How new age, converged charging systems are replacing traditional charging

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Traditional charging is out of vogue

Have you ever wondered how long the traditional charging is going to run the world? Traditional Charging is going to be dead soon. Its existence served the demand of typical telecom use-cases of rating and charging the time and data units. The legacy charging system is capable of rating the telco service usage and manage the service balances in real-time through standard protocols. However, there are various challenges in 4G network as well as security like IP spoofing, User ID theft, intrusion attack and quality of service issues like video buffering, low bit rate, high probability of packet drop and many more. Hence, there is a need of upgrading to a network which can provide increased speed with high quality-of-service and improved bandwidth, reduced latency and support newer technologies like Augmented Reality/ Virtual Reality and Internet of Things (IoT). Moreover, there is a constant need to nurture new revenue streams to stay relevant in this competitive market.

The need for superior customer experience and newer monetisation models, will require new-age charging models

Traditional systems will no longer serve the need of modern monetization techniques. The new charging models has brought a shift in paradigm that allows the business operators to rate and charge ‘anything and everything’. New age charging is not only about the low-latency, unlimited usage and uninterrupted services, but it is more focused on providing the lucrative business offering to not only telco industry but non-telco industries as well while keeping the end customer on highest priority. It allows to build alliances among adjacent as well as non-adjacent businesses using multi-party business model (B2B2X). It also gives significant opportunities to build more compelling offers for consumers and businesses and thus enabling business operators to introduce new revenue streams

First things first – A new-age charging mechanism for 5G networks

Accelerating 5G launch readiness, is pushing operators to innovate across a range of issues like faster 5G deployment, densification of networks, backhaul fiberisation and achieving the right balance between reach and density. The same is true for the world of charging too.

Most important charging and billing considerations for 5G:

  1. Critical/ delay-sensitive applications
  2. Charging for Hosted Applications
  3. Heterogeneous Alliances with charging in various units/ conditions
  4. Network slicing: Mobile Broadband, Mission Critical IOT and Massive IOT
Figure 1 – Synergised charging across utilities

Slice-aware CHF is capable of managing multiple network slices to provide the best quality-of-experience to the end users. Mission critical applications and massive IoT like health services, connected cars, aircraft, emergency communication, surveillance and others will also demand a change in the charging system to support slice-based rating. Multi-party charging in a single flow/ usage allows the service providers to grow more business with alliances and provide the best-class service and attractive offers to the subscribers.

Figure 2 – Multi-variate charging across new use cases

As evident from the use cases mentioned above and the nuanced charging approach required to provide these services, there needs to be a converged charging system which allows for operators to launch new services and monetisation models with ease and flexibility

Leaving the legacy way behind, the new-age, HTTP/2 based charging allows service providers to build a robust charging solution which can integrate with the 5G networks in a uniform and optimized way.

Figure 3 – Traditional vs 5G converged charging system, a comparison

Traditional Charging 5G Converged Charging System (CCS)
Rating based on a single unit- duration, volume, count Rating based on multiple units- kWh, litre, square meter, Kg and many more
Balance Types: Monetary and Non-monetary Any balance types for any unit
Rating based on fixed criteria Rating based on “any” criteria
All charges could be applied to either one or a combination on balances Charges need to be applied to specific balance types
Charging based on multiple types/ conditions to the single chargeable party Charging based on multiple types/ conditions to multiple chargeable parties
Single/ double charging unit based on charged party in a single flow Multiple charging units based on multi-charged party in single flow
Charging the service usage in a single currency in a single flow Charging the service usage in multiple currencies in a single flow
SPR for subscribers Single UDR for subscribers and parties

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