! S&stem to activate, deactivate and suspend the services. 0oth the architectures are valid and depend on ho$ architect designs the $hole setup. /fter ta*ing provisioning commands, this s&stem contacts $ith core net$or* s&stem to activate, deactivate or suspend the services. /fter a successful provisioning, this s&stem sends a response "ac* to either the 0illing S&stem or the CR% s&stem depending on $ho sent it the last command. /et5or% Inventory !ystem 4/I!6:

This s&stem maintains all the net$or* identifiers li*e phone num"ers, %SIS9=, IP addresses, e2mail addresses, etc., and technicall& it is called =et$or* Inventor& S&stem. 9epending on the s&stem architecture, either CR%8#%#! or 0illing S&stem contacts =IS to o"tain a re1uired net$or* identifier and assigns it to the customer at the time of order creation. This s&stem is responsi"le to maintain the life c&cle of net$or* identifiers $hich starts $ith availa"le and then flo$s through different stages li*e activation, suspend, terminate, 1uarantine, and again availa"le. /et5or% !5itches: Cenerall&, 0illing S&stem does not interact $ith net$or* s$itches. =et$or* s$itches are responsi"le to provide all the services to the end customers "ased on $hat services have "een provisioned for the customer. These s&stems are responsi"le for controlling calls, data do$nload, S%S transfer, etc., and finall& generating Call 9etail Records. =et$or* S$itches include %SC, S%SC, CCS= and %%SC. !or more information on CS%, %SC, S%S, S%SC, CCS=, %%S, %%SC, please refer to our CS% tutorials.

Mediation !ystem: The %ediation S&stem collects C9Rs from different net$or* elements in different formats. <arious net$or* elements generate C9Rs in /S=.@ format and some net$or* elements have their o$n proprietar& format of C9Rs. The %ediation S&stem processes all the C9Rs and converts them into a format compati"le to the do$nstream s&stem, $hich is usuall& a 0illing S&stem. The %ediation S&stem applies various rules on C9Rs to process them? for example, mediation s&stem mar*s the international calls "ased on the dialed num"er (02 =um"er , same $a& mediation s&stem mar*s the on2net calls "ased on /2=um"er and 02=um"er. There ma& "e a re1uirement to filter out all the calls, $hich are having call duration less than , seconds, the "est place to filter out such t&pe of calls $ill "e at %ediation S&stem level. Same $a&, if some extra information is re1uired in the C9Rs $hich is critical to "illing, then %ediation S&stem $ill help in providing such information "ased on some other attri"utes availa"le $ithin the C9Rs. #nce the collected C9Rs are processed, %ediation S&stem pushes all the C9Rs to the 0illing S&stem using !TP "ecause usuall& %ediation and 0illing s&stems run on different machines. Data "are &ouse 4D"&6 !ystem: This is a do$nstream s&stem for the 0illing S&stem and usuall& *eeps tons of historical data related to the customers. 0illing S&stem dumps various customer information into the 9W3 s&stem. This information includes service usage, invoices, pa&ments, discounts and ad5ustments, etc.

/ll this information is used to generate various t&pes of management reports and for "usiness intelligence and forecast. 9W3 s&stem is al$a&s meant to $or* on "ul* and huge data, and if there is a need for an& small report, then it is al$a&s $orth to generate it from the "illing s&stem directl& instead of a"using 9W3 for a small tas*. -nterprise Resource Planning 4-RP6: /n Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP s&stem provides modules to handle !inancials, 3uman Resources and Suppl& Chain %anagement, etc. 0illing S&stem interface $ith this s&stem is used to post all the financial transactions li*e invoices, pa&ments, ad5ustments. This s&stem $or*s li*e a general ledger for the finance department and gives complete revenue information at an& point in time it is re1uired. Payment *ate5ay: /s such, this is not necessaril& a complete s&stem, "ut it could "e a *ind of custom component, $hich sits in "et$een the 0illing S&stem and different pa&ment channels li*e "an*s, credit card gate$a&, shops and retailers, etc. /ll the pa&ment channels use pa&ment gate$a& to post pa&ments to the "illing s&stem to settle do$n customer invoices. 6suall&, Pa&ment gate$a& exposes a *ind of /PI (/pplication Programming Interface to the outside $orld to post the pa&ments to the 0illing S&stem. The /PI can "e used "& an& external resource to post the pa&ment.

