Sunday, February 6, 2011

Telecom Billing Solution

One of the most important aspects of a successful telecommunications business is the billing system. With the advancement in technology, there are many options and alternatives for the customers to choose from. With increased competition, it is becoming mandatory for the telecom service providers to offer these services. Hence, the telecom billing system needs to be robust enough to bill services, distribute bills and collect payments for all the variations correctly.
The demands of the customers vary from region to region. The customers in the developed nation are used to telephone lines and the next wave of internet access that followed. As a result, these customers are now looking to get voice, video and data services through a single connection. The service providers are also keen to deliver these bundled services to increase the ARPUs. The billing systems need to be able to track the usage of various services and bill them accordingly.
Mobile services are another domain where billing is important. The modern mobile services come with voice messaging and data plans. The voice service could have variations of 100 minutes free to completely unlimited services. Similarly, the data plans have a data traffic cap. If this cap is exceeded, additional usage needs to be billed separately. This adds another dimension to telecom billing.
In the developing nations, with poorer wire line penetrations, wireless services are quite popular. There are offers that are launched for a few days or on particular days. These are very attractive and customers opt for these services. The billing system needs to handle these frequent changes in customer usage.
Now that we understand the demands from a billing solution, we can look at how these solutions work. The sales person would activate an account based on the services subscribed by the customer. The billing system will now interact with the network to measure the usage patterns of the user and apply the respective rates. Typically, the billing is batch processed on particular dates to keep the computations relatively simple.
While creation of the bill is one aspect, distribution and collection of money are the other factors in the billing solution. The distribution network needs to be excellent to ensure that every customer receives the bill well in advance. This could be done online or by mailing out the hardcopies of the bills.
The collection of payments is vital for the company as that brings in the money to sustain the operations. There are many avenues through which the customers could pay the bills as per their convenience. Some people may prefer to use checks, others pay online, and a few others may pay by cash at the collection centers. The billing solution needs to consolidate all these avenues and maintain the right record.
In conclusion, telecom billing OSS is a very complex but highly critical part of telecom operations. The solution needs to be easy to use and yet smart enough to accept the variety of service combinations that customers across the global demand. Due to the regional variations on the telecom service usage behavior, the billing solution needs to be highly versatile as well as very flexible.

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