With the advancement of technology, the telecom industry is going through quick transitions. The workflow and requirements keep on changing according to customer and business trends. Any laxity in tending to the ongoing trends can be detrimental to a business operation, and in some cases even lead to the complete breakdown of a telecom operation. Hence, it is essential to incorporate vital functionalities into one’s telecom billing software to avoid failure at all cost.
Convergent Charging: The Solution for Better Revenue Management
One of the biggest pitfalls of a lacking telecom billing system is the trouble it creates in revenue management. But, when you employ a real-time convergent charging platform like OCS, these troubles are overcome conveniently. Below are some important characteristics of an efficient charging platform that can be the difference maker between a successful and failed telecom billing operation:
Postpaid and prepaid convergenceCharging, rating and billing prepaid/postpaid services separately, in today’s highly competitive telecom industry, is not ideal for any business. It is essential to have a billing solution that charges all transactions via a centralized platform and creates a single invoice for both prepaid and postpaid services. With such a platform at one’s disposal, it is possible to create innovative family or shared plans. For example, the main account holder – who has a postpaid account – can provide prepaid allowances for his family members as per his desires. The ability to add limits on the allowances solely rests with the primary account holder, which gives him complete ability to manage the usage of services by his entire family.
Configurable reporting capabilitiesComprehensive reporting capabilities are essential to understand the impact of services on the subscriber base. Also, the reporting capabilities should be completely configurable, so that telcos are able to meet the requirements posed by intricate reporting rules. Configurable reporting is important for business intelligence and allows operators to understand the way market is behaving to their initiatives.
Notifications and promotions in real-timeNowadays, the window one gets to exploit market trends is very small. Any delay in launching a plan can negate the whole endeavor of creating favorable services for your subscriber base. A convergent billing system that integrates real-time promotion and notification capabilities is nothing less than a godsend for any business. This functionality allows operators to cater to the most pressing requirements of customers. For example, a well-timed notification to a subscriber who is on the verge of exceeding his allotted quota can prevent him from hefty overuse charges. Also, if your billing system comes with real-time promotions, you can instantly send a timely message to your subscribers to promote an additional data or call package depending on whatever a customer’s immediate needs are.
Sponsorship of data-based servicesThere can be situations where your customers may be using data-based services like live streaming video service along with the allotted data that he gets. In these scenarios, you cannot charge him for the data when he is using data-based streaming service provided by the OTT partner. But you still have to keep on tracking and billing his data usage, whenever he uses the Internet for any other purpose. This can be a difficult proposition for a traditional billing system, however, a cutting-edge convergent charging system easily allows for systematic and accurate billing of both types of services in such scenarios.
Policy management for customer – enforced usage allocationThere are instances where a customer would like to have a measure of control over the service usage. For example, a parent would want to stop internet data connectivity when his ward is attending school. In such instances, a quality convergent charging system like the one provided by OnlineChargingSystem can be quite useful as it allows for policy management functionality.
Integration of RTCC (real-time convergent charging) solutions with PCRF networkPCRF (Policy and Charging Rules Function) is a vital component of a telecom billing system. It provides real-time notifications for determining policy rules in a telecom network. When real time convergent charging is integrated with PCRF, it is possible to implement policies in the network on billing and charging rules. It can have many implementations e.g. in a 3rd party environments, this functionality can be used for enforcing data throttling when the customer is using a basic package for video streaming services. The same can be increased automatically when the customer opts for a premium package. This automatic on-the-fly capability to change the amount/level of service delivered can help a telco enhance the quality of his operation without putting in too much effort.
Interconnect and wholesale ratingWhen we talk about interconnect and wholesale rating, we should understand that it covers a wide scope. There is a clear need to allow for newer and better business models that may encompass but are not limited to wholesale B2B offerings, M2M connectivity, different types of MVNE and MVNO models. RTCC facilitates multi-party partnerships and various ecosystem-oriented offerings. To ensure maximum advantage from RTCC, it is important to add new capabilities in the present revenue management framework that should be streamlined in due course of time. With such initiatives, RTCC will ultimately become a vital part of a telecom operators’ arsenal and help them manage scope, scale according to requirements and minimize risk at the same time. Hence, it is best not to use piecemeal solutions and instead opt for an evolved RTCC model that adds tangible value to the overall operation and reduces the hassles.
Safety and security of the dataAll your endeavors can come to nothing if the safety and security of customers’ data is compromised. Ensure that the RTCC platform is bolstered with cutting-edge encryption that is updated from time to time. It is also necessary to invest in a cloud-based RTCC platform, which stores subscribers’ data at multiple datacenters and prevent complete data loss in case of any calamity at a particular data site.
Given the current state of the telecom industry, it has become important to innovate and invest in better billing platforms. A convergent real time billing system provides an immediate solution to the many hassles faced by telcos and also helps them launch better services and plans to their subscriber base in quick time.
A convergent charging platform increases transparency in billing and helps you win customers’ trust in these testing times. It also helps you in better sponsorship of data-based services and provides subscribers’ notifications and promotional updates in real-time. To make the most of an RTCC platform, it is important to ensure that it comes with configurable reporting capabilities along with analytics to discover new customer-related insights. And, last but not the least, it should be based in the cloud, store data at multiple data centers to prevent data loss and also come with robust encryption to ward off hackers’ threat.