What is Billing Mediation?
Mediation is a process of converting or translating a piece of information from one form into another, such that the information passed onto the end beneficiary becomes useful information for such beneficiary. If the mediation was omitted from this process, the information received by the beneficiary would not be understandable or useful by the recipient. We often see the term ‘mediator’ being used in cross lingual discussions or meetings. The role of the mediator in such a case is to understand what a person A is saying in one language and then translate that information into a language that is understood by a person B.
The Billing Mediation is a process of converting a set of raw, chargeable Call Data Records (CDRs) or events into a set of records that can be consumed by the billing system and charged onto the customers’ invoices. The mediation engine is an important software which works with the billing system to rate and charge the call and other usage events such that the subscribers are charged for their usage of the telecom services.
The Billing Mediation receives the Call Data Records (CDRs) into a set of batches like files shared on a SFTP drive.
Billing System is programmed to read these batch files and consume the information about each CDR, then rate the CDR as per the business rules configured on the Product Catalog, and finally apply the net resultant charge as a billable amount into the billing system for the resolved subscriber and the service. It is called as ‘Billing Mediation’ because the rating engine is essentially understanding a very raw information coming from a telecom switch or other network components, and then translating it into a billable record (resolved with the subscriber, the service and the billable amount) which is well understood by the invoicing system to generate the customer bill.
Billing Mediation is a very crucial software in Telecom Billing world and it is expected to process millions of CDRs on a daily basis, to ensure that the Telecom Company charges the consumption usage accurately to its consumers. It allows the Telcos to generate a good deal of revenue based on the usage consumption of their services, and charge the consumers based on complex pricing models or rate cards that are fast evolving with time. The flexibility to charge the consumption based on bundles and complex rate cards allow the Telcos to attract more and more consumers to use their services.
Need of Billing Mediation
Mediation or usage charging/billing applies to any metered usage consumed by customer or company, Examples are phone calls, mobile data, internet usage, electricity usage, water usage or any home or industrial product/services that’s being consumed on a regular basis.
Any domain/industry may need usage billing to charge their customers who use their products or services.
|Network service providers||Digital content providers|
|SaaS||Digital TV Service Providers|
jBilling provides a comprehensive mediation solution for usage rating and charging. The mediation core in jBilling is robust and scalable. The CDRs (Call Detail Records) are processed in batch jobs and rated as per the pricing defined on plans, products or rate cards as the case may be. This is a volume processing job that can run in the background 24 X 7 depending on the volumes. The mediation rating engine provides accurately charged usage records that can be billed on the customer invoices. It is possible to implement complex rating and pricing rules amount/quantity of consumer depending on the requirement.
How it works in BillingHub
In order to generate invoices against usage carried out by consumer, BillingHub system needs few prerequisites or data for processing as below
- Unit of consumption
- Period/date of consumption
- Rate per unit of consumption
- Free usage pools/limits
The above data is usually sent to jBilling either through any file format or as a response to an api call. The file would contain call data records or CDR that are generated by original equipment manufacturers(OEMs), network service providers also called MNOs ( mobile network operators) and MVNOs(Mobile virtual network operators).
While processing data, the original unit of consumption can be converted into different standards of conversion. For example, mobile data usually generated in bytes has to be displayed in megabytes/gigabytes to customers on their monthly anniversary invoices for their better understanding against the plan purchased which is normally given in gigabytes. BillingHub provides enough flexibility in supporting use cases of unit conversion.
Event date/date of usage is the date on which the call or data usage has taken place and is sent by carriers in the CDR files. BillingHub supports the conversion of event dates in any time zones as applicable. BillingHub can also take care of daylight saving times applicable to event dates if not sent by service carrier.
MNOs usually send the cost of call events incurred in CDR files and service providers prepare their own tariff cards advertised to customers including GST/tax. They prepare rate cards based on plan offerings and these are used in BillingHub for charging the call events.
BillingHub provides different rating options like
- Route rate cards
- Rate cards
- Flat rates
- Tiered rates
- Teaser pricing
- Volume pricing
Creative Pricing Models
With usage based pricing, your company can move beyond simple subscriptions and charge customers for how much of the service is used. These creative pricing approaches widen your customer base. For example, a small startup using the AWS on-demand cloud computing service may select the lowest pricing tier to fit its needs. However, as the business scales and grows and more space is required, they can easily switch to a higher-priced tier that provides more access.
Likewise, usage based pricing provides a business the agility to anticipate the needs of customers. By metering usage, a business can track and analyze product or service usage data and send promotions in real-time to respond to the immediate needs of the customer.
BillingHub processes this CDR data and converts it into BillingHub readable data format.
BillingHub also creates order objects into system which are picked by billing process and generates invoices for all recurring, monthly as well usage charges
Endless opportunities to increase revenue
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