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Prepaid in Mobile Telecommunications

(Deliverable D0.1c)

Colophon
Date : Version : Project reference : TI reference : URL : Access permissions : Status : Editor : Company : Author :

January 23, 2002 1.0 GigaABP/2001/D01.c TI/RS/2001/082 http://gigaabp.telin.nl Public Final Arjen Bakker Atos Origin Arjen Bakker

Synopsis:

In this document, an overview is provided for different concepts of prepayment in mobile telecommunications.

COPYRIGHT © 2001 TELEMATICA INSTITUUT PERSONAL USE OF THIS MATERIAL IS PERMITTED. HOWEVER, PERMISSION TO REPRINT/REPUBLISH THIS MATERIAL FOR ADVERTISING OR PROMOTIONAL PURPOSES OR FOR CREATING NEW COLLECTIVE WORKS FOR RESALE OR REDISTRIBUTION TO SERVERS OR LISTS, OR TO REUSE ANY COPYRIGHTED COMPONENT OF THIS WORK IN OTHER WORKS MUST BE OBTAINED FROM OR VIA TELEMATICA INSTITUUT (HTTP://WWW.TELIN.NL).

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and input to the research performed within the GigaPort Applications project Giga Accounting. Sander Hille (email: sander. Hille Project manager GigaABP.Preface After a brief introduction on mobile telecommunications. G I G A A B P / 2 0 0 1 / D 0 . this document describes different concepts for prepayment. Billing and Payment (GigaABP. The presentation in this report is the result of. Sander C.nl) that has been performed within the Telematica Instituut in Enschede. We would like to kindly thank the reviewer Paul Porskamp for the effort that he has put in reviewing this document and providing feedback and additional comments. the Netherlands.hille@telin. http://gigaabp.nl. and different fraud scenario’s have been recognised. As partners in the Telematica Instituut consortium TNO FEL (e-Business) and Atos Origin contributed to the GigaABP project. or through the GigaPort web site: http://www.gigaport. Two recharging concepts are described.telin. or by phone: +31-(0)53 4850485). 1 C V .nl (‘Publications’). More information with regard to the content of this report or on the GigaABP project can be obtained from the project manager.nl. and deal with current situations in second generation mobile networks. The description of concepts in this document were obtained from documentation and practice.telin. Other reports that resulted from the project are available at http://gigaabp.

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4 Handset based concept Hot billing concept Service Node Concept Mobile Intelligent Network concept 4 Recharging concepts 4.1 4.3 Introduction Components explained GPRS extensions towards third generation mobile networks 9 11 11 11 13 15 15 16 17 18 21 21 22 23 25 27 28 3 Prepaid Concepts 3.1 2.3 3.1 3.Table of Contents 1 Introduction 2 Mobile Telecommunication Architectures 2.2 2.2 3.2 Recharging vouchers Recharching from a bank account 5 Fraud & abuse scenarios 6 Conclusions The Classical IN Architecture The IN evolution towards an open service-enabling architecture G I G A A B P VII .

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around 50 % of customer enquiries relate to the billing process alone. and applicable laws. Also the overall risk profile is larger than with post-paid subscription based services. Internet. used for fixed and mobile telecommunications. driven by the new and improved enabling technologies for mobile communications. The customer perception: Customers typically associate prepaid with simplicity and transparency. and the unpredictability of these revenues. multi-billion dollar business. to prevent unauthorised use. and the bills are presented. they also lower the incremental strain on resources. No matter how strong the relationship. 2. and consist of approximately 60 % of all mobile communications in the year 2000. a shift from prepaid voice to prepaid data services can be expected. but there is always a considerate amount of money involved in retrieving them. instead of total devotion to one pure concept. Besides the claimed advantages. these debts can be issued. pay TV and across other industries. there is a downside. The relationship must be able to provide the service provider with the assurance that all debts will be paid. Today. when new services are being billed. and the loss of interest because of the early payment. Prepaid service offering requires realtime or almost real-time accounting. but in the current situation. This puts some serious constraints on the system and the infrastructure used by the operator. there is always a large risk of bad debt. Disadvantages for the customer are the additional effort for upgrading his account. Especially for customers using new services. This document will evaluate the four different prepaid concepts that are currently adopted in the Telecommunications Industry. The ability to pay in advance for services has become a global. Two different perceptions can be distinguished: 1. In the next three years. In practice. it appears that around 60% of the European Telecom operators use some sort of hybrid form. prepaid services offer the big advantage of predictability. Based on international whereabouts. Currently prepaid telecommunication services are offered by over 90 % of European mobile operators. G I G A A B P 9 . Prepaid services not only prevent the provider from handling bad debt situations.1 Introduction A prepaid service is a service for which the customer pays in advance. The service provider perception: The post-paid principle is based on a strong relationship between provider and customer. and prevent the customer from any surprises. because of the variability in revenues.

