Convergent charging is a solution that enables telco operators to offer and manage a variety of different services — including voice, video, data, and multimedia — and charge customers on a prepaid or post-paid basis.
With a convergent charging solution in place, telcos can simplify their billing and charging systems to reduce operating expenses and capture more revenue. They can also offer and charge for bundled services and multi-play service offerings while creating a single bill that transparently reflects all customer consumption.
This is compared to the old way of doing things when communications service providers relied on several different billing and charging solutions for a variety of different use cases. In these environments, the charging function was disordered and confusing, and nowhere near as efficient as it can be with convergent charging.
How does convergent charging work?
A convergent charging system gives telco operators the tools they need to control services and manage account balances in real time by enabling them to:
- Notify users when they’re approaching their account balance so that they’re given the option to pay for more services
- Authenticate subscribers to make sure they have enough funds in their accounts before delivering services
- Terminate connectivity when a customer has used up all of their credits so that they don’t get overcharged accidentally and receive a shocking bill as a result
- Increase revenue by engaging with users at the best times for upselling and encouraging them to try more services
By consolidating multiple charging and billing systems, telco operators can increase operational efficiency, reduce revenue leakage, and build customer trust by providing customers with a bill that very clearly lists all of the services they’ve used that billing period in an itemized manner.
What are the advantages of convergent charging?
More and more telco operators are embracing convergent charging because it delivers several benefits, which we’ll examine in this section.
1. Expanded product portfolio
In recent years, and in a large part thanks to 5G, leading telcos have offered an increasing amount of products and services to consumers. With a convergent charging solution in place, telcos can expand their product portfolio and offer an even wider variety of services. This enables them to segment their customers more narrowly, catering to each group with new products to drive revenue and increase engagement and loyalty.
2. Increased operational agility
These days, markets change rapidly, and customer sentiments shift overnight. Thanks to convergent charging, telcos can bring products to market faster while decreasing the costs associated with doing so.
As a result, telcos become more nimble and can respond to shifting conditions rapidly. This allows them to accelerate innovation and give customers the offerings they demand.
3. Improved customer experience
By giving customers access to real-time account information and usage data, telcos can help strengthen the customer experience by reducing the chances that any customer gets hit with a bill that’s much bigger than they expect. Additionally, convergent charging reduces the chances that billing errors make their way to customers, thereby minimizing the resulting frustration associated with trying to get a bill corrected.
What’s more, convergent charging also enables telco operators to send customers comprehensive bills right to their smartphones, which helps reduce paper waste— something many of today’s consumers care deeply about. And on top of that, the technology enables telco operators to automatically apply multi-service discounts, which helps keep customer bills exactly where they should be and not a penny higher.
Add it all up, and in an age where the customer experience is a key differentiator, convergent charging can be truly transformative.
4. Reduced operating expenses
Convergent charging helps telco companies reduce their operating expenses across several fronts.
For starters, convergent charging lets telcos consolidate several charging systems. This reduces costs while also decreasing the administrative resources needed to manage multiple systems. At the same time, convergent charging systems reduce billing errors, which enables telco operators to avoid the costs associated with analyzing and fixing bills and responding to customer inquiries.
Taken together, convergent charging helps telcos reduce operating expenses and bolster their margins because of it.
5. Increased revenue
On the other side of the coin, convergent charging enables telco operators to capture more revenue by delivering personalized offers to users when they’re most likely to engage with them. Coupled with reduced expenses, convergent charging can make a serious impact on a telco operator’s overall profitability.
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Convergent charging in the 5G era
If telcos wish to make the most of the 5G era, they need to invest in convergent charging solutions. It’s that simple.
And these solutions need to be lightning-fast. In order to unlock the full potential of 5G, telco operators need convergent charging solutions that are powered by data platforms that enable them to make decisions in 10 milliseconds or less.
With the right underlying data platform in place, each customer event can be acted on in the moment. As a result, telco operators can automatically determine things like whether a customer has enough credits to consume an additional service or what the ideal time to capitalize on an upselling opportunity is.
For more information on what a data platform purpose-built for convergent charging and the 5G era looks like, visit http://voltactivedata.com/.