/ - Billing Terminologies
/ collection of all the most commonl& used terms in Telecom 0illing 9omain
.erm Description /n architecture that allo$s a computer s&stem to operate continuousl& $ith the a"solute minimum of do$ntime. This t&picall& includes the a"ilit& to upgrade components of the s&stem (hard$are, soft$are, data, etc. $ithout the need for the $hole s&stem to go offline. / re1uest made "& one telephone compan& to another telephone compan& to meet an& *ind of interconnectivit& or data sharing need. /""reviation) /SR. The entit& that is invoiced. The threshold value that triggers an external action as part of an account threshold set. The amount used to determine if further authori.ations can "e granted. The total amount "illed minus the total amount paid. /n addition to an account4s credit limit that can "e used to compensate for non2cash resource "undles availa"le to an account? for example, free minutes of telephone calls $hen performing an authori.ation credit chec*. The currenc& used for an account. /ll transactions on the account must "e in the account currenc&. / uni1ue identifier for an account that can "e either s&stem2

BExL architecture

access service re1uest account account action threshold account availa"le credit account "alance

account credit "uffer

account currenc& account num"er

generated or entered manuall&. account start date account status account suspension account unpaid spend The time and date that an account is deemed to have started. The status of an account that indicates $hich stage of its life c&cle the account is at. <alid life c&cle stages include pending, live, a$aiting final "ill, suspended, and terminated. / period during $hich "illing should not ta*e place for the account. The account unpaid spend is defined as the account "alance minus total ad5ustments plus un"illed usage plus the total of accumulated partial events. The method "& $hich invoices and pa&ments are handled. This can "e either open item or "alance for$ard. / period of time, expressed in terms of a fiscal &ear and period $ithin that &ear, that can "e used $hen exporting financial information from Infin&s. The outstanding "alance due on current customer accounts. /""reviation) /8R. This is the 6.>. English e1uivalent to earned "ut un"illed accruals. /n account that is live and can "e "illed. / method of crediting or de"iting an account $ith an ar"itrar& amount of mone&. / message sent from the net$or* element to Prepaid S&stem to re1uest information on ho$ much a given event $ould cost if initiated. The num"er of da&s "et$een the actual "ill date of the unpaid invoice and toda&4s date. / contractual "usiness relationship esta"lished "& the operator $ith its "usiness partners. The agreement ena"les the partners to offer services to the operator4s customers and to share the revenue $ith the operator. Stands for associated P%=. The interface (calling conventions "& $hich an application program accesses operating s&stems and other services. /n application programming programming interface is defined at the source2code level and provides a level of a"straction "et$een the application and the *ernel (or other privileged utilities to ensure the porta"ilit& of the code. /""reviation) /PI. / pu"lic mo"ile net$or* associated $ith a specified event. /""reviation) /P%=.

accounting method

accounting period

accounts receiva"le accruals active account ad5ustment

advice of charge re1uest

age of receiva"les

agreement

/P%=

application interface

associated P%=

/ technolog& for transmitting digital information at a high as&mmetric digital su"scri"er line "and$idth on existing telephone lines to homes and "usinesses. /""reviation) /9S(. as&nchronous transfer mode / $ireline protocol that supports data communication ($ith separate "and$idth controls for different t&pes of transfer over data connection facilities. /""reviation) /T%. / record that is added to $henever a transaction $ith a financial implication is made. The process of verif&ing that a user is $ho he or she claims to "e. The user supplies a user I9 and an authentication credential, such as a pass$ord. The s&stem accepts these as inputs and verifies that the user is valid and has access to the s&stem.

audit trail

authentication

authori.ation "alance for$ard "alance transfer 0an*s S&stem 0I99S "ill image "ill template "ill t&pe /utomated