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etc. BSC: The Base Station Controller is the brain of the radio part of the network. The upcoming UMTS and comparable standards are considered to be the third generation mobile networks (3G). it shows that multiple Mobile Switching Centres (MSC’s) are interconnected. in which the most common elements are shown.1 Introduction In order to gain a good understanding of the practical and conceptual implementations of prepaid services in mobile telecommunication networks. GPRS is an intermediate solution.5G mobile network. For example. and that one MSC is connected to multiple Base Station Controllers (BSC’s). This link can be either a fixed trunk. Second generation refers to current GSM networks in Europe and different implementations with roughly the same functional characteristics elsewhere.2 Components explained BTS: The Base Transceiver Station consists of all radio transmission equipment (transceiver. The faded components illustrate the presence of multiple interconnected instances. VAS Platform HLR AuC VLR SSP BSC MSC SSP PSTN SSP Phone BTS BSC Solid Lines: Voice Trunk Dashed Lines: Signaling BTS: Base Transceiver Station BSC: Base Station Controller MSC: Mobile Switching Centre MSC MSC AuC: Authentication Center HLR: Home Location Register SSP: Service Switching Point VAS: Value added Service VLR: Visitor Location Register Figure 1: Network architecture of second-generation mobile networks 2. It controls a group of BTS’s and controls the mobility of the Mobile Stations (MS) or handsets. or a wireless link type of connection. are connected to multiple Base Transceivers Stations (BTS’s). antenna. commonly referred to as a 2. This G A B P I G A 11 . Figure 1 shows a network architecture.) and a link to the Base Station Controller (BSC). a limited but basic knowledge of the current second generation mobile networks is needed.2 Mobile Telecommunication Architectures 2. which in turn.

A traffic connection will be realised after a connection has been set-up by the signalling network. it routes traffic to the desired destination. see Appendix A 12 G I G A P O R T . but is also capable of realising actual traffic throughput. prepaid). data. In the home network. and their handsets. (Reason for this is that the frequently changing TMSI is harder to catch for misuse). Value Added Services (VAS). AuC: The Authentication Centre is used for the verification of the identity of the users. Present switching networks are based on Intelligent Networks (IN). VLR: The Visitor Location Register is co-located with each MSC. The MSC registers unknown MS’s that are visiting the network in the Visitor Location Register (VLR). call-back service. To protect the IMSI number from fraudulent use. HLR: The Home Location Register contains valuable information about permanently assigned home users. the VLR assigns a Temporary Mobile Subscriber Id (TMSI) based on the IMSI. 1 1 The signalling network takes care of call set-up and routing issues. SSP: The Service Switching Point illustrates the interconnection point with the fixed switching network or Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN). and provides necessary information to the home network to keep track of the MS. Strictly speaking. and with the fixed or wire line network. The AuC is often combined with the HLR. which is an internationally unique identifier for mobile communications. for use during the session. automatic redial etc. where the traffic part of the network is separated from the signalling part of the network . present location of the customer as derived from other ‘foreign’ MSC’s. a Home Location Register (HLR) is the primary point of information for the related MS’s. It uses information from the Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) located in the MS.includes location detection and handovers (from one BTS to an other). Each MS is assigned to one HLR. The SSP is actually part of the IN architecture. It also contains information about the current status of the MS (power on/off. For a more detailed explanation. active/idle mode). MSC: The Mobile Switching Centre plays a central role in the service part of the network. the International Mobile Subscriber Identification (IMSI) number assignment. the BSC assigns a channel to the MS. like 0800 services. and it provides billing detail information in the form of Call Detail Records (CDR’s). and represents the signalling application on the switch. It handles call set-up and termination. Examples of the information that is stored here are: Which services does the customer use (voice. The MSC interfaces with both other MSC’s. that is most likely based on an Intelligent Network (IN) platform. are provided on a VAS platform. It stores information about the present location of the visiting users. the interconnection from the mobile network infrastructure with the PSTN will take place via an interconnection device that supports not only signalling. During call set-up.

