21st Century & Billings

“As IP-based services evolve, the focus on content increases. Thus, it is imperative to adopt a system ensuring flexibility and top functional value”

Atul Chopra

The mobile telecom industry continues to grow through restructuring and
consolidation throughout the globe. Increasing competition and corresponding
drop in average revenues per users (Arpus) mean that operators are under
pressure to adopt cost-saving measures and face corresponding delayed sales
cycles.

The onset of high-end network generates inherent complexities for billing
systems, in terms of decisions related to installation, pricing, replacement,
upgrades, integration and scope of the deals. As IP-based services such as data,
video, graphics and location-based services evolve, the focus on content
increases. Thus, it is imperative to adopt a system ensuring flexibility and
optimum functionality.

Convergent billing
Investing in a new off-the-shelf billing system every time, for each new service
introduced, is an expensive and sub-optimal proposition for operators.
Convergent billing, which enables multi-service packaging and pricing, entices a
service provider’s existing customers to subscribe to new services, and
attracts new customers through innovative service bundling.

In a highly competitive market, service providers must seek new services that
differentiate them from the rest. Unified customer account records enable
multi-service providers to get a 360-degree view of customers.



Traditional rating for service providers provides a set of hard-coded
programs into the core software of the billing system. A rules-based rating
engine would enable service-providers to bring new services to market quickly,
to increase profitability and improve customer satisfaction by managing services
in real time. The number of call detail records (CDRs) rated per day would be
more meaningful, if CDRs are rated and billed online. This would help service
providers to keep track of subscriber usage and outstation payments, and spot
fraud patterns.

Organizations across the world are increasingly adopting a
“self-care” approach to their business. Using this approach, employees
and customers are empowered to fulfill their requirements by self-service. This
approach reduces incremental operational costs for organizations, hastens
internal processes and reduces the cost of acquisition of new customers, through
Internet based self-provisioning. In addition, a Web-enabled, self-care
solution, acting as an electronic channel, would give customers the ability to
manage their own accounts and would support one-to-one marketing, online
shopping and ordering, account management and electronic bill presentation and
payment.

The growing adaptation of telecom business processes requires a sophisticated
and robust “Electronic Bill Presentation and Payment” system. This
system would go beyond ordinary bill “presentation” and would include
“analysis” and personalization as well. The 21st century billing
system would need to be far more than just a machine chruning out basic receipts
and papers–it would need to incorporate out-of-the-box functionalities that
help capture new markets, provide end-to-end solutions for point of sales to
churn management. This would be coupled with the benefits of providing a
significant cost advantage and an easy of deployment of the solutions. In
addition, billing systems would also provide other functionalities, apart from
being quickly customizable. Therefore, it is imperative for service providers to
optimize their billing solutions to suit to the need of the hour.

The author is chief executive officer of Lifetree Convergence. The full
column can be accessed at www.dqindia.com

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