By Joseph George, Director Revenue Protection & Interconnect
The means by which network operators approach revenue assurance (RA) continues to evolve, as new network technologies, more complex commercial value chains and new models for process management and software delivery become available. This creates the fresh dilemna of how to implement RA best practices to guarantee the revenue management integrity in an LTE environment.
Despite the maturity of knowledge around RA, revenue leakage continues to be an issue for network operators. Various industry reports indicate that anything from 1% to 15% or more of global operator gross revenue is typically lost to revenue leakage, depending on factors such as type of network, type of service, geography and RA maturity levels.
With new network elements and new BSS/OSS elements to manage, new business processes to monitor, new services to accommodate and new value chains to control, it is important to assess LTE RA requirements in a more generic light, defining event origination and flow, in as broad terms as possible. In fact, by taking a generic RA approach, the seeming complexity becomes less daunting. Usage and non-usage data still needs to be processed from various sources; data needs to be loaded into some sort of database or data warehouse; analysis needs to be undertaken; business rules and alarm types need to be applied; and cases and reports need to be generated – as always.
Taking a more generic approach to RA in an LTE and LTE/hybrid environment ensures that a focus on process integrity is maintained, making overall RA tasks and objectives clear. While the volume of data correlation and checking is significantly increased in an LTE environment, taking a generic RA approach and concentrating on process integrity ensures a pragmatic solution to managing multiple event types, identity sources and bearer channels. Such an approach ignores the specifics of LTE in terms of new BSS/OSS and network elements, instead focusing on core requirements for RA monitoring regardless of technology generation, including data capture and input processing, normalization and filtration, and validation and reporting.
LTE introduces more complexity, both in the service delivery environment as well as in the value chain, and also potentially more value per transaction, as subscribers increasingly use their network access to perform commerce transactions. As the telecommunications industry moves from a voice centric towards more of a data centric world, then the focus for LTE revenue assurance should be process review and enhancement. To reflect the LTE acronym itself, let the focus be about long term revenue assurance evolution.