Telecom Interconnect Billing - Telecom Billing

What is Interconnect Billing?

Interconnect refers to the process of handling calls for other service providers. This process enables the users to communicate with the customers of another service provider.

Incase if two operators A and B are not interconnect partners, then it will not be possible for a customer of Operator A to communicate with a customer of operator B.

interconnect

Usually, operators administrators keep their concurrences with each other to enable their clients to speak with each other. This gives great business chance to every one of the administrators to connect their respective Networks is called "Interconnection Point".

Examples of interconnection include −

  • Two adjacent, non-competing telephone networks interconnect so that subscribers on one network can call those on the other.
  • Long-distance carriers provides access to the facilities of a local service provider and compete against that provider to offer long-distance services to a common customer base.
  • Traditional wireline telephone and new wireless mobile carriers interconnect so that subscribers of the traditional phone service can call wireless subscribers, and vice versa.
  • While, new competitive local telephone carriers interconnect with the incumbent carrier to attract subscribers in the common service territory and provide access to those subscribers to call subscribers on the incumbent's network.
  • Customers of the incumbent telephone carrier make calls to their dial-up Internet Service Provider, which in turn is a customer of a competing local carrier.

Interconnect Invoicing

This enables the users in the production of invoices to send to an interconnect partner which is related to incoming interconnect call detail records (CDR).

Interconnect Billing deals with measuring the amounts to be paid to and received from each of the network operators which our infrastructure meets in order for the successful call origination and termination. The CDR for interconnecting calls makes the all routing information with the group of original values to find out the carrier and the country details.

Note that the set of Interconnect CDRs includes the following details −

  • CDRs are those billable to retail and wholesale customers. It is revenue for the telecom provider. It is also referred as local billing.
  • CDRs which are billable for Interconnect providers. Eg: Outgoing calls, Outgoing Transit calls, Incoming calls, etc. The Outgoing calls are the expense and Incoming calls are the revenue for the Telecom Provider.

Interconnect Billing systems decide the pricing of all incoming and outgoing interconnect CDRs. While an interconnect price is decided for both incoming and outgoing interconnect CDRs as per the incoming or outgoing trunk interconnect route which carries the call. But this is common that a trunk ID makes a unique interconnect partner in the interconnect Billing System.

Settlement Process

The Settlement Process is determined to settle the Network Operator/Carrier incurred in carrying calls from Interconnect Owner to Other Network Operator destination or vice versa.

This process creates the Outgoing (Expense to Interconnect Owner) and Incoming (Revenue to Interconnect Owner) traffic to make the settlement.

Usually this settlement can be performed on monthly or bi-weekly basis with the help of manual or automated process. It depends on billing system to billing system how it supports partner's settlement.

Netting Process

Netting is used to perform once the settlement is done for agreed Provider/Carrier. The netting process is completed by multiple settlement period for the multiple services as per the currency in Operator level.

There are two types of netting methods −

  • AFTER − After for Netting of Operator's Interconnecting cost after subtracting the amount between operator and Provider/Carrier
  • BEFORE − Before for Netting of Operator's Interconnecting cost without any subtracting of the amount between operator and Provider/Carrier.

Reconciliation Process

This process if the reconciliation of invoices arrived from an interconnect partner can be related to outgoing CDRs.

Usually each and every month interconnect partners change their CDRs for reconciliation purpose. This is common to have issues in the CDRs provided by the two partners.

Billing Systems facilitates reports facilitating reconciliation of incoming and outgoing interconnect CDRs. Usually these reports provide parameters like call type, destination, cost band, and duration so that these CDRs can be used by both operators to match those parameters and identify missing CDRs.

There may be a situation, when some CDRs are found missing at either of the operators' side. Once you complete the reconciliation if matter does not settle, then different negotiations happen between the partners, and finally, the issue solved by paying some nominal amount to the impacted interconnect partner.

Interconnect Call Scenarios

Depending upon the various interconnect call scenarios and on the type of agreement between different operators. Let us try to cover a few most commonly used −

  • Operator A's customer makes national call to Operator B's customer. In this case operator A will pay some amount to operator B.
  • Operator A's customer makes international call through Operator B, because operator A does not have direct agreement with any international operator. In this case, operator A will pay some amount to operator B and operator B will take care of settling down international operator.
  • Operator A's customer makes international call directly using an international operator. In this case, operator A will pay some amount to international operator directly.

All the above calls could be voice, SMS, MMS, and data, etc.

Interconnection Agreements

To make a successful interconnection, below mentioned issues need to be solved with in the interconnection agreement or by rule or order from the regulatory authority:

  • Prices and adjustments − This agreement involves the basic level of interconnection charges, which is a definition of the currency in which interconnection charges are to be paid and how prices will adjust while the term of the agreement to account for exchange rate changes and inflation.
  • Points of interconnection – Here the physical locations, where interconnection will take place and the technical standards to be employed in the interconnection are defined.
  • Transport and traffic routing – Some definition must be includes to know how calls will be routed and what will be transported to deliver the calls.
  • Quality of service – The issues is that the Quality standards are defined, particularly for time to provision circuits and for call blocking levels, and remedies are used for when those standards are not met.
  • Billing and collection – This is determined to know how to collect traffic data, when and how to exchange bills, and when and how to make payment should be specified.
  • Reconciliation – This is a process for reconciling traffic data and for making inquiries to the other party while handling claims to be incorporated. A procedure for resolving discrepancies is used to seek recourse to arbitration, the regulator, or to the courts.
  • Numbering Plan – This will include where an operator to the country's numbering plan and numbering resources must be defined.
  • Traffic Load − Capacity to deliver and receive the traffic that flows between the interconnecting networks should be discussed and documented.

Agreements Types

Operators will have different types of agreements to exchange their traffic. Here are some commonly used agreements are listed below −

  • Bi-Lateral Agreement − Under this agreement, each party agrees each gathering consents to trade advanced interchanges movement with the other party over its Network at the Interconnection Points and additionally in one or more straightforward interconnections. Installment settlement among various accomplices occurs on month to month or bi-month to month premise according to the each other's network.
  • Uni-Lateral Agreement − Under this agreement, one party sends his traffic to other party's Network at the Interconnection and it will not take traffic back from other party. Here payment settlement within the partners happens on monthly or bi-monthly basis as per the agreement.

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