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Open Source Telecom Billing System

  • 1.  Open Source Telecom Billing System

    TM Forum Member
    Posted Jan 28, 2020 23:10
    Which are the Open Source Telecom Billing systems we have. How it these will help in Digital Maturity?
    Specification of some such systems which can be recommended to CSP may be for some functions.
    #CustomerExperience
    #OpenDigitalArchitecture
    #TMForumGeneral

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    Lalit Kandi
    Tech Mahindra Limited
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  • 2.  RE: Open Source Telecom Billing System

    TM Forum Member
    Posted Jan 29, 2020 07:02
    More "charging" than "billing" - but I would suggest a chat with @Vance Shipley​ at https://sigscale.com/

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    Stephen Harrop
    Principal Enterprise Architect
    Vodafone Group
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  • 3.  RE: Open Source Telecom Billing System

    TM Forum Member
    Posted Jan 31, 2020 14:29
    jBilling and Billrun are two good options.
    while they don't cover the entire billing domain, idea is to use them for core functions and build missing functionality around them ​using microservices instead of heavily customizing them.

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    Kishore Verla
    CTO
    Tech Mahindra Limited
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  • 4.  RE: Open Source Telecom Billing System

    TM Forum Member
    Posted Feb 04, 2020 16:10
    Service providers are having very lean IS team and not able to afford for a development and QA team . Hence going for open source billing system might not be beneficial, considering the facts like Security patches, OS,  Release updates.

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    Senthil Nathan
    M1 Limited
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  • 5.  RE: Open Source Telecom Billing System

    TM Forum Member
    Posted Feb 05, 2020 01:50
    A service provider must ensure business continuity so the platforms must be supported. That a platform is built on software having an open source license does not necessarily dictate self support. For example commercial support for Linux is available from RedHat, Canonical, Suse, etc.. SigScale is one of a growing number of companies providing commercially supported solutions under a fully open source license. Software products must be funded but right-to-use (RTU) licensing is only one business model choice. Companies like RedHat, Lumina and SigScale instead focus on revenue from support services.

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    Vance Shipley
    SigScale
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  • 6.  RE: Open Source Telecom Billing System

    TM Forum Member
    Posted Feb 06, 2020 01:58
    Hi Lalit,
    Firstly I would say that billing systems or any other systems for that matter should not be evaluated based on technology, whether open-source, vendor built or custom made. Secondly, the digital maturity model seems to be made by engineers for engineers trying to think of business, sorry.

    The technological evolution, systems, and solutions, in total, go beyond being administrative to also being able to DO business. This is gross!
    Secondly, the communications technology has developed to the point that very little autonomy is left, and is now all about eco. 
    Hence, systems and solutions, including billing, cannot and should not be viewed as an internal issue only. Specifications that traditionally are based on Business Architectural principles. (Identify the functions, Understand the tasks, design processes ...etc.), will not crack it on a business level. Specifying systems have to be done with an eco-system in mind, and the business capabilities needed to thrive in the eco-system.
    Business Capabilities:
    - Transactional revenue and recurring revenue for any product and service
    - Being able to collect revenue before all cost occur
    - How easy is it for a customer to leave
    - Business Model support
    - Time and cost of introducing new products and services
    - How open are the systems to have others participating in new products and services development? 
    Open source or Vendor based Billing, the jury is out. I would say that the mindset of current IT-  and billing teams are a bigger challenge to overcome. As such, maybe open source can add value in that a larger community exchange ideas. AND IT IS ALL ABOUT NEW IDEAS, NOT WHAT IS TRADITIONAL.


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    Cato Rasmussen
    Independent
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  • 7.  RE: Open Source Telecom Billing System

    TM Forum Member
    Posted Feb 06, 2020 02:22
    Hear! Hear!
    Finally a voice of reason!

    Certain People still fail to understand that technology is there to support business, not the other way around. And when it comes to business certain people are still locked in a micro-economy world where a supplier sells to a consumer. Building a billing platform, and a business-case in general, based on such principles - ends up in silos: Technological silos, operational silos and business silos.
    Digital maturity, as long as it is limited to the confines of a single entity, yields silos.
    Being digitally mature means being able to interact with other entities in a macro-economy where every entity is both a buyer and a seller.
    Once we understand this principle and look at billing as a bilateral activity (invoicing each other, reconciling with each other, netting the differences between each other, settlement with each other on the remaining amount) we'll soon figure out that the source of the code, be it open or proprietary, makes very little difference.

    Shahar Steiff
    AVP New Technology @ PCCW Global​

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    Shahar Steiff
    PCCW Global
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  • 8.  RE: Open Source Telecom Billing System

    TM Forum Member
    Posted Feb 06, 2020 03:51
    Information looking more relevant to open source billing which can be helpful for Tier 1 CSPs. Mainly Tier 1 CSPs may not like to go for billing product with Intellectual Proprietary or Licencing with good amount of cost. Technically there should be any constraint but functionally like to accommodate more things which can fulfill billing needs.

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    Lalit Kandi
    Tech Mahindra Limited
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  • 9.  RE: Open Source Telecom Billing System

    TM Forum Member
    Posted Feb 07, 2020 01:45
    The Sorry state of Billing platform , is Billing has become a pure agreegator , most of the rating ,discounts,unit credits  are done during rating ,
    this is mostly nearly on-line or a gap of 1-2 hours ,for many cases Billing has become flat rate , Packages are designed in such a manner wherein Billing Functionality or strength  is almost lost .

