The Phantom Traffic Menace

Regulators are very good at ensuring that money is wasted and that bad people profit from complicated and ill-conceived rules that supposedly benefit society. In the US, the FCC has been responsible for an incredibly complicated regulatory environment, which has enabled rather than prevented the problem of “phantom traffic”. Networks that carry phantom traffic find themselves unable to bill it because of gaps in the labelling of traffic. A lot of phantom traffic would be billable if the network carrying it just had simple additional data like the calling and called party. There is also much more than a suspicion that unscrupulous telcos are deliberately manipulating data to avoid being billed for traffic. So it is interesting to see that the telco industry can sometimes get its act together and work collectively to push for changes. Take a look at this article in Billing World about an alliance for consistent exchange and management of CDRs in the US. Is this a sign that, even in the US, the telco industry is starting to realise that you can only get the right regulatory framework if you agree the solution first, and involve the regulator second?

Eric Priezkalns
Eric Priezkalns
Eric is the Editor of Commsrisk. Look here for more about the history of Commsrisk and the role played by Eric.

Eric is also the Chief Executive of the Risk & Assurance Group (RAG), a global association of professionals working in risk management and business assurance for communications providers.

Previously Eric was Director of Risk Management for Qatar Telecom and he has worked with Cable & Wireless, T‑Mobile, Sky, Worldcom and other telcos. He was lead author of Revenue Assurance: Expert Opinions for Communications Providers, published by CRC Press. He is a qualified chartered accountant, with degrees in information systems, and in mathematics and philosophy.