The process of verif&ing $hat an authenticated user is allo$ed to do. /n accounting method in $hich pa&ments and invoices are allocated to the oldest receiva"les (invoice . / transfer of mone& "et$een accounts. Clearing / s&stem for processing automatic pa&ment collections and refunds on "an* accounts, credit cards, or de"it cards. /""reviation) 0/CS. Stands for 0arcla&s International 9irect 9e"it Service and it is a s&stem for processing automatic pa&ment collections on "an* accounts /n on2screen version of a "ill as sent to the customer. / template used "& the 0ill !ormatting Engine for producing "ills. / categori.ation of a "ill "ased on its purpose, timing, and content. Examples are initiation "ill, periodic "ill, final "ill, post2final "ill, interim "ill or credit note. / discount that is applied to an event at "illing time, changing the cost of the event as $ritten to the data"ase. 0illing time discounts include pre2itemi.ation discounts, tax discounts, post2itemi.ation discounts, aggregate pricing discounts, and "anded discounts. The length of time that the "illing operator can generate product charges in advance of the next "ill period. See pac*age. The pea* time for net$or* traffic. / relationship "et$een telephone users, $ho are modelled as mem"ers and non2mem"ers of the circle. Within this model, a call made "& a mem"er of the circle to another circle mem"er might "e priced using a different rate to that applied to a non2mem"er ma*ing the same call. The telephone line from $hich a telephone call originates. /""reviation) C(I. Stands for customi.ed applications for mo"ile net$or* enhanced logic. The instantaneous handling of actions, such as rating of events, in volumes that meet the needs of Tier @ operators. / carrier grade real2time s&stem provides the com"ined functionalit& and operational ro"ustness that Tier @ operators re1uire. / set of configura"le data specif&ing price plans and other related information. The catalog4s position in the catalog life c&cle is indicated "& its catalog status / record of a telephon& event. /""reviation) C9R. Centrex or CE=TRalised EKchange is a service offered "& telecom service providers that allocates a section of a pu"lic telephone s$itch to dedicated use "& a single organi.ation. It gives the customer the functionalit& of a private telephone s$itch $ithout the need for in2house telecom e1uipment or expertise, and is especiall& useful for small companies. Examples) initiation charge, periodic charge, final charge, termination charge, reactivation charge and usage charge. This is the 6.>. English e1uivalent to net receiva"les. / product the purchase of $hich is dependent upon the purchase of

"illing time discount

"illing $indo$ "undle "us& hour

calling circle

Calling (ine Identifier C/%E(

carrier grade real2time

catalog C9R

Centrex

charge t&pe chasa"le de"t child product

another product. collection action /n action that is to "e performed $hen the receiva"les for an account reach a particular age. The series of actions to "e ta*en as receiva"les "ecome older, that is, reach a defined effective age of receiva"les. It defines $hich dunning action must "e carried out and timing for each action. / s&stem that is availa"le for the handling of receiva"les. Each collection action is associated $ith a collection s&stem through $hich it is implemented. / person $ith $hom the operator has contact for a given customer. Each contact can have a designated language (to "e used in an& correspondence, to have communication $ith, etc. . / commitment from the customer to ta*e one or more products for a set period of time, usuall& in return for a cheaper price plan. Contracts can "e either fixed contracts or varia"le contracts. The duration of a contract. This determines the date for calculating earl& termination surcharges, and (for fixed contracts ho$ long the price is fixed for. The a"ilit& to ta*e an& num"er and com"ination of products and services and consolidate them into a single "ill, regardless of the t&pe of product and mar*et segment. The credit categor& for an account or customer. It summari.es the overall credit $orthiness of a customer or account. The estimated maximum potential lia"ilit& of an account considering all events (including partial events and authori.ations that Infin&s is a$are of. The credit exposure of an account is defined as the total "illed for the account minus the total pa&ments received for the account plus un"illed rated events minus total ad5ustments for the account plus the cost of accumulated partial event plus the outstanding amount relating to pre2authori.ed events. The total amount of lia"ilit& that the Infin&s operator is prepared to allo$ a particular customer or account to have. /n extra "ill containing all ad5ustments in the customer4s favor since the last "ill $as generated. / legal grouping entit& for accounts. / customer can purchase pac*ages, su"scriptions, and products that then are "illed on one or more accounts. / flexi"le accounting structure used to represent the actual structure of a "illed entit&. / financial report listing all transactions of a specific t&pe that occurred on a specific da&? for example, sales, pa&ments or disputes. This is the 6.>. English e1uivalent to collections This is the 6.>. English e1uivalent to age of receiva"les The amount of mone& held against an account in parallel $ith the account "alance, usuall& to offset possi"le failure to return e1uipment, non2pa&ment of "ills, etc. / discount application descri"es the t&pe of discount that can "e applied to modif& an event4s price. The period of time during $hich a particular event discount applies.

