Four major telecoms providers operating in emerging markets have recently adopted HP's new charging technology to service up to 320 million subscribers. The system allows operators to offer customer-centric pricing models.
HP RealTime Charging is now being used by China Telecom, Telcel in Mexico, VimpelCom in Russia and Polkomtel in Poland. With the proliferation of Web 2.0 services, mobile phones are no longer limited to making calls - customers now download music and video, send messages and chat online, and buy products and services. Before consumers use these services, however, they need to know - on the spot - the price and their ability to purchase.
RealTime Charging manages charging and authorisation functions, allowing operators to provide consumers with their billing information instantly. "As we deliver more services to our customers, we are looking for charging and billing flexibility to better meet their needs," said Marek Jachmann, Mediation Manager, Polkomtel. "Online charging and IMS compliance have opened new challenges."
With precise, real-time control over charging and billing, operators can enhance revenues with targeted, differentiated services, bundling and loyalty programs. They can move away from traditional flat-rate pricing to "a la carte" pricing.
HP's RealTime Charging solution is highly scalable and designed for high-performance transaction processing. With a flexible, modular architecture, it can be integrated with legacy billing infrastructures as well as newer networks and Internet Protocol Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) environments. The key components of the solution are HP products that have been tested and integrated, including HP Internet Usage Manager (IUM) and HP IUM Charging Manager; HP OpenCall Service Access Controller; HP OpenCall Media Platform; and technologies from industry partners.
"It's critical for all CSPs to have a real-time charging environment to offer and support a wide range of prepaid and postpaid services," said Larry Goldman, co-founder and senior analyst, OSS Observer. "Real-time charging is one of the most significant enablers of increased revenue. HP has a strong position via its HP Internet Usage Manager, its OpenCall software portfolio, and its global systems integration capability."
The details of the applications recently announced are:
China Telecom - Targeting the third-generation (3G) market, its Anhui Province subsidiary launched services to prepaid customers with rollouts reaching 6 million customers. HP implemented the first online charging system (OCS) that supports 3G real-time services with both pre-paid and post-paid capabilities. The OCS handles mobile, fixed and broadband services. Now, with HP RealTime Charging, Anhui Telecom can offer - and bill for - the real-time services that generate higher revenues.
Telcel - Mexico's leading mobile operator, with more than 51 million customers. Telcel wanted to offer new data services to its customers. With HP Real-Time Charging, Telcel was able to extend the new services portfolio to its large base of pre-paid customers, who now have access to the new generation of data services.
VimpelCom - one of Russia's largest operators, with 250 million customers. In a highly competitive, fast-growing market, VimpelCom needed to attract new customers as well as retain the loyalty of existing ones. To succeed, VimpelCom offered innovative services to both pre- and post-paid customers. This approach required real-time charging to encourage customers to use the new services. HP RealTime Charging helped VimpelCom achieve this objective. The solution also provided the transaction performance and scalability that VimpelCom needed to accommodate rapid growth.
Polkomtel - one of Poland's first operators to deliver 3G services. To better serve its 14 million customers, Polkomtel is going to offer new services on an evolving IMS network. To encourage usage, Polkomtel turned to long-time collaborator HP for its charging solution. In Polkomtel's environment, the HP solution is providing the standards-based foundation for new services and revenue growth.