The voice traffic will be handled by a “typical” voice network infrastructure (optimised for point to point circuits). The former statement may seem paradoxical because of the use of the word ‘continuous’. This is an important enabler for low bandwidth continuous data services like messaging. assign some ‘voice’ channels to be used by the GPRS service. The General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) is an ETSI standard that is targeted at reuse of the current mobile infrastructures by offering packet switched (always-on) data connections. the data traffic will be handled by a “typical” data network infrastructure (optimised for bursty packetised traffic). In the first case. second. Contrary to the situation with ‘plain old’ GSM. buddy lists and small information services like address lookups and calendar functionality. Different users can use this ‘packet-channel’ for mutual concurrent use as long as this use is packet based. The concept is based on two basic ideas: first. continuous referred to the service. while in the second case. Figure 2: Network architecture for GPRS extensions on second-generation mobile networks The conceptual difference between GSM and GPRS data services is the “always-on” data support. The radio channels assigned to the typically bursty non-continuous communication will be shared amongst many different handsets demanding this service. VAS Platform 2 HLR AuC VLR BSC MSC SSP PSTN Phone BTS Voice link Data link ISP GGSN SGSN SGSN: Serving GPRS Support Node GGSN: Gateway GPRS Support Node GTP backbone IP Corp.3 GPRS extensions towards third generation mobile networks This section deals with some extensions that are currently made to the second-generation mobile networks to support efficient data transport over the current circuit switched mobile infrastructure. split the voice part and the data part in the fixed network.2. 2 European Telecommunications Standards Institute G I G A A B P 13 . continuous referred to the dedicated traffic link. with GPRS there is no dedicated channel usage.

the time based billing concept does not apply. or a combination of complementary concepts best suited for the situation. capacity.and especially the network use involved .GPRS-based services . Different billing strategies have to be explored to determine the most suitable billing concept. The deployment of volume based billing fits in with the strategy to correlate the usage costs with the most restricted network aspect. The concept that is currently deployed by most of the telecom operators is volume based billing. It is obvious that with the use of an “always-on” network service. 14 G I G A P O R T .demand a revolutionary change in the way telecommunications are charged.

Prepaid customer initiates a Call (dials number) 2. and sends "Advise of Charge" (AoC) parameters back to the mobile device. If no acknowledgement is received by the MSC the connection is denied. When the caller wishes to make a connection to a recipient. MSC sends AoC to handset. All other architectures register usage in the network instead.3 Prepaid Concepts In this section the four most important prepaid billing services used in the mobile telecommunications service will be discussed. otherwise the call is connected. and detects that it involves a pre-paid caller. he dials the desired number. In contrast to the other types of prepaid systems. Based on these parameters. the process of call origination is illustrated. The MSC uses the call details to determine the call rate. then the handset will acknowledge the receipt of the AoC parameters.1 Handset based concept Handset based systems are also called Advise of Charge (AoC) systems or SIM based systems. The MSC checks the kind of call at the Home Location Register (HLR). AoC is based on rate plan and various parameters (such as time and destination) 3. In Figure 3. the credit information is stored and accounted on the mobile device (handset + SIM) itself. 3. the handset itself will determine the maximum allowed call duration. 3 See terminology G I G A A B P 15 . The session is terminated when either the call is manually ended by one of the parties. the MSC will realise the connection with the call recipient. or the call duration reaches the 3 predetermined level from the AoC. If the handset supports AoC. 1 2 MSC 3 4. and a request will be placed at the Mobile Switching Centre (MSC). After acknowledgement of the receipt of the AoC. Solid Lines: Voice Trunk MSC: Mobile Switching Center 3 SSP 3 Dashed Lines: Signaling SSP: Service Switching Point Figure 3: Prepaid Call origination in handset based approach Steps involved in Prepaid Call Origination of a handset based system: 1.

