There’s been plenty of talk around the industry that the old boundaries between fixed, mobile, and Internet services are disappearing. The trend is real, however, and most evident in billing transformations. CSPs choose more frequently to migrate to an end state where all billing and charging for fixed, mobile, and value-added services is operated from a common rating and charging platform. Similarly, many CSPs are choosing to operate billing for both residential and commercial services from a common platform.
It makes sense to consolidate billing across services. The architectural benefits tend to include fewer solutions to maintain; less complex integration to maintain; and lower cost overall. Consolidating also feeds a CSP’s ability to gain a complete view of each customer across all of the services it provides. It enables more valuable bundling and discounting while setting the stage for intelligent cross-sells and promotions. In other words, consolidation can offer contributions to both the top and bottom lines.
Billing transformation initiatives have been somewhat common among Western operators for a number of years, but as economic growth across Asia has impacted the communications subscriber base, the need to transform billing has become more urgent. Operators face increasing service complexity with subscriptions shared across groups and services that span and integrate multiple devices. As a result, their consolidated billing – or more appropriately BSS – infrastructure needs to provides them with the ability to support not only these charging and subscription models but also more complex product models, order management workflows, and fulfillment processes.
Hybrid pre-paid/post-paid is likely to become more prevalent. Application-based services will drive more real-time charging and payment transactions on top of subscription-based core services. Further, the range of payment options available to customers will increase with greater access to credit and electronic banking services, which should ease collections but also makes payment requirements more sophisticated. All of these converging forces emphasize a need for common billing and rating solutions that catalyze, rather than hinder, service innovation and the value delivered within the complete customer relationship.
Photo by Dean Hochman with Creative Commons license
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