collection schedule

collection s&stem

contact

contract

contract term

convergent "illing

credit class

credit exposure

credit limit credit note

customer

customer hierarch&

da& "oo* de"t action de"t age deposit

discount application discount period

!or example, for a discount $here a customer receives A- minutes of free telephone calls ever& t$o $ee*s, the discount period is t$o $ee*s. dispute / record of a disagreement raised "& a customer or partner, t&picall& in reference to a charge. /n Infin&s user ma& raise, trac*, and resolve disputes. / $ritten notification that is sent to the customer of a delin1uent account as*ing for pa&ment. / duplicate event is defined as an& un"illed event that relates to another un"illed event in all of the follo$ing $a&s) the account num"ers are identical, the event sources are identical, the event t&pe I9s are identical, the cost center I9s are identical, the event dates and times are identical. / charge generated $hen products on a contract are terminated "efore the end of the contract (including $hen the contract as a $hole is terminated . The transfer of mone& from one financial institution to another over an electronic net$or*. /""reviation) E!T. / distinct incident that occurs at a particular point in time and $hich has event attri"utes that allo$ it to "e rated. !or example, a telephone call, an Internet do$nload, or the vie$ing of a program. / feature of an event that allo$s it to "e rated, discounted, etc. !or example, a telephon& event ma& have attri"utes, $hich descri"e the time it occurred, the duration of the call, the num"er dialed, and the t&pe of call . / ph&sical pa&ment that has not "een successful? for example, a chec* pa&ment re5ected due to lac* of funds. / "ill generated $hen an account is terminated to "ill all outstanding charges that are due. If necessar&, it can "e follo$ed "& a post2final "ill. / contract $here the price of the product(s on the contract is fixed at the start of the contract. / net$or* operator other than the 0illing S&stem net$or* operator. / foreign net$or* operator ma& have an interconnect accounting agreement $ith the host net$or* operator that allo$s events to "e passed "et$een the t$o net$or*s. /""reviation) !=#. / pu"lic mo"ile net$or* o$ned "& another net$or* operator. /""reviation) !P%=. The accounting records that sho$ all the financial statement accounts of a "usiness. /""reviation) C(. The home pu"lic mo"ile net$or* of a customer ma*ing roaming mo"ile telephone calls. /""reviation) 3P%=. The net$or* operator $ith $hich the 0illing S&stem operator is associated. This is the 6.>. English e1uivalent to in2advance price plan. Exchange The term for a (ocal Exchange Carrier follo$ing deregulation of the telecommunications industr&. /""reviation) I(EC. / service2independent telecommunications net$or*. Intelligence is ta*en out of the s$itch and placed in computer nodes that are distri"uted throughout the net$or*. This provides the net$or* operator $ith the means to develop and control services more efficientl&. =e$ capa"ilities can "e rapidl& introduced into the

dunning notice

duplicate event

earl& termination surcharge

electronic funds transfer

event

event attri"ute

failed pa&ment

final "ill

fixed contract

foreign net$or* operator

foreign P%= general ledger home P%= host net$or* operator in2advance tariff Incum"ent Carrier (ocal

intelligent net$or*

net$or* and easil& customi.ed to meet individual customer4s needs. interconnect agreement interim "ill interstate call accounting / "rea*do$n of events to facilitate the reconciliation of out"ound interconnect call detail records, that is, call detail records for $hich an invoice $ill "e received. /""reviation) I//. / "ill generated in addition to the periodic "ills generated for an account. />/ interim invoice / t&pe of telephone call $ith an origin (dialing num"er destination (dialed num"er $ithin different 6.S. states. and

