Interconnect billing and mediation
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A billing mediation is a system used to convert data of certain datatypes to other datatypes, usually for billing purposes. Billing Mediation Platforms are used mostly by telephone companies, who typically need to process UDRs (Usage Detail Records). In call scenarios UDRs are most often known as CDRs (Call Detail Records), and among broadband carriers they are often referred to as IPDR.
The CDR/UDR datatypes could hold data such as NPX,NPA,Call Duration,peak time flag,call length and this data may be represented in binary formats. The billing mediation platform typically reads this data and converts into common normalized format.
Billing mediation platforms get their name from their behavior: they "mediate" between a variety of other systems. In the typical telephone company scenario, the upstream systems (those providing data to the mediation platform) are network elements, such as telephone switches, and the downstream systems (those receiving data from the mediation platform) perform accounting, auditing, archiving, or bill-generation functions. The mediation system collects, collates and prepares data for consumption by the downstream systems, which often accept data only in a limited set of formats.
Typically a mediation platform is used for the following tasks:
- Collection and validation of CDRs
- Filtering out of non billing-relevant CDRs
- Correlation of different input sources CDRs
- Aggregation of partial CDRs related to the same call
- Format change and CDRs normalization
- Business transformation of data
In a telecom billing scenario, mediation is the first step after receiving a CDR. The mediated CDR is forwarded to a rating engine, which calculates the charge associated with the CDRs.In today's world Rating Engines are more becoming necessary for the telecom billing system to meet the growing variant customer needs for different services.
Despite the name, not all of the data transferred via billing mediation platforms is actually used for billing purposes. For instance, the mediation software might generate traffic volume statistics based on the number and origin of the records passing through it. Those statistics could then be used for capacity planning, as part of a network monitoring procedure, or for any other business intelligence applications.
Sophisticated Billing Mediation software from various providers serves end to end functionality for Telecom Operators. Mediation software performs various operation from Collection to Downstream Distribution to modules like Retail Billing, Interconnect Settlement, Business intelligence, Fraud Detection, Revenue assurance, Test Call Generation. Following list of activities provides an insight on Mediation software activities
- Collection and Archive
- CDR Normalization (Common Format)
- Record Enrichment (Using Complex Reference Data)
- Duplicate Record Detection
- Aggregation or Correlation
- Downstream Format Mapping
- Header and Trailer generation
- Downstream Distribution
- Error Messaging and Alarms
- Auditing and Reports
- Reference Data Configuration
- Provisioning services for the subscription.
Complementary to Billing Mediation functions, comprehensive mediation platforms also provide functionality dedicated to Service Provisioning (the two areas frequently intermix as services configured and used by the end customer result in usage data records generation in the network).
Mediating between the systems is not the only job that Mediation Platform can do. Actually this can be used as a provisioning agent. The basic provisioning commands can be configured within the mediation system and whenever we get a request for the system which does the provisioning, the request can be converted into a file, in which mediation can append the service provisioning commands and send it to HLR for activating any request. This of course, load dependent but can come very handy when there is a crisis in the other system.
At core Mediation involves data transfer between various systems with or without modification of data starting Network elements to OSS/BSS systems.
Mediation platforms for Telecom Practice supports various systems:
- Retail Billing
- Wholesale Billing - National and International
- Network Traffic Management
- Data Warehousing
- Reconciliation system
- Fraud Management
- Provisioning Feed to Sub-systems
Telecom operators offer Voice, video, data, fax and internet services to subscribers and partners on various product lines. Mediation products are tuned to provide solutions for complex business challenges.
Interconnect Billing and mediation providers:
Tribess, Comarch, Comptel, Comverse, CSGI, DigitalRoute, Ericsson, Etisalat, HP, Huawei, Intec Telecom Systems, Infonova, LogiSense, Openet, Oracle