“Billing is not a standalone function. The key thing that needs to occur is workflow automation.”

BSS processes and billing are becoming ever closer to the network, perhaps even embedded into hardware (billing on the box)--do you see such a reality in the future?

The reality is the box is a commodity. The value added services is what the consumers will pay for. That’s what service providers need their billing system to focus on. Services can be delivered on the consumer devices, e.g. Pandora, Netflix, etc., and that needs to be tied to the billing system. That’s just today. There are a whole host of service portfolios that will be added in the future. Devices are tremendous platforms for enabling this new age of services.

What are the advantages of a subscription model over a traditional billing model?

The subscription model is all about putting the customer at the center of your business. The traditional billing model is tied around a single customer engagement and metering that over time. The customers want more than that today and service providers need to be able to deliver on that. The difference between the two models can be seen most vividly in revenues where subscription revenues are more predictable over time and customers can upgrade, add more services, 6 for 1.

What does the future look like, in terms of billing, and how do we get there?

The future of billing is in the cloud. Service providers will wake up, if they haven’t already, that they need to adopt cloud-based platforms in order to effectively compete in the market. A given service provider will be required to deliver 50-100 services at any given time. Today, most service providers cannot effectively handle this range.

New Platforms, New Processes

It's not just the vendor community who is trumpeting the horn for new billing processes. Independent analysts and billing specialists are saying the same thing. Doug Newdick, who publishes one of my favorite BSS blogs in cyberspace, writes that most people working in the telecommunications billing arena have been striving toward a single, real-time charging platform for ten years. He recently posted, “If we just re-create the old business processes on new platforms we will not have convergence and we will not deliver the business benefits that convergence promises.”

Similarly, Tony Poulos, BSS Evangelist at the TM Forum, recently penned an article entitled, “ Bye- bye Billing, Goodbye,” wherein he writes, “The idea that we will still need multiple billing and rating engines with complex tariff plans at a time when voice will be so commoditized it will have little or no value seems daft.”

The reality is that billing will definitely undergo change, and it is perhaps best summarized in a new report by Visiongain. “Driven by the changing mobile data/voice model and the shift to next generation networks (NGN), billing vendors are under pressure to provide increasingly complex billing models, yet maintain a simplistic customer interface. The evolution of the mobile industry has rendered a traditional billing models and billing systems untenable, making it critical for operators and service providers to embrace the new billing solutions.”

Research Center

Upcoming Events

LinkedIn  Twitter  RSS