intrastate call

/ t&pe of telephone call $ith an origin (dialing num"er and destination (dialed num"er $ithin the same 6.S. state. State regulators have 5urisdiction over intrastate calls. / legal document demanding pa&ment for one or more product instances, and their associated events, for a single account. 9etailed "rea*do$n of one or more items of the invoice? for example, a list of re1uested films from a pa&2per2vie$ television channel. /n event that occurs $hile a rating time discount is applica"le "ut is not entered into the 0illing data"ase until after the discount4s period of applica"ilit& has ended. / dedicated line used to transmit voice, data, or video and charged "& a fixed monthl& fee. (ocal =um"er Porta"ilit& ((=P is the process that allo$s a customer to *eep their telephone num"er $hen the& change their operator in their same geographic area. (ocal num"er porta"ilit& re1uires that service providers release their control of one of their assigned telephone num"ers so customers can transfer to a competitive provider $ithout having to change their telephone num"er. (=P also involves providing access to data"ases of telephone num"ers to competing companies that allo$ them to determine the destination of telephone calls delivered to a local service area. / toll call carried "& the (ocal Exchange Carrier that is $ithin a (ocal /ccess Transport /rea. / chec* processing service. The intangi"le assets of a compan&. !or example) IP addresses, calling card num"ers, and telephone access num"ers are examples of logical inventor&. / call carried across (ocal /ccess Transport /reas "& a long distance carrier or Inter Exchange Carrier. The points a$arded as products are purchased and8or used. The& ma& "e redeemed for goods as specified "& the service provider. /n optional categori.ation of a customer, such as a senior citi.en or college student, that is used to filter and price availa"le offers. Examples) senior citi.en, college student, /// mem"er, etc. / process for retrieving usage records (such as call detail records from the net$or* e1uipment. Stands for mo"ile originated call. /n outgoing mo"ile telephone call. Specificall& $ith a T/P file this is recogni.ed as a t&pe of T/P event. /""reviation) %#C. Stands for %o"ile Station International Standard 9ialing =um"er. Stands for %o"ile Terminated Call. /n incoming mo"ile phone call.

invoice

itemi.ation

late event

leased line

local num"er porta"ilit&

local toll call loc*"ox logical inventor&

long distance call lo&alt& points

mar*et segment

mediation

%#C %SIS9= %TC

Specificall& $ith a T/P file this is recogni.ed as a t&pe of T/P event. /""reviation) %TC. The maximum receiva"les that can "e chased on an account or an invoice, calculated using the e1uation total receiva"les minus an& pending disputes raised against the account8invoice minus pending or exported pa&ment re1uests relating to the account8invoice. The control element on the net$or* that is responsi"le for controlling and metering events for an& t&pe of service that uses 0illing S&stem to rate usage. / "od& responsi"le for the operation of a net$or*? for example, the compan& that runs a telephone net$or*. The date a "ill created via the 0illing Engine $as scheduled or re1uested to "e produced. This ma& differ "& several da&s from the actual "ill date if "illing is run late or infre1uentl&. / service such as an -:-- or -:N: call provider. The first three digits of a =orth /merican telephone num"er referred to as the area code. The collection of items that is sold to the customer as a single mar*eting entit&. / s&stem that helps service providers manage computer net$or* pro"lems. /""reviation) #SS. / change to the standard price plan price for a product, defined individuall& for a customer. / defined group of products that are sold together as a unit at a pre2defined price. / product that can have a 1uantit& associated $ith it, so that a customer can, for example, ta*e B-- Centrex lines or @E miles of leased lines and have it appear as a single item. / product that can "e purchased $ithout an& dependencies. The account that is created under an agreement and is invoiced for charges that are specific to managing the account. The ph&sical message that is sent through the Event Service to an external s&stem. Pa&loads are of different t&pes, such as a class name and o"5ect identifier, a name8value pair, or an K%( document. / re1uest sent to a pa&ment authorit& ("an*, credit card service, etc. to confirm, update, or cancel an automatic pa&ment authori.ation. The defined period of time (usuall& expressed in da&s after an invoice is produced, $hen pa&ment of that invoice should "e received. The $a& in $hich the customer can ma*e pa&ment? for example, direct de"it, chec*. / post2processor used to convert pa&ment re1uest format files containing pa&ments into formats suita"le for 0/CS and 0I99S. / product that is not &et active / "ill produced at regular intervals depending on the "ill period specified for the account. / product charge that is applied ever& charge period. Example) a line rental charge.

