Case study: Telecommunications company

Simplifies billing mediation for 400 billion events per day

Telecommunications company
Background

In 2012, one of the top communication service providers in the United States, with more than 100 million subscribers, needed a more efficient way to process billions of offline data and usage records.

The telecom’s multiple billing systems were receiving all customer usage data, whether it was relevant to a particular billing system or not. The telecom also needed a more flexible IT infrastructure, supporting rating both in batches and real time.

Processing data was a very complex process

The telecom’s IT infrastructure had complicated paths between data and the applications that needed the data. Some applications took data in for one purpose and were then responsible for formatting and sending it to different applications for other purposes. This made changes highly complicated or impossible. The telecom’s IT department set out to find a permanent long-term technology partner that would deliver a solution that could scale by orders of magnitude while keeping TCO low. 

In addition to capacity and immediate performance concerns, the telecom also required a more flexible IT infrastructure as new services emerge and data plans move from unmetered to metered usage. The goal was to implement a usage broker technology that could support new approaches to rating – both in batches and real time.

The goal was to implement a usage broker technology that could support new approaches to rating – both in batches and real time.

Increased data usage no longer a problem

DigitalRoute’s Usage Data Platform (UDP) was introduced as a “usage broker” in front of three billing systems to process offline data and usage records for 100 million subscribers associated with 4G, 3G IP, 3G messaging and 3G Voice services. As a usage broker, the Usage Data Platform queries subscriber database tables in excess of 160 million rows to determine which records should be forwarded to which instance of the billing systems.

Current volumes involve five billion records within eight hours. Using both horizontal and vertical scaling capabilities, the telecom can now embrace its increasing data usage. The volume of records associated with new services, such as machine-to-machine communication, would have been overwhelming without the Usage Data Platform in place.

All the usage data now flows into UDP for validation, filtering and reformatting, and is distributed to only the necessary downstream systems. Filtering is a key point in that only the systems that specifically need data are getting it. Usage Data Platform has simplified both the paths that the data takes as well as application expansions. Now, if the telecom’s downstream system (billing, fraud, revenue assurance, etc.) needs additional information – only a specific feed needs to be updated. This drastically simplifies development and reduces both quality assurance and time-to-delivery.

Reduced processing costs and more rating options

From contract signing to going live in only eight months, the telecom now has an internal IT business-oriented solution that will augment, filter, aggregate, correlate, route, and report usage. This reduces volumes and processing costs and prepares usage records for real-time (immediately after event completion), near real-time (just outside the event), and batch rating. For the telecom, the Usage Data Platform handles five million transactions per second and 400 billion events per day.

This enables the company to focus on other areas of business use for the Usage Data Platform. The telecom is also self-sufficient, in that it is monitoring and expanding functionality without involving DigitalRoute. Since all data now flows through the Usage Data Platform, moving forward, the company can architect a real-time solution to solve other business challenges, leveraging the integrated real-time and batch capabilities of the Usage Data Platform.

In the words of the customer:

“In recognition of performance excellence, DigitalRoute performed an impressive – no, I mean perfect – on-time implementation of a complex mediation solution that is strategic and crucial to our company’s future success.”