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TMF677 - Usage Consumption

  • 1.  TMF677 - Usage Consumption

    TM Forum Member
    Posted Dec 11, 2020 15:22
    ​Hello colleagues,
    I would like to raise a question related to TMF677. As you might already be aware of, rating & charging systems have usually 2 accumulation models:

    1. Defining a bucket of units to be consumed within a validity period according to the comercial offers linked to the subscriber . E.g: a bucket of 3 Gigas to be consumed in the current billing period.
    2. Defining an incremental accumulation of usage rated events usually aggregating units and/or money. These accumulators are  mainly used in order to:
      • Export the information to the billing system that will use these accumulations in order to produce the invoice
      • Expose the information to the final customer , so he/she can have an estimation at anytime of the amount to be charged in the next invoice because of usage events (that means excluding recurrent charges that are not usually part of the charging  system).
      • Define actions when the accumulation reaches certain triggers, like for Budget control mechanisms

    TMF677 seems to cover widely the first use case as everything in the specification is related to a bucket of units. However, we don't see any indication about what resource and what operations should be used in order to expose the incremental accumulators of the second use case.
    We have found 2 different approaches in the rating & charging systems we have been working with during the last years:
    • Defining 2  different operations for each use case
    • Defining just 1 operation that will include both information of both types of accumulators

    We would like to understand TMF recommendation on this. Should we get both types of accumulators with the same GET ./usageConsumptionReport defined in TMF677? Or should we define 2 different operations GET ./usageConsumptionReport TMF677 for bucket related information and some other operation (that apparently is not clearly pictured in TMF677 nor in TMF635 specifications) for the second type of accumulation?

    Thank you.

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    Hector Sanchez
    Orange Espagne S.A.U
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  • 2.  RE: TMF677 - Usage Consumption

    TM Forum Member
    Posted Dec 14, 2020 01:35
    On Dec 11, 2020 04:04 @Hector Sanchez wrote:
    > ​Or should we define 2 different operations GET ./usageConsumptionReport TMF677 for bucket related information and some other operation (that apparently is not clearly pictured in TMF677 nor in TMF635 specifications) for the second type of accumulation?

    Why do you not see TMF635 applicable?  The Usage Management API (TMF635) is meant to manage rated usage of a product which IMHO is exactly what you have defined as use case 2.


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    Vance Shipley
    SigScale
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  • 3.  RE: TMF677 - Usage Consumption

    TM Forum Member
    Posted Dec 14, 2020 02:48
    Thanks for the answer
    Considering this accumulation as an aggregation of rated events TMF635 could be a valid option, however, there isn't any operation or resource in the specification (at least  in the last versión I know v4.0.0) in order to define accumulations.  It seems the only TMF where aggregation is defined is TMF677           ​

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    Hector Sanchez
    Orange Espagne S.A.U
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  • 4.  RE: TMF677 - Usage Consumption

    TM Forum Member
    Posted Dec 14, 2020 03:37
    On Dec 14, 2020 02:47 @Hector Sanchez wrote:
    ​> Considering this accumulation as an aggregation of rated events TMF635 could be a valid option, however, there isn't any operation or resource in the specification (at least  in the last versión I know v4.0.0) in order to define accumulations.

    I'm still not sure what the language means,  Rated product usage would "accumulate" for a total postpaid bill.  In prepaid usage may be seen as "decrementing" an allowance of some kind. Either way we have an API for managing details of (rated) product usage. To make this information fit your use case I guess you want to relate it to some accumulators.

    TMF635 provides details of rated product usage which you may categorize using attributes such as:
    • offerTariffType
    • productRef
    • ratingAmountType
    • usageRatingTag
    If that's not good enough create a Usage Specification and define characteristics to record what you require. You may also use the polymorphic pattern to add your own attributes, possibly a BalanceBucketRef?

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    Vance Shipley
    SigScale
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  • 5.  RE: TMF677 - Usage Consumption

    TM Forum Member
    Posted Dec 14, 2020 04:37
    ​The issue is not related to the details of the usage events but to the accumulation itself.
    2 specific examples:
     - A budget control for  data roaming events is defined to 50 Euro. Once this limit is reached, the data roaming service is deactivated. In order to achieve this, the charging system will create an accumulator that will get increased with the amount charged after every data roaming event.
     - The product offering for national data events related to a subscription is defined as a rate of XEuro per each Kilobytes. Althoug there isn't any bucket of units  involved here, the charging system will create an incremental accumulator that will add the Kbs consumed and the money for the current period after every national data usage event so that this information can be used to expose it to the customer.

    Through what operation of what TMF API should the charging expose these accumulators in both cases?

    Thanks again.

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    Hector Sanchez
    Orange Espagne S.A.U
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  • 6.  RE: TMF677 - Usage Consumption

    TM Forum Member
    Posted 7 days ago
    Hello @Hector Sanchez,

    Would like to know the approach you have finally followed to implement usecase#2 in your original message.

    We too have similar use case like the one below (we need to respond to customer enquiry based on MSISDN with aggregated unbilled usage event information)
    • Expose the information to the final customer , so he/she can have an estimation at anytime of the amount to be charged in the next invoice because of usage events (that means excluding recurrent charges that are not usually part of the charging  system)
    If I understand correctly, using TMF635 we can retrieve individual CDRs and not aggregated information - if this API was used in your implementation, where exactly was the accumulation/aggregation done?

    Appreciate any help in this regard.


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    N V Rama Krishna Devata
    Tata Consultancy Services
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  • 7.  RE: TMF677 - Usage Consumption

    TM Forum Member
    Posted 7 days ago
    Hi @N V Rama Krishna Devata

    I'm glad to know I am not the only one struggling with this issue....  Our approach was finally to understand this information as an agregation of rated events rather than a bucket of accumulated units, so our decision was to define a new operation "aggregatedUsage" within our TMF635 UsageManagement implementation.

    Although the very first statement of TMF677 Specification says "This API covers the consumption follow up function providing ongoing information about usages related to any subscribed network products (voice, data, TV,…) without having to wait the invoice production" and this is exactly the objective of the information we want to provide, nothing in the specification supports any accumulation other than the use case of "units being consumed from a bucket" which is not at all the situation we are discussing here.

    Hopefully the TMF owners of these APIs will read our concerns and provide a solution someday for this very basic use case.... maybe in the next version? ....At least, not having a guideline we can't be blamed for not being TMF-compliant wnatever decision we make :)

    Cheers.​​​​

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    Hector Sanchez
    Orange Espagne S.A.U
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  • 8.  RE: TMF677 - Usage Consumption

    TM Forum Member
    Posted 7 days ago
    Thank you @Hector Sanchez for your quick response on this one. Much appreciated!



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    N V Rama Krishna Devata
    Tata Consultancy Services
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