net receiva"les

net$or* element

net$or* operator

nominal "ill date =um"er Translation Service num"ering plan area offering operational support s&stem override price pac*age

parametric product parent product partner account

pa&load

pa&ment authori.ation re1uest

pa&ment due date

pa&ment method pa&ment re1uest post2processor pending product periodic "ill periodic charge

P%= agreement

/ roaming agreement "et$een the 0illing operator and its roaming partners. The process of importing logical item identifiers, such as telephone access num"ers, from another service provider into the 0illing operator4s inventor&. / configuration must support ranges in order to port in access num"ers The process of exporting logical item identifiers, such as telephone access num"ers, to another vendor. / configuration must support ranges in order to port out access num"ers. /n amount invoiced in advance of a particular date (for example, the end of an accounting period for goods and services that are to "e provided after that date? for example, pa& in advance line rental charges. / computeri.ed on2site telephon& s&stem, usuall& used "& "usiness customers. /""reviation) P0K. / tangi"le or intangi"le o"5ect that is offered to the customer to "u& or lease. / product ma& "e for continual service, e1uipment, or for field $or* activit& / 1ualit& or distinctive feature of a product that is defined "& the CSR during configuration. / mo"ile telephon& product ma& define product attri"utes for the %SIS9= and I%SI. / charge of a particular charge t&pe generated "& a product. / price plan $herein the charge for a product ma& "e rated in proportion to a part period at the start or end of suppl&. / period after deactivation during $hich a logical item, such as a telephone num"er, cannot "e assigned to a different holder. When a 1uarantine has "een applied to an item, the item is not availa"le for assignment until the 1uarantine expires. / plan that defines all the rules and parameters that ena"le the Rating Engine to determine a price for a single event? for example, a telephone call, pa&2per2vie$ event, or home shopping selection. The method of determining the cost for individual events. / discount that is applied to an event at rating time, changing the cost of the event as $ritten to the data"ase. / rating discount is an example of a rating time discount. The process of receiving and rating events individuall& or in small groups, rather than in large "atches. Real2time rating minimi.es dela&s "et$een an event4s creation and rating. This class is used to categori.e a "ill into "ill receiva"les and to assign a pa&ment priorit& to each "ill receiva"le. The monies paid example, directl& (for example, "& negative ph&sical "ac* to the customer, either automaticall& (for into their "an* account via 0/CS or interactivel& sending them a chec* . Refunds are treated as pa&ments.

port in

port out

prepa&ment

Private 0ranch Exchange

product

product attri"ute product charge prorata"le tariff

1uarantine

rate plan rating rating time discount

real2time rating

receiva"le class

refund

reissued "ill re5ected event rerating revenue assurance

/ "ill reissued at the recipient4s re1uest to replace an original that ma& have "een misplaced or gone astra& in the post. /n& event that cannot "e rated. !or example, this could "e "ecause the event source cannot "e found or the event record is corrupt. The action of recalculating the price of events at "illing time, t&picall& to reduce them in response to event discounts. / chec* that no rated events are "eing lost, that is, that the num"er

and total value of events entered for an account are e1ual to the num"er and total value of rated events that are "illed for that account. roamer event /n event produced "& the customer of a foreign P%= $hen roaming on an Infin&s operator4s net$or*. / mo"ile telephone term indicating that a customer has made a call, $hich is serviced "& a net$or* operator other than their home net$or* operator. This occurs $hen the customer is traveling in an area that is not serviced "& their home net$or* operator. The personnel at a communication service provider $ho is primaril& concerned $ith driving initial sales to ne$ customers. The provider of a service. / pa&ment made "et$een partners as a result of processing and reconciling transactions in accordance $ith a partner agreement and its revenue sharing terms. The period for $hich settlement amounts "et$een the Infin&s operator and a merchant are reported on and settled for $ith regard to a group of services or products. The process of vie$ing availa"le offers and selecting one or more offers $ith the intent to purchase. / remova"le module that is inserted into a mo"ile terminal (CS% handset or fax . The card contains all su"scri"er2related data, such as access num"ers, service details, and memor& for storing messages. /""reviation) SI%. Service (evel /greement. 4short messaging service4 or 4service management s&stem4. /n error code used $ithin T/P file transfer, as defined "& the Transferred /ccount 9ata Interchange Croup. Error codes are detailed in T9.,L. T/PA s&stem process that creates T/PA files for export. T/PA s&stem process that imports T/PA files from a P%=. / long distance line that directl& lin*s t$o telephone exchanges. /n account is mar*ed un"illa"le $hen "illing of the account cannot "e completed. The method of rating events in $hich the duration of units and price per unit can "e specified and the event duration is al$a&s rounded up to the next unit "oundar&. / rating method that determines the cost of an event "& defining vertical (< and hori.ontal (3 coordinates to the source and destination locations and computing the distance "et$een them. /lso *no$n as K27 rating, or the Cartesian coordinate geographic model. / communication facilit& for the transmission and provision of additional features. !or example, the a"ilit& to transmit stoc* mar*et 1uotations on demand. /""reviation) </S. /n item identifier that is considered more desira"le than others. / vanit& is an optional element that is associated onl& $ith configurations that support ranges for logical inventor&. The numeric pattern or exact value of each format element in an identifier.

