Telecom billing software is crucial for businesses to optimize billing and monetize services. Are you ready to dive in?
Table of contents
- What Is Telecom Billing?
- What Do Telecoms Use Billing Software For?
- Types Of Billing Models In Telecoms
- Features Of A Telecom Billing Software Solutions
- Telecom Billing Software Functions
- Quote-to-Cash (QTC) Automated Process
- What To Look For In Telecom Billing Software
- Tridens Monetization Telecom Billing Software Solution
In fact, the telecom billing industry is growing at a CAGR of 10.53% and is expected to reach $31.49 million by 2023.
And with telecoms investing heavily in 5G deployment and thinking about 5G monetization, the billing system will play a crucial role in the modern digitalized era.
But how does telecom billing software even work? What features does it bring to the table? What are the different types?
In this article, we’ll answer all of this and more.
What Is Telecom Billing?
Telecom billing refers to the Quote-to-Cash (QTC) process of calculating, generating, and managing invoices for the services that telecom companies provide to their customers.
It’s a complex system that encompasses various aspects of customer subscriptions, usage tracking, pricing models, and payment collection.
The essential element differentiating the telecom billing process and software from other billing systems is the complexity and data volume of collecting consumption or usage information in real time and turning them into billable units.
Communications Service Providers (CSP) aim to automate telecom billing as much as possible using state-of-the-art cloud-based software solutions.
However, with 5G charging and billing technology in deployment and 6G already on the horizon, what is state-of-the-art today may already be obsolete tomorrow.
Therefore, telecoms focus on setting up scalable and flexible cloud-ready operations support systems (OSS) and business support systems (BSS) architectures that will stand the test of time.
What Do Telecoms Use Billing Software For?
The basis for almost all actions in telecom billing solutions is usage-based billing, which charges users according to their actual use. To be specific, most telecom subscriptions choose overage pricing.
It means that the customer’s selected plan includes a certain amount of minutes of calls, SMS, and mobile data transfers per month. If the customer exceeds the included quantity, he is charged extra according to the overage charge stated in the contract.
To better understand all this, let’s review some real-life billing system applications:
The most basic form of telecommunications service is voice calls.
Voice calls include classical phone calls over a landline, a mobile network, or a VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) service. Telecom billing software companies will charge and bill the user according to his usage and contract.
Telecom billing systems can also efficiently manage SMS billing complexities. It calculates charges based on the number and type of SMS messages sent.
Subscription packages with allotted SMS are tracked and any extra messages are charged accurately. For premium SMS services, the software typically handles specialized billing.
Internet and Mobile Services
Due to the complex pricing models of internet and mobile services, telecoms use billing software primarily to ensure accurate and consistent billing.
This software automates tasks like telecom invoices generation, usage tracking, and applying discounts, reducing errors and improving efficiency. It also enables real-time usage monitoring, allowing customers to avoid unexpected overages. And in the future, the software will only grow more important.
Monetizing 5G: Unlocking Its Full Potential
According to research by Statista, mobile data traffic worldwide has grown from 28 exabytes in 2018 to 62 exabytes per month in 2022, with no sign of slowing down.
The same goes for data transfer over all Internet access technologies (fixed or mobile).
However, someone must rate, charge and bill all these exabytes of data; you guessed right, it’s the telecom billing software!
TV Services and On-Demand Services
TV and on-demand services often offer various packages, add-ons, and pay-per-view options, which can be challenging to manage manually. Billing software automates these processes, ensuring accurate billing and reducing errors.
Moreover, it enables real-time data access, which allows you to make immediate adjustments to customers’ change of preferences.
With more IoT devices emerging, they will all need one thing – connectivity.
While Telecoms will probably not offer IoT services themself, they will provide and charge for the necessary equipment and data traffic required for them to work. This connectivity will either be offered as a subscription or billed according to device data usage.
The first things that come to mind are smart appliances and home security, but this is just the tip of the iceberg. And with 5G network slicing technology, Telecoms will have much more options to differentiate service offers. However, it will also increase the complexity of charging that the telecom billing system software must handle.
