Well, maybe not. Consisting of several pieces of paper arriving in the mail each month, and detailing who you called and for how long, the biggest challenge was usually working out why we were paying so much...
Since then, the industry has come a long way. Rather than “phone companies”, we now speak about communications & media service providers. These ambitious players, never content with status quo, remain on the hunt to expand even further, with 5G representing the next frontier.
For this new generation of operators, 5G’s true potential lies in the ability to tailor network performance for each individual application or partner, as we discussed this in our recent blog on the 5G value plane. Yet the question remains, “how will this new world be billed and paid for?”
If service providers expect to be providers and/or enablers of a whole spectrum of new applications – from media and gaming, to IoT, connected cars and more – they will have to explore a new billing paradigm that enables diverse monetization and user engagement options. This evolution requires a hybrid approach, optimally leveraging existing systems, while introducing the ability to support new requirements.
Let’s explore some key considerations:
Alongside traditional B2C services (augmented by new 5G capabilities), service providers will be looking to explore uplifted B2B offerings in the form of IoT, network as a service (NaaS), private enterprise networks (PEN) and more. At the same time, the industry is exploring emerging B2B2X opportunities, opening a world of new possibilities as a central part of a partner ecosystem.
Billing systems have traditionally focused on end-of-cycle calculations of customers’ monthly actions. But new services, partnerships and business models will also require support for diverse monetization interactions. Additional considerations include the need to introduce various subscription models and one-time payments, coupled with flexibility to pay on or off bill using a wide range of payment methods.
More monetization models
Whether designed for consumers, enterprises or a wide partner ecosystem, monetization models are evolving far beyond connectivity. The ability to pay-per-use for the consumption of a specific network, slice or edge resource – potentially for a limited time or location – introduces the need for new monetization models (not supported today) which must be introduced alongside the traditional ones.
While it’s clear the industry is moving towards embracing the cloud, each operator will naturally have its own pace and approach. To enable this, service providers are increasingly looking at microservices-based cloud-native solutions to gain the flexibility to support any deployment model – public cloud, private cloud, as well as a variety of hybrid approaches.
The industry’s leading solution to address these challenges is Amdocs Real-Time Billing. By transforming bulky end-of-cycle billing processes into real-time functions, it takes a revolutionary approach that enables real-time charge calculations for any transaction type, including one-time payments, new subscriptions, as well as adjusting existing plans and more.
For consumers, enterprises and partners alike, this provides advanced payment flexibility, as well as accurate, real-time visibility of the services they ordered and paid for. Meanwhile, service providers gain significant operational benefits, such as faster time to cash, an accurate organizational financial outlook, the ability to perform ongoing quality assurance and prevention of revenue fraud or leakage. And all this happens in real time – as the transactions occur – negating the need to wait for high-load processes at the end of the cycle.
With operators looking to leverage 5G, cloud and edge to evolve far beyond the traditional connectivity cash cow model, Amdocs’ groundbreaking, multi-faceted, hybrid approach empowers the gradual modernization journeys today’s new generation of service providers need – enabling them to identify the optimal path to leveraging the new billing paradigm and monetize 5G nextgen experiences like never before.