roaming

sales agent service provider settlement

settlement period

shopping

SI%

S(/ S%S T/9IC error code T/P !ile Export T/P !ile Import trun* line un"illa"le

unit "ased rating

<23 rating

value added service

vanit& item

vanit& mas*

vendor visited P%=

The supplier of a particular product or service. / pu"lic mo"ile net$or* used "& a customer $hile the& are roaming. /""reviation) <P%= The routing of voice conversations over the Internet or an& other IP net$or*. The voice data flo$s over a general2purpose pac*et2 s$itched net$or*, instead of the traditional dedicated, circuit2 s$itched voice transmission lines. /""reviated) <oIP. / particular discount that allo$s customer lo&alt& to "e re$arded "& providing discounts "ased on the num"er of events or product charges that a certain product generates. / telephone service that uses electromagnetic $aves to carr& a signal, rather than sending it via ca"le or $ires. Wireless handsets are sometimes *no$n as cellphones or mo"ile phones. / conventional telephone service that allo$s voice, video, and data transmissions via a net$or* of $ires. /lso *no$n as landline or fixed2line. The disregarding of a small amount of receiva"les. !or example, this ma& occur if the currenc& conversion of a pa&ment made in a currenc& other than the account currenc& returns a num"er slightl& smaller than the invoice. /n account for $hich, during a "ill period, no product charges (for example, periodic charges are in force, no usage (that is, no events have "een attri"uted, no discount has "een attri"uted, and no ad5ustments appl&.

voice over Internet protocol

volume product discount

$ireless

$ireline

$rite off

.ero activit& account

0 - List o. %se.ul Billing Lin1s


/ repositor& of useful lin*s related to Telecom 0illing Industr&. M:/$ 2 / $i*i page covering the details a"out %o"ile virtual net$or* operator (%<=# . Roaming 2 / $i*i page covering the details a"out roaming "illing. illing .'P9 !tandards 2 /ccess the T/PA specifications related to Roaming 0illing. illing and $!! "orld 2 0illing ' #SS World (08#SS has "een the leader in providing ne$s and anal&sis covering the challenges and opportunities that communication providers face in the realms of the "ac* office, operations and net$or* management.

