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January 2007
Volume 10 / Number 1

Billing and OSS - the Last Barrier to VoIP and IMS

By Richard “Zippy” Grigonis: ( Page 1 || Page 2 || Page 3 || Page 4 || Page 5 || Page 6 || Page 7)

Levy could also have added that one of the first things to take into consideration is that, in an IP environment, SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) servers should be compatible with whatever billing system is at hand. Recently, for example, Brekeke Software ( a provider of SIP communications software, and SVK Software Corporation (, a provider of RADIUS AAA Billing Software Solutions, announced successful completion of interoperability testing between the Brekeke SIP Server and RadiusCat Billing software. Brekeke SIP Server users now can now avail themselves of SVK’s RADIUS Authentication, Authorization and Accounting billing solution without having to resort to any sort of customization. RadiusCat accepts SIP REGISTER and INVITE requests in the form of RADIUS Authentication and Authorization requests from the Brekeke SIP Server. It processes these requests and sends them back as a RADIUS response. RadiusCat software also enables callers to access the RadiusCat Web Console which allows browser-based account access to account holders.

In a world of services, the most recognizable components when one looks at OSS and BSS are the media and real-time billing servers. For example, Talking SIP, from IVR Technologies, Inc. (, is a software-based application media and real-time billing server. IVR Technologies is known for developing IP enhanced services and real-time billing solutions.

Barry Sher, VP of Business Development for IVR Technologies, says, “Talking SIP does rich media applications that are VoIP-enhanced services more for the consumer level than anything wholesale-related. It’s tightly integrated into a real-time billing server that has matured for many years now and benefits from our coming up from the TDM days into VoIP. Our expertise carries over into different types of billing applications that we see as becoming quite popular today, which are the packaged minute plans or the cellular/Vonage-type of plan, where you pay a monthly fee and you get ‘all you can eat’ service to certain destinations, or an included domestic calling plan with per-minute rates to destinations outside of the bundled plan.”

“We also offer tightly integrated ecommerce capabilities,” says Sher, “so from our solutions perspective, it’s all automated. A subscriber can sign up via the Web, without ever contacting a human being, and they can process their transactions via credit card and every month, based on the settlement date that you set in the system, the system will go ahead and settle up their monthly service fee via credit card as well as any above-and-beyond charges, so that the switch owner or network operator doesn’t have to go through and manually process any transactions. The system keeps track of everything in real time and is processing the data based on the frequency that’s set.”

Sher adds: “So, from a billing perspective, it’s all done in real-time, whether it’s prepaid, postpaid, flat-rate, packaged minute, or multi-tier, and it’s all automated through an ecommerce portal that’s tightly integrated into the solution.”

“We see developments in the billing space as being more real-time than anything historical, in order to improve cash-flow in collections, and to reduce the burden on the staff, thus reducing customer service staffing requirements, since everything is automated through the Web, and it supports subscriber empowerment and independent subscriber controls,” says Sher.

“From the protocol level — the SIP perspective — since we are a native SIP application acting as a back-to-back user agent, we communicate in real-time to other IMS-enabled components in order to process the three core areas of our solution: The application, the media and the billing,” says Sher.

“The platform is extremely flexible in that we build our platform as a turnkey solution,” says Sher. “There’s no command line interface. Everything is done via a GUI or a Web-based interface. It’s also designed to be quickly installed and is go-to-market ready. We’re coming out with a whole slew of applications. We’ve been releasing them for a while now, and it’s part of our ramping up process. Basically, Voice 2.0-type of applications are the kind of things you’ll be seeing from us. It’s all about how you drive customer usage; how you retain and attract customers; how you get more out of the account, whether it’s based upon surcharges or certain account fees or services that entice them to stay on the call longer or to bundle all of their telecom services through one number, if you will. It’s all about locking in the subscriber into the services and tempting them with new and innovative services that allows them to improve their lifestyle and maintain efficiency.”

“Our offering is a price/performance play,’ says Sher. “Our customer profile is a mid-to-small level carrier, a Tier-2 or Tier-3 type of carrier that’s looking to get into the retail environment. Perhaps they’re already doing some wholesale switching right now and they want to improve their margins and attract new revenue streams. Or perhaps they’re a switchless reseller and they’re hosting on somebody else’s infrastructure, but they’ve built a brand and they now want to go ahead and make the investments in order to become a facilities-based carrier and deploy their own infrastructure. But our product has been deployed by some of the larger carriers too. As far as scalability goes, you can start small with our platform and grow. It really depends on your capacity requirements but it is a sort of one-size-fits all system.”

“Transitioning to IP from circuit-switched technology was interesting,” says Sher. “Decoupling the circuit-switching from the peer, half median billing play that we’re in, was really an easy transition for us, mostly because of our experience gained by growing up in the TDM space. The billing has definitely become more robust, more flexible and has more subscriber-independent controls. That kind of stuff has come into play much more with VoIP than it did with TDM. With TDM you were really kind of ‘localized’, if you will, to every point of presence [POP], whereas with VoIP you can service an entire world of operating presence points from a common interface and database. It’s really been a much more efficient play for us, because we’re now able to provide the same core billing engine, across a global network. And the feature set has been greatly enhanced based upon the independence, the interoperability and the application set that comes with VoIP.”

Because of the size and depth of Zippy’s article, readers can peruse this feature in its entirety below.

Richard Grigonis is Executive Editor of TMC’s IP Communications Group.


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