Revenue Assurance and LTE

In the last decade, mobile telecommunication globally evolved from 2.5G to 3.5G, taking subscribers from the experience of a mere 56 Kbps to the streaming of HD videos and music on their handsets. As a result, data and content has evolved by giant leaps far faster than anyone predicted. The evolution not only provided a broad variety of services to the end users but also accelerated the growth of content provision, VoIP services and eCommerce.

A far cry from just using mobile phones for voice and SMS, the end user’s thirst for data sends out a clear message: even the speeds offered by 3G networks fall short of their requirements. As a consequence, the data evolution is slowly but steadily diminishing traditional circuit switched voice traffic.

The stats below geographically illustrate the current data evolution:

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Risk Profiling

The evolution of LTE differs not only from an end user product offer perspective but also from the point of network architecture. This makes LTE evolution very different from the 3G evolution wherein only a few components changed along with minor adjustments to xDR formats. These minor changes resulted in the majority of the core RA practices being able to mitigate 3G risks with only minor adjustments to existing controls.

However, this is not the case when it comes to LTE. With LTE, the majority of the network components are different, with layers of complexity that originates from the perspective of how products are designed and offered.

Product Design

When it comes to how RA facilitates product design for an LTE network, we must take note of the fact that very few RA practices today contribute to marketing campaigns, product offer development and change management in the 2G / 3G / fixed line / broadband environment. The majority of RA operations still concentrate on leakage detection and not revenue enhancement.

However, in the case of LTE, subscribers have access to a wide variety of content and eCommerce in a market which grows at the rate of 30% – 55% per annum. Coupled with thinning bottom lines, RA processes for product design becomes far more important in the insights it can deliver through multi-dimensional usage modelling.

Order Management & Provisioning

In a 2G or 3G environment the subscriber service configuration is spread across the order management system, HLR, IN and billing. In contrast, risk complexity is dramatically increased in the LTE environment by the dynamic allotment of service elements in the PCRF as per a designated service plan.

Herein any risk mitigation process begins with the analysis of services allocated at order management, subscriber’s historical usage and the subsequent policies that are dynamically enforced by the PCRF.

Rating and Billing

LTE introduces complexities within each service plan because the rating differs across each and every data session initiated by a subscriber. For instance, if a subscriber is streaming a video and simultaneously uses a popular text messaging service, the corresponding rating will be specific to the plan associated to a session. In this case, the video stream will be rated differently from the messaging service. A further layer of complexity is added because rating can also differ according to the QoS guaranteed to an end user.

Evolution of RA

It becomes fairly clear that the majority of revenue assurance controls traditionally used for 2G and 3G services cannot be reused for LTE. RA must evolve along with LTE.

To adapt to LTE, it is vital that RA uses multi-dimensional data modelling to analyze reported and projected revenues. Such techniques provide a multitude of insights on subscribers, products, network utilization and revenue generation. Increased complexity limits the ability to mitigate risks without obtaining these new and additional insights.

This article was originally published on the Subex blog. It has been reproduced with their permission.

Srikanth Vasudevan
Srikanth Vasudevan
Srikanth is a senior consultant at Subex, focusing on emerging markets for their Business & Solutions Consulting vertical. His main areas of expertise are revenue and cost assurance, information security, and governance, risk and compliance.