This post is by Dave Labuda, founder, CEO and CTO, MATRIXX Software
We’ve speculated many times that all billing ultimately will move to real time. It makes sense when you consider factors like pre-paid/post-paid convergence; increasing demand for account and spend controls; more on-demand services that utilise real-time triggers and transaction capabilities; and expanding applications for real-time notifications. The shift from traditional billing architectures to any new architecture can be viewed as painful but there is a huge upside to be had moving towards a real-time billing environment.
Mobile data is now driving real-time requirements because of the risks associated with failing to measure, notify, and charge for data services as they are consumed faster and faster. Standards like IMS and 3GPP have also introduced more real-time concepts as policy control, enforcement, and charging become essential to delivering application-based services that respond immediately to taps on a touch screen.
Technical considerations aside, what’s really driving the development of new real-time technologies, however, are the experiences that consumers gain from sectors outside of telecom. If we look at what’s happening in the online, over-the-top, e-commerce, and pay TV environments, we see that the successful players are using communications technology to drive group-oriented social interactions that translate into more revenue and more lasting relationships.
This is a guest post by Saurabh Garg, assistant vice president technology and Karthikeya Ganapathy Chockalingam, senior technical leader at Aricent Group and explains how the delicate work of charging is done for VoLTE when all information is data.
Charging is an important aspect for VoLTE calls and a must for commercial deployment— but it literally pays to get it right. As the same session flows through PGW in LTE network and IMS core there is a danger that subscribers could be double charged for both data and voice for the same call.
IMS nodes provide the necessary means to solve the billing issues. During the SIP call establishment or message transaction IMS nodes generates an IMS correlation id for each and every event. IMS correlation ids are included in the CDR for each VoLTE calls. During dedicated bearer establishment for VoLTE calls PCSCF and PGW exchange ICID and GCID through PCRF Rx/Gx messages. Based upon VoLTE APN bearer establishment PGW can redirect all the VoLTE charging information to a different billing server to avoid double charge of voice and data sessions.
ICID and GCID in CDR help to correlate the call in the IMS and access network. IMS charging information is transferred to billing system through Diameter or ISC interfaces.
Charging can be based on
• Duration Based Charging
• Event based charging
• Volume based charging
Single call with different access legs can be easily correlated by billing servers since all the calls are anchored by IMS.
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