Telecom billing is probably the most confusing and scrutinized task in the telecom industry. The scrutiny comes from customers who are more often than not dissatisfied with their bills. This leads to confusion amongst the telecom vendors who start looking everywhere for new telecom billing solutions. Mostly, this problem arises because the telecom billing software used by them are subpar and do not meet the high requirements of modern-day businesses.
Why Telecom Billing Solutions Are Important?
All the efforts made by telecom service providers in setting up a network will amount to nothing if telecom billing is not up to standards. This is why, telecom billing solutions become important as they play a crucial role in accounting for those services. Not only is the revenue generated by a telecom provider dependent on billing, customers’ trust is also directly connected with the quality of the billing services. For instance, if a customer starts receiving wrong bills, his trust in the services nosedives from that moment onwards. On the other hand, if the billing services are sound, the customer stays faithful and brings in new customers.
CDRs: The Fundamental Unit of Telecom Billing Process
CDR (Call Data Record) is the fundamental unit of telecom billing process. All interactions between the user and telecom networking elements are captured by CDRs. A CDR has the following attributes:
- Date and starting time of the call
- Duration of the call
- Calling party
- Called party
- Type of call e.g. voice, SMS, data etc.
- Unique record sequence number that is used for identification
The captured CDRs are vitally important for the proper operation of a billing system. However, these CDRs are raw in nature, which means they cannot be interpreted by a billing system.
CDR Meditation System: The Unsung Hero of Telecom Billing Solutions
To ensure the captured CDRs are converted into a format that is understood by the billing system, a CDR meditation system is employed. The meditation system receives the unformatted CDRs, converts them into the necessary format and sends them to the billing system. Besides conversion, it also performs the operation of filtering out calls that do not meet set criterion by the telecom vendor. For example, if a call with duration less than 10 second needs to be filtered out, it is done by CDR meditation system. Moreover, if some extra information needs to be provided that is crucial for billing procedure, the meditation system gathers that information based on certain attributes and then sends it to the billing system via FTP (File Transfer Protocol). FTP is required for transfer of this information as both billing software and meditation modules are installed on different systems.
After the billing system receives the formatted CDR, it is able to interpret the information and rate the services utilized by customers.
Billing system in telecom is quite complex and requires processing of data at different levels for accomplishment of billing-related tasks. Although the user is not aware of what goes on behind the scenes, the role of systems like meditation system that converts raw CDRs into formatted CDRs is extremely important. All telecom billing solutions require correct formatting of CDR for reliable and accurate completion of billing tasks.