As the digital economy expands with the rise of LTE, operators continuously seek innovation to better serve customers and compete. This is driving ever more sophisticated charging and billing requirements, challenging legacy infrastructures. A recent survey by Openet reveals views and insights on Charging and Billing for the Digital Economy, gathered from eighty operators worldwide.
Overall, this survey suggests that to be successful in the digital era, operators need to replace legacy IN prepaid charging and traditional billing as these systems were designed for traditional voice services. As such, 89% of the respondents think that as LTE is introduced, most operators will replace IN pre-paid charging platforms within the next four years and 70% think that they will be replaced by real-time, online charging systems (OCS). The same goes for billing systems, with 87% thinking that most operators will replace billing systems with real-time charging systems within the next four years.
The survey further highlights key strategies to accelerate service innovation and increase ARPU.
Flexible, real-time charging comes at the top of the list of capabilities and attributes that enable innovation, rated as important or very important by 79% of operators. Overall the survey suggests that to power innovation, operators mainly require a real-time charging/OCS capability that is flexible, truly convergent, and integrated with policy control (PCC).
In terms of accelerating time to market, the top capability required by the highest proportion of operators, 79%, appears to be the capability to create, launch and manage all offers in a central place, in other words a centralised offer catalog.
The survey also points out the importance of extending PCC to the device in order to better engage with customers in real time. It suggests that the most successful strategy to build loyalty and increase ARPU, as rated by 74% of the respondents, is to leverage this capability to enable customers to purchase and activate services in real time on the device. This strategy stimulates loyalty by offering customers freedom and flexibility, enabling them to get the services they need anytime and anywhere, right on their devices; it also maximizes the revenue potential for operators by enabling instant purchasing at the very time of need. Further strategies rated as successful by the majority of respondents are context aware offers timely sent to the device, real-time context-aware offers (e.g. customer attempts to access data without a data plan triggers a data bundle offer), real-time cost and usage visibility on the device, and upsell of add-ons to a base contract.
To sum it all up, the top capabilities that operators require to accelerate innovation and ARPU appear to be real-time charging/OCS integrated with policy control, PCC extended to the device and centralised offer catalog.
Read the full survey report here.