Basics Of Telecom Billing Solution

by adam on May 5, 2010

Telecom companies have a lot of things going for them. You have the traditional voice along with data services and now television and mobile cellular services. As a customer, people can now enjoy bundled services at lower rates and with better service. With all these myriad services rolling out, how does the ISP ensure that everything is accounted for? This is where Telecom billing solution becomes vital.

In voice services, things look very straight forward and we have standardized rates almost everywhere with unlimited local calling. But a simple service like phone can have other complexities like long distance charges and local number portability wherein you switch operators and want to retain the number, among other things. These may not look daunting, but they are vital for the ISP to remain profitable. Robust billing systems can track these and bill accordingly.

In the developed world, it is not uncommon for the new mobile cellular data plans to come with some data limit followed by billing for every additional kilobyte that is used in the network. In the developing nations, there are mobile pre-paid plans that run for a couple of weeks and are then stopped. Keeping track of all these plans and services and ensuring that every one of the transactions is accounted for is just what billing solutions are designed to do.

It is clear that billing systems are great for telecom operators and they cover everything from traditional phone lines to the latest data plans on 3G mobile networks. But there are some costs and implementation considerations that one needs to be cognizant of while installing these systems. Everything from hardware to customer care services need to be looked at.

First it is the billing system hardware and a stable, scalable and flexible software for accurate billing. The next is to determine billing cycles. Really good billing systems may be able to maintain individual billing cycles, but the most common ones tend to have pre-defined billing cycles that need to be agreed on.

The next is the bill distribution feature. For many customers, a paper bill is the preferred method of getting billing information. So you need to print and post the bills and that requires a good automated system to do these things, along with a reliable distribution network. After distributing the bills, you need an equally good system to collect the payments.

Last, but certainly not the least, is the customer care support for the billing details itself. More often than not, customers do not understand the plan details and are surprised with the billed amount. Other times, there could be genuine glitch in the billing software. All these need to be handled by a customer care department.

All in all, Telecom Billing system are vital for modern telecom services providers. With the varied customer requirements and market demands of variations in plans, a robust billing system is mandatory to track usage, bill customers and collect payments. As an ISP, the whole billing solution has to be well thought of and just investing in software is not enough.

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