Types Of Billing Models In Telecoms
Different customers require different billing types, so let’s look at some of the most common billing types that telecoms use:
- Prepaid billing model: When the user has to pay in advance and can use the services only when his balance checks out. The billing system in telecom deducts the customer’s credit during prepaid service usage in real time. During usage, the user will get warnings when his credit is getting low, and once the credit is used, the service immediately stops.
- Postpaid billing model: Customers use services first and are billed later. In this model, customers sign contracts with telecom providers, outlining services and payment terms. They use services like voice calls, SMS, and data throughout the billing cycle, and at the end of the cycle, they receive a bill detailing their usage. Customers then make payments for the services used during that period.
- Pay-per-use billing model: A usage-based model where customers only pay for services or quantities they actually used. Unlike prepaid or postpaid plans where charges are fixed, pay-per-use customers are billed for each service they use, such as calls, messages, and data, at specific rates. This model suits users with sporadic usage patterns or those seeking minimal commitments.
Features Of A Telecom Billing Software Solutions
Okay, so we’ve covered what telecom billing software is, what it’s used for, and what the different types are.
Now, it’s time we check out some of the major benefits this software solution brings to the table:
- Integration capability: Most telecom billing software solutions can be integrated with other crucial systems. For instance, by integrating the software with Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), and payment gateways, billing software streamlines data flow across departments.
- Configuration options: Telecom billing software solutions also provide robust configuration options, enabling telecom companies to tailor the software to their specific needs. Admins can define pricing structures, plan details, and billing cycles to align with their business strategies.
- Customer self-service portal: The self-service portal is what allows customers to manage their accounts independently. Through the portal, customers access real-time billing information, usage details, and payment history. Customers can also update personal information, choose plans, and even make payments conveniently.
- Convergent charging and billing: This feature enables the consolidation of various services onto a single invoice. It simplifies billing for customers who use multiple services, such as voice calls, data, and SMS. Telecoms can offer bundled plans that encompass these services, streamlining pricing and reducing billing complexity at the same time.
- Interconnect and roaming billing: This feature allows telecoms billing software to address complex billing scenarios involving partnerships and international services. It accurately calculates charges for services used on partner networks and during international roaming. Telecoms benefit from streamlined revenue sharing with partners, while customers enjoy transparent billing for cross-network usage.
Telecom Billing Software Functions
The essential functions of a Telecom Billing and Revenue Management (BRM) platform include the following:
- Diverse business model support: Whether it’s B2C, B2B, or a hybrid model, most telecom billing platforms will be able to support it. For B2C customers, the software handles individual subscriptions, usage tracking, and personalized invoicing. In B2B scenarios, it manages complex billing arrangements involving corporate plans, employee accounts, and detailed billing reports.
- Innovative pricing: The software can accommodate a variety of pricing models, including subscriptions, one-time purchases, custom services, flexible tariffs, tiered pricing, and more.
- Real-time balance management: Real-time balance management is a critical function for both customers and providers. It enables customers to monitor their remaining balances for calls, messages, and data usage in real time. As customers use services, the software deducts charges instantly, providing accurate and up-to-date information. For telecoms, real-time balance management minimizes the risk of overages and optimizes revenue collection.
- Detailed charging: Telecom billing software offers versatile rating mechanisms that accurately calculate charges based on factors like usage type, location, and time of day. Furthermore, it supports flexible discounting, handles taxation requirements by applying appropriate taxes and fees based on regional regulations, and includes charge sharing.
- Billing and invoicing: Telecom software excels in billing and invoicing, supporting a range of functions crucial for revenue management. It accommodates diverse billing cycles and invoice delivery methods, and handles prepaid, postpaid, and pay-as-you-go models, generating accurate invoices for reflecting services. It can also facilitate dispute resolution, allowing efficient handling of billing-related issues, refunds, and adjustments.
- Financial management: The software encompasses robust financial management features critical for maintaining revenue integrity. It includes general ledgers and charts of accounts, enabling accurate financial reporting. It also facilitates seamless payment collection through various channels, while dunning automates reminder and collection processes for overdue payments.
