The move toward one

Kirill Rechter
LogNet Billing
Communications service providers offering more than one service is nothing new in Asia. For many years, cable operators have provided internet and local telephony services in addition to their core television content.
 
Fixed-line operators, especially alternative providers, are expanding their product offerings to include packaged fixed-line, mobile and internet services, while many mobile operators are repositioning themselves as communications service providers with product offerings that include broadband, content, VAS and even fixed-line telephony. These multiple service environments allow service providers to expand their revenue streams, subscriber base and market reach.
 
Although many service providers offer more than one communications service type, most multiple service environments in Asia are not yet fully integrated and often lack a customer-centric service strategy. Service providers throughout Asia commonly use separate billing systems and processes for each service type.
 
Tier one providers in developed countries are known to be running dozens of separate billing systems, while emerging service providers in developing countries often rely on ad-hoc billing processes and a combination of legacy systems.
 
Parallel billing systems might be appropriate under certain circumstances. In general, however, running more than one billing system creates significant IT overhead and operational complexity. Equally as important, when separate billing systems are used for each service type, offering cross-product packages and volume discounts is operationally difficult and often functionally not possible.
Service environments with numerous billing systems are often a natural consequence of rapid growth.
 
As a result, billing processes can easily become unstructured, creating an awkward situation in which a service provider can lose control of its revenue generation and customer management activities.
 
The appropriate time for a service provider to evaluate its billing processes and consider its options for a billing system is generally during the planning stages of a new service. Rolling out a new service with a holistic billing approach is essential. Merging multiple business lines into a unified billing process is ideal and often recommended. This of course is easier said than done.
 
There are four billing alternatives to consider when planning a new service.
 

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