New Generation WIN-Based Prepaid Solution The latest generation of prepaid billing solutions is based upon the IS-41 standard or Wireless Intelligent Network (WIN !on!ept" WIN-based prepaid billing offers the real-ti#e $pre-!all$ !ontrol !apabilities as ad%un!t swit!hing platfor# solutions& without the need to be in the !all path and !arr' the (oi!e load" This eli#inates the need for additional (oi!e trunks and allows effi!ient use of the wireless network be!ause the wireless swit!h handles all the !all routing and !ontrol" )ow *oes WIN Prepaid Work+ The WIN-based prepaid billing solution platfor# is a Ser(i!e ,ontrol Point (S,P !o##uni!ating with the wireless network through an SS-.,- signaling network" The S,P intera!ts with the network at different stages of a prepaid !all through the use of WIN triggers" /nder the WIN !all #odel& the network generates triggers at different points in a !all0s life !'!le& allowing the prepaid appli!ation to interdi!t and #ake de!isions about how that !all should be pro!essed" )ow does a !all work+ 1 subs!riber dials a nu#ber and presses S2N*" The wireless network sends a WIN !all-setup trigger to the prepaid platfor#& indi!ating the subs!riber0s na#e and lo!ation as well as the destination of the !all" The prepaid platfor# re!ei(es the #essage& 3ueries its database and sends a response #essage ba!k to the network dire!ting it on how to pro!ess the !all" 1t this point in the !all& there are se(eral options the prepaid platfor# !ould instru!t the network to perfor#4 den' the !all route the !all as dialed pla' a re!orded #essage& then den' the !all pla' a re!orded #essage& then route the !all as dialed route the !all to an I56 (for a !usto#i7ed #essage & then den' the !all route the !all to an I56 (for a !usto#i7ed #essage & then route the !all as dialed" The option sele!ted b' the prepaid platfor# is based upon threshold pro!essing para#eters within the prepaid billing s'ste# set b' the !arrier" In the e(ent that the prepaid platfor# instru!ts the network to route the !all as dialed& a !ountdown ti#er is started based upon the allowable talk ti#e !al!ulated fro# !arrier-defined threshold para#eters& the subs!riber0s rate plan& dialed destination& ti#e.date and !urrent balan!e" If the !ountdown ti#er ends before the subs!riber ter#inates the !all& then the prepaid platfor# instru!ts the network to ter#inate the !all" In an' !ase& on!e the !all is released& the wireless network sends a WIN !allrelease trigger to the prepaid platfor# indi!ating the ending ti#e of the !all" The prepaid platfor# re!ei(es the !all-release trigger& rates the !o#pleted !all and updates the subs!riber0s balan!e a!!ordingl'" WIN Prepaid Billing ,entrali7ed Prepaid Platfor# Sin!e all the WIN !o#ponents are !onne!ted (ia the SS-.,- network& the prepaid platfor# !an be lo!ated !entrall'& without the need to haul the (oi!e traffi! off the swit!h" 8ore 2ffi!ient /se of the Wireless Swit!h

In the WIN #odel& the swit!h is off loaded of ser(i!e !ontrol pro!essing and handles onl' the swit!hing fun!tion" This fun!tion resides e9!lusi(el' in the wireless swit!h& not in an' ad%un!t platfor#s& resulting in onl' two ports being used per prepaid !all on the swit!h" 8ore ,ost 2ffe!ti(e 29pandabilit' 29pansion of the WIN prepaid solution is si#ilar to the ad%un!t swit!hing platfor# solution in that it leads to in!reases in pro!essing power& 618& I.:& storage& a#ong other i#pro(e#ents" )owe(er& instead of in!reasing T1.21 ports& SS-.,- links are added" This is a signifi!ant differen!e" Be!ause the ad%un!t swit!h solution is in the (oi!e path& it is (er' sus!eptible to an' in!rease in the nu#ber of #inutes of use& either through in!rease in subs!ribers& !alls per subs!riber& duration of !alls or an' !o#bination of the three" In the !ase of the WIN prepaid solution& onl' an in!rease in the nu#ber of !alls has an' i#pa!t on the nu#ber of links re3uired" The !ost of one SS-.,- link is greater than the !ost of one T1.21 port; howe(er& the o(erall !ost for a gi(en !apa!it' is less (i"e"& 1 SS-.,- link !an handle #an' #ore !alls per hour than one T1.21 port " The e9pansion !ost differen!e between the two t'pes of solutions is substantial& espe!iall' on large installations" 6oa#ing Support WIN-based te!hnolog' !an fa!ilitate roa#ing whi!h !arries o(er to prepaid ser(i!e as well& sin!e roa#ing partners0 wireless networks !o##uni!ate with ea!h other o(er the sa#e SS-.,- network" With wireless ser(i!e pro(iders tr'ing to a!3uire new subs!ribers and retain e9isting ones& the abilit' to differentiate the#sel(es b' i#ple#enting enhan!ed& distinguishing ser(i!es for lower !osts is !riti!al" ,o#bining these two powerful enablers& prepaid ser(i!e and WIN& wireless operators are ar#ed with the tools ne!essar' to !o#pete in toda'0s #arkets"