Telecommunication service providers generate revenue from services they deliver to their customers. They charge customers either online or offline, depending on the profile and tariff plans that the customer opted for. Correct and accurate charges are essential to avoid revenue leakage, maintain customer satisfaction and prevent regulatory penalties.
Proper charging requires network nodes and functions involved in the service delivery to generate accurate charging information [3GPP TS 22.115]. This information must transmit in time to decision-making systems for accounting and policy enforcement. Ultimately, collected revenue in real-time or deferred billing is affected by three factors:
- The accuracy of charging information,
- The efficiency of post-processing systems, and
- The exactness of rating functions.
Errors in charging information, rating functions or inefficient post-processing will lead to incorrect subscriber charges. These billing discrepancies can result in direct or indirect revenue loss. All networks are prone to such errors, especially with today’s complex systems and technologies
What Are the Sources of Errors that Can Affect Revenue?
Telecommunication technologies are rapidly evolving. Yesterday was the broadband era with EPS. Today, 5G, IoT and cloud-native architecture bring new use cases, services, and business models.
To harness the benefits of these technologies without compromising revenue, network operators need to continuously change and upgrade their networks to:
- Integrate recent technologies and services
- Adapt existing platforms and systems to be ready for future evolutions
- Move towards convergent charging · Expand partnerships, roaming agreements and setup new billing data exchange
- Decommission and clean up legacy technologies to optimize costs
- Comply with regulatory policies
Although those areas seem far from the revenue and charging domain, they can directly or indirectly affect revenue streams and profitability since everything is closely intertwined. A change in one place can cause unexpected issues in another. This opens doors to errors affecting revenue streams, which can remain undetected if no proper revenue assurance controls are in place.
But how can operators complement the existing controls to gain more visibility into their revenue streams and minimise potential leakages? This is where Active Revenue Assurance (RA) testing comes in.
What Are the Benefits of Active RA?
Although passive revenue assurance controls are in place, they lack the end-to-end visibility and capability to address specific risk points in our complex telco ecosystems.
Complete control of revenue requires an external and independent system that can continuously – or at least during crucial stages – verify the proper functioning of charging and billing mechanisms and provide the missing end-to-end visibility and risk-based testing capabilities. Active Revenue Assurance testing is based on the same concept already known in QoS/QoE testing using modems or smartphones. The additional requirements for revenue assurance testing is a SIM card provisioned with the tariff under test and a carefully designed test plan to challenge charging rules and policy controls in the serving network and home network.
Two essential components of an active RA system are:
- A TCG (test call generator) system capable of controlling real smartphones and generating usage of services and applications in the same way regular end-users do with their smartphones. The TCG measures usage metrics on the user device and provides complete visibility of what is delivered to the end-user.
- An independent rating engine configured with tariff models and business rules pertaining to the profiles under test.
Active Revenue Assurance is the best solution that offers advanced capabilities to address potential revenue risk points and adds end-to-end visibility to the RA controls. As a result, it is a goldmine for operators to validate their online and offline charging processes.
Perform Active Revenue Assurance Testing with SARA
Meet SARA, the SEGRON Active Revenue Assurance testing solution.
SARA is a fully-managed service by SEGRON to design and perform automated revenue assurance test campaigns to detect risk points and protect your bottom line.
- Ensure your top revenue-generating fees are not affected by changes and integrations within your network
- Maintain customer satisfaction by validating charging rules for new offers and services
- Generate proof of compliance to avoid regulatory violations
SEGRON’s global TCG generates service usage using SIMs from different rate plans. All tests are conducted with end-user smartphones, ensuring the most accurate results. Insightful reporting delivers valuable metrics verifying accuracy for completeness, metering, and rating, as well as rating errors and deviations.
Best of all, you don’t need to invest your own resources because our revenue assurance experts provide a fully-managed service, delivering sophisticated analysis and actionable information!
SEGRON’s innovative platform using real smartphones offers a future proof solution to accompany your organization throughout your network’s lifecycle and as new technologies emerge. Schedule a demo today to see the next generation of active testing.