- Revenue assurance and real-time analytics: This function allows for monitoring revenue streams, detecting anomalies, and mitigating potential revenue leakages. Real-time analytics provide telecoms with insights into usage patterns, allowing proactive adjustments to pricing strategies and service offerings. By identifying discrepancies promptly, revenue assurance ensures accurate billing and revenue optimization.
Quote-to-Cash (QTC) Automated Process
Modern Telecom billing software automates every step of the Quote-to-Cash process, from selecting and configuring the product or service to generating invoices and collecting payments.
Automating these processes reduces errors, shortens the cycle time for each step, lowers the costs, and increases efficiency by allowing telecoms to focus on two things that matter most – selling the product and service and providing an excellent user experience.
The QTC process can be divided into six steps:
- Select and configure: The customer starts by selecting the products from a product catalog where he can also configure the product according to his needs. By automating the configuration part of the process with the telecom billing system, the selection and configuration are standardized and made easier for the customer and company to process.
- Price and quote: This step involves calculating the total cost of the selected services. Telecom billing software automates this process by accurately calculating charges based on pricing models, discounts, and usage projections. The software generates a detailed quote outlining the services, costs, and any applicable terms and conditions.
- Propose and contract: The telecom billing software generates a formal proposal that outlines the selected services, pricing details, and terms of the contract. Automated proposal generation ensures consistency and accuracy while minimizing manual errors. Once the customer approves the proposal, the software generates a contract that formalizes the agreement between the telecom and the customer.
- Order and renew: After signing the contract, the order is placed and automatically goes into the system. The automated billing system also handles recurring payment management and the process of renewing subscription-based products.
- Bill and collect: Customers receive invoices that reflect their selected services and any applicable discounts. Automation ensures prompt billing, minimizing errors and enhancing customer satisfaction. Once invoices are sent, the software facilitates secure payment collection through various channels, such as online portals or payment gateways. It will also create revenue and customer payment records that track transactional data, allow third-party payment gateways, and start automated dunning processes if needed.
- Analyze and forecast: Involves leveraging data insights to assess the effectiveness of the sales and billing strategies. Telecom billing software provides real-time analytics that allows telecoms to analyze customer preferences, sales trends, customer churn, and revenue patterns. By forecasting customer demand and revenue projections, telecoms can optimize their operations and anticipate market shifts.
What To Look For In Telecom Billing Software
Selecting the right telecom billing software is a strategic decision that can significantly impact a telecom company’s operations and customer experiences.
With a multitude of options available, it’s essential to consider key features and capabilities that align with your business goals.
To make things easier for you, we compiled a checklist of some of the most important questions you should ask before making a final decision:
- Is the system scalable as a whole? What about billing software scalability?
- Is it easy enough to add or configure new modules and functionalities?
- Is there both real-time and session-based pricing?
- Can the system be integrated with third-party software?
- What about user experience, is the system easy to learn and use?
- Is the system cloud-based, installed on-premise, or a hybrid?
- Is the system available as SaaS or as a one-time license fee?
- Does it support a variety of billing models, including prepaid, postpaid, and pay-per-use?
- Does it provide real-time balance management for customers?
- Is the pricing mechanism customizable to reflect various service charges, discounts, and taxes?
- How automated is the billing and invoicing process, and how accurate are the generated invoices?
- Does the software offer comprehensive financial management tools, including general ledgers and dunning processes?
- What level of analytics and forecasting capabilities does it provide for optimizing revenue strategies?
- Does it support a seamless Quote-to-Cash (QTC) process to accelerate sales cycles?
- What kind of customer support and training resources are available for implementation and ongoing usage?
- How does the software handle regulatory compliance, tax calculations, and industry standards?
- What security measures are in place to protect customer data and financial transactions?
Tridens Monetization Telecom Billing Software Solution
Looking for a reliable telecom billing software solution? Well, Tridens might be just what you need.
The Tridens Monetization telecom billing software solution is a well-proven, top-of-the-market charging, billing, and revenue management platform for the communication industry.
The billing system is easy to integrate with CRMs or other third-party applications and it comes with a payment gateway component.
You can set up complex multi-level hierarchies, advanced usage-based pricing, and several discounting and sharing options. And all these features are available through a very intuitive user interface.
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