Mobile Communication service Providers always aim to specify, realize and deploy services as quickly as possible in order to gain a competitive edge in meeting evolving consumer demands. 3GPP introduced their mobile network architecture as IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS). Real time charging is crucial to telecom operators who base their return on investment on this type of billing that still seems both attractive and fair to customers. The IP multimedia subsystem enables a service-rich communication landscape and the convergence of mobile and fixed networks. However, IMS solutions can succeed only when charging for these new services is supported in a flexible and efficient manner
[...] This includes: Account Balance Management Check account balance Account balance update Account balance reservation Get/set counters Get/set expiry date of the account Charging Transaction Control Perform charging control on request basis for bearer and events/services Real-time charging and charging with reservation Generation of charging information/CDR per charging transaction It also maintains the state of the users' sessions, in order to provide these services continually throughout the session IMS Online Charging Elements The overall OCS elements include: OCF Online Charging Function, which is responsible for managing both session-based charging as well as event-based charging Rf interface Rating function interface, responsible for providing a cost for the service requested, including duration, volume, event based rating, and complex rating Diameter AAA protocol for network access and IP mobility ECF Event charging function which control event based charging SCF Session Charging function which controls session based charging AS Application Server(s) MRFC Media resource function controller ABMF Account balance management function accurately maintains the subscribers account balance in real-time Bo interface the interface protocol by which the Online Charging Function delivers billing records to the billing domain Figure IMS Charging Specification (Overview based on 3GPP TS 32.240 and TS 32.299 ) 4. [...]
[...] The Rf (rating function): responsible for providing a cost for the service requested, including duration, volume, event-based rating, and complex rating (based upon a combination of events and other parameters) The ABMF (Account Balance Management Function): maintains the subscriber's account balance in real-time Billing records are passed to the ‘Billing Domain' via the Bo reference point Advantages Real-time, financial authorization of services before delivery Advanced business driven rating mechanisms for maximum flexibility Multi-session/multi-service, simultaneous support for accounts Support for any service and any client-type Figure-4: Online Charging System (OCS) OCS & OCF Functions Based on 3GPP TS 32.240 and TS CONCLUSION IP Multimedia Subsystem the Next Generation Network has the potential to change the long term silo-based model of communications service delivery prevalent in today's prepaid and postpaid mobile and fixed-line services. [...]
[...] With these capabilities service providers can address their primary business challenges of streamlining existing network costs and assets, enabling new services to be brought online more cheaply and quickly, and measuring performance by “service value”, as opposed to just data volume and network quality. The IMS Charging Solution supports service providers to bridge the migration to IMS by protecting their investment already made in legacy networks and BSS/OSS. This approach includes a path from fast initial IP service deployment to full IP triple play or even quad play convergence. In future works we will focus on the design for dynamic charging policy adaptation according to QoS of services constituting one application, and network performance and aims to supports integrate the [...]
[...] There are three charging control types used for online charging: Immediate event charging (IEC) whereby the units associated with the service about to be rendered are known beforehand (e.g. sending an MMS). Account Balance in the form of credit units is debited directly from the user's account without making a reservation. As each service request is consumed the charging solution is updated Event charging with unit reservation (ECUR) whereby the network element or service platform makes an account balance reservation prior to service delivery and then makes a final charge once the service is delivered. [...]
[...] If service providers want to create highly flexible service platforms to realize cost efficiencies and to enable subscribers to access a greater range of multi-media services then IMS enabled services and networks are an excellent way to do this IP Multimedia subsystem (IMS) IMS is a standardized Next Generation Networking (NGN) architecture that is transforming the way service providers control, manage and charge for services on their networks. With IMS service providers can enable customers to combine multimedia service components Text, pictures, content, voice and video Over a single connection in real time. [...]
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