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From CDR To EDR - Has Telecom Billing Evolved?

From CDR To EDR - Has Telecom Billing Evolved?
Sathish Kumar M - General Manager | October 20, 2010

Communication Service Providers (CSPs) are adopting a two-pronged strategy to remain competitive in the market. On one hand, CSPs are striving to improve their operational efficiency, vendor consolidation and reduction of TCO to control cost. On the other hand, CSPs are strategizing on revenue growth by providing combo plans and launching new value added services. This is more pronounced with wireless operators thanks to their network upgrade to 3G / 4G mobile technology (NGN) and convergence offerings.

With 3G / 4G mobile networks becoming a reality, it offers enormous bandwidth to carry high speed data traffic. This facilitates CSPs to offer mobile broadband services including live video streams, mobile TV and a host of value added services including mobile gaming, mobile music, mobile advertising etc. These collaborative and interactive communication services would be multiple heterogeneous sessions of voice, data, video and interactive application and data sharing. It will no longer be a simple bill generation using Call Detail Records (CDR). The challenge is to gather a variety of parameters like duration, data volume, web site/content accessed, quality of service per flow, per event, per Ad etc. which can be defined as Event Data Records (EDR) in real time to generate bills. The complexity is of the highest order to bill these services if the end customer is on a roaming partner network as it involves multiple service providers and content providers spanning across national boundaries. In such a scenario, the interconnect settlement becomes highly complex as it has to differentiate traffic streams with different QoS and the settlement could be defined based on per minute, volume, type of service and content delivered.

Software solution vendors are addressing these complex requirements by offering data usage managers to gather event records online and feed it into the existing or next generation billing systems to generate bills with appropriate combo discounts as per the product plan. Recently, a leading billing solution vendor has come up with an innovative method to process simultaneous events and bill end customers for their concurrent tasks such as taking a call, downloading a song and sending a text message, all in real time. In the next couple of years, we would witness CSPs upgrading their billing systems to meet the NGN billing needs.

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