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    Ramanujam GS
    Wipro Technologies
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  • 10.  RE: Open Source Telecom Billing System

    TM Forum Member
    Posted Feb 07, 2020 02:35
    Keep looking at billing at micro-economic levels (I sell, you buy) and you'll indeed see a simple transaction.

    If you look at billing from a macro-economic level (we trade. I buy from you and sell to you at the same time) and you'll see that billing is far from being simple and far from being flat-rate.

    Billing in a macro-economy is broken down to multiple steps:
    1. Take usage records and apply rates, discounts, service credits etc.
    2. Invoicing other party and receiving an invoice from other party.
    3. Comparing the received invoice to own records. Identify disputes (if any).
    4. Resolve disputes if found = Reconciliation. Agree on final amount. Book the revenue (which is far more important to the CFO than the amount of cash in the bank).
    5. (optional) Agree on netting of invoices against each other, including reconciliation. Agree on final amount to be transferred between parties.
    6. Settlement of amount using an agreed upon payment method.

    This is far from being a "sorry state" or a "pure aggregator". This is a complex task that has an immense effect on bottom line. In a trade (=wholesale) world it takes up to 3 months of work, primarily manual, from invoicing to settlement.

    Several PoCs have proven ability to shorten that to minutes, using AI and Blockchain.

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    Shahar Steiff
    PCCW Global
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  • 11.  RE: Open Source Telecom Billing System

    TM Forum Member
    Posted Feb 07, 2020 04:07
    Hi Shahar Steiff ,
    Nice to see your comments i was taking purely about B2C retail billing . 


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    Ramanujam GS
    Wipro Technologies
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  • 12.  RE: Open Source Telecom Billing System

    TM Forum Member
    Posted Feb 10, 2020 03:23
    Dear Shahar,
    I agree with what you are saying, but please do not mix in Micro and macro economics. A company's billing, payment, invoice, what have you will always fall in the brackets of micro-economics!

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    Cato Rasmussen
    Independent
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  • 13.  RE: Open Source Telecom Billing System

    TM Forum Member
    Posted Feb 10, 2020 08:03

    Never say "Always". 

    if the company is, for example, a telecom operator trading voice minutes or data capacity, or a non-telco company in a wholesale supply chain, their financial  systems sure enough must support macro economics. Buy and sell. 

    Micro economics is just a special case of macro economics. 



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    Shahar Steiff
    PCCW Global
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  • 14.  RE: Open Source Telecom Billing System

    TM Forum Member
    Posted Feb 07, 2020 01:45
    That is a quick and hefty conclusion!

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    Cato Rasmussen
    Independent
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  • 15.  RE: Open Source Telecom Billing System

    TM Forum Member
    Posted Feb 07, 2020 04:38
    I hear you. Several times in my career I've been involved in the procurement of billing systems for a new communications service provider. On each of these occasions they started with the premise that they would choose a supplier and then that vendor would define the business processes. Each time I made the case that product ideation must come first with a vendor chosen to support the products second however the folks who would define the products insisted on having the billing system capabilities as input!

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    Vance Shipley
    SigScale
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  • 16.  RE: Open Source Telecom Billing System

    TM Forum Member
    Posted Feb 10, 2020 03:20
    Yes, and you see how far they got - still doing the same thing in a new wrapping.
    Return on invested capital has gone down.
    Business-model based on general "industry in", as opposed to inside-out business-models.
    Fail to add value to an eco-environment.
    App for domestic use e.g. transportation ticket apps, booking and reservation apps, ...etc. are hosted on Apple's app store and google play and not having an option to be hosted on any telco's apps platforms (who by the way haven't got any such apps platform. If they have had app platforms the approach to billing and payments would have needed to be looked at differently.
    Nor can telcos do rated services and priced items on a single system.
    I could go on, but I think you and telcos need to look forward and stop referring to the past because it is not very helpful.  


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    Cato Rasmussen
    Independent
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  • 17.  RE: Open Source Telecom Billing System

    Posted Feb 12, 2020 11:52
    Hello ..
    Someone do you know the most recient Gartner Magic Quadrant forTelco Billing Applications?
    Carlos Chinchilla
    Colombia

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    Carlos Yesid Chinchilla Arenas
    TO BE VERIFIED
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  • 18.  RE: Open Source Telecom Billing System

    TM Forum Member
    Posted Feb 12, 2020 11:52

    Good Morning Everyone,
    Nice healthy comments from all tmforum members surely add knowledge to everyone.
    I would say that for small csp's, it would be good to start with open source billing stack and then with the passage of time, need to do deep analysis as per company growth.
    for large csp's, majors risks for them is data protection, security, reliability, sla/support/managed contract and reliability of vendor for long term. All these points lead them to consistent billing system vendor.
    Also, when we talk about billing system, we need to define boundaries as this definition varies from vendor to vendor or open source available platforms.
    for only billing and calculation, open source platform Kill Bill is also a good choice.




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    Muhammad Imran Khan
    STC Solutions
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  • 19.  RE: Open Source Telecom Billing System

    TM Forum Member
    Posted Feb 19, 2020 13:10
    Hello All,

    Nice great comments from tmforum community. Surely it gives an advantage increasing in knowledge as well as deep thoughts.
    Open source billing platforms could be adopted for small/ medium companies. For large CSP's i would say its a risk. Risk of Data and Information, Risk of Security, Risk of SLA/OLA & Support, Risk of Managed Service Model Implementation etc.
    Yes, for small CSP's who don't want to invest more on billing system and want to keep full control from development as well, this would be better approach. Kill Bill is a good option as open source billing

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    Muhammad Imran Khan
    BSS Consultant
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    Muhammad Imran Khan
    STC Solutions
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