Rate plan or tariff is one of the basic but very important term and entity on telecom field. This is also every day term. You can hear your family, you are speaking a lo toff, what you think, is it not cheap, are you on best rate plan?
So, there are 2 kinds of rate plans, prepaid and postpaid.
Prepaid are usually simplified and postpaid can have very huge structure.
For example, one simple prepaid rate plan,
All days in Week, 1 minute to all national networks is 0.1 Eur, rounding is 15/1.
This mean, that if you make call for 45 seconds to some person in national traffic, no international no roaming, you will need to pay next value:
45= 15 + 30*1
Rating charged price = 0.1/60*15 + 0.1/60*30
If the rounding is 60/1, for 45 seconds you will need to pay 0.1 Eur.
Next interesting terms in configuration of rate plans are time zone and zone destination.
Example for time zone: Every day from 00-12 and 19-00 is off peak and from 12-19 is peak. Also some exceptions during public Holidays, birthdays are possible. So, one new feature of billing system is to have configurable and flexible time and zone package.
Also, when we spoke about Zones, the principle are next:
The local network are Zone I, National traffic is divided usually in several zones which depends of number of telecom operators, and after that, there are international zones. Several closest countries are stored in International zone I, and those, which are opponent on Earth are in the most expensive international zone.
Next step is to define telecom service. In mobile telephony, call is service number 1, SMS is second, MMS, FAX, forwarding and so one …
Also, very important phase is to define Free Units. This is very important tool for telco marketing strategies in conquering a new customers. Free units can be on rating level, on billing level. It is interest to note, that some times, telecom operator has maybe 100 type of free units arranged in priority.
Next phase is to define prices for every service in every zone for every period of time. Here is lot of work, because here you need to configure prices, rounding, to attach zones to all world and for all special numbers with all initial charges.
Charges are divided on next types:
One time charges – they are used for activation and deactivation of some service
Requiring charges – this is every month charge for post paid subsribers
And lot of more, but in this post this 2 are more important.
If we have all of them, now, on rate plan level we need to merge all services with configurable all zones and time tariff.
Our first rate plan is theoretically configured. Just to make situation natural, one rate plans is stored in approximately 20 tables with more than 1000 numbers of rows. So telecom configuration is very complex part of every billing system.