Guest Post: Shared data plans to drive real-time customer charging

By Jennifer Kyriakakis, vp marketing with MATRIXX

Shared data plans are fast being recognised as a standard offering from major operators like Sprint and EE. Consumers opting for these plans are no longer limited to sharing data with immediate family members, and can now share plans with housemates, friends and even their neighbours. It’s no surprise that shared data plans are anticipated to grow in popularity in the foreseeable future, because they offer customers great flexibility and good value for money.  But to continue satisfying customer demands while still making a profit requires operators to upgrade their business support systems to cope with today’s data intensive world.

Current IT systems are unable to handle the vast increase in data usage volumes, together with the complexity of sharing a data bundle, when shared data plans are implemented.

Telco billing systems were designed uniquely for voice services. They were based on a simple, ‘one-dimensional’ structure with a limited set of circuit-switched services to track for usage, and one balance to manage.

Such systems were designed with only the present in mind, long before the concept of data services arose.

As 4G becomes more prevalent among consumers the problem will be further exacerbated. The issues are compounded for operators by legacy IT architectures.

These systems were designed for very different business models and never accounted for multiple users – or devices – accessing a shared pool of IP-based services.

MNOs [Mobile Network Operators] need to become exceptionally agile – so that as the market changes, devices advance, and bandwidth becomes scarce, they can quickly respond and change course as needed.

They need to adopt more appropriate strategies to support emerging business models, high volumes of network traffic, and device proliferation now and into the future.

These strategies will enable MNOs to better serve the needs of users sharing data.

New services require new IT architectures and infrastructure. MNOs are better served to implement modern solutions for new services rather than relying on legacy.

In order to succeed in the ultra-competitive IP world – new systems provide MNOs the ability to support the next generation of services and experiences customers now demand. And this will be the difference between life and death.

Mobile has evolved significantly since the early days of first generation systems, and with 5G on the horizon in 2018, it’s time for the IT systems that businesses depend on to catch up – and catch up fast.

Author biog

Jennifer Kyriakakis has been working in the communications Industry for over 17 years in marketing, sales and systems delivery. Prior to MATRIXX, Jennifer worked for Portal Software (acquired by Oracle) where she was responsible for the global marketing strategy of Portal’s product suite for the broadband and mobile markets. Before joining Portal, she worked with Verizon International Wireless managing large implementations of billing and customer care solutions for their global operating partners. Jennifer began her career in the communications practice at Accenture where she developed billing, invoicing, and payment processing applications for wireless operators. She holds a degree in Information Technology and Operations Management from the College of William and Mary.

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