the handset disconnects the call. the HLR is consulted. When the status of a prepaid account has changed. The credit adjustment will be done afterwards. During the call. If the SIM card determines that the ACM has reached the maximum allowed ACM threshold value. and its IMSI number (ID) is sent to the MSC. as the single source of status information for the mobile accounts. The MSC instructs the HLR to determine the validity of the service request based on the IMSI number. 2. Although this concept is sometimes referred to as real-time billing. and the CDR has been created. the handset uses the AoC parameters for tariff information. without any involvement from the network. the accounting takes place after the call has been ended. no access will be allowed (except for special numbers of course). It decrements the credit on the SIM card by incrementing the used units in the SIM 4 cards Accumulated call meter (ACM) .2 Hot billing concept In case of the hot billing approach. If the prepaid account has been exhausted. accounting will take place based on Call Detail Records (CDR's). most likely because exhaustion of credits. The HLR. the CDR is created at the MSC. It can only be considered as ‘near-real-time’ compared to the bulk processing in Telecom's traditional billing systems. The customer dials the desired number. Every time a MN (mobile node) sets up a call. and sent to the prepaid billing platform. 3. Because of the concept of using CDR's. 1 MSC 3 SSP 3 Solid Lines: Voice Trunk Dashed Lines: Signaling AuC: Authentication Center HLR: Home Location Register MSC: Mobile Switching Centre PSC: Prepaid Service Center SSP: Service Switching Point 4 Figure 4: Prepaid call origination in Hot Billing approach Steps involved in the call origination for the Hot Billing approach: 1. 2/3 HLR AuC 5 PSC 16 G I G A P O R T . 4 ACM stands for accumulated call meter.4. The prepaid Service Centre (PSC) guards the status of the user "account". guards the access to the network. the PSC informs the HLR of the changed status. This AoC disconnection mechanism works automatically in the handset. Directly after the termination of a call. it isn’t real-time. like in the case of post-paid telephony. It is a specific data field on the SIM card that is used together with a predetermined maximum value (ACM*) determine the “current credit level” at any time.

The SN is typically co-located with the MSC. Prepaid call origination in Service Node concept Steps involved in the call origination for the Service Node approach: 1. the HLR downloads the customer data and a prepaid tag to the MSC. a CDR is created and sent to the prepaid service centre. An example is the closure of CDR’s before the end of the session if the amount of used credits exceeds some predetermined value. 3. The prepaid service centre decrements the prepaid credit based on the received billing record.3.3 Service Node Concept The Service Node concept uses distributed Service Nodes (SN) that are co-located with the MSC's for call handling and charging. while the latter is better suited for large and cost effective solutions. and the connection can be granted even if the user exceeds its credit limit. and is connected to the MSC using standard T1/E1 trunks. If the balance is negative. This “one call exposure” cannot be totally banned out. It is relatively easy to install because a phased approach can be used to add externally controlled prepaid services to the existing post-paid service infrastructure. If the verification is successful. This concept is the most widely deployed prepaid service solution in the initial stage of prepaid service provisioning. When the call terminates. 4. In this case the credit balance is not updated. G I G A A B P 17 . It is obvious that because of the delay involved in the processing of the CDR. The former is the most flexible because of the support of standard API's. The call is connected. 1 4 MSC SSP 4 4 2 MSC: Mobile Switching Centre SSP: Service Switching Point PBP: Prepaid Billing Platform Service Node 3 PBP Figure 5. Service nodes are typically implemented by using Computer Telephony Integration (CTI) techniques or PC-controlled private branch exchange (PBX) techniques. and because of performance reasons. This can result in multiple CDR’s per session. the operator must define a well-considered rule to keep the balance between processing costs and possible risks. The prepaid customer initiates a call. there is always the possibility that the user calls again directly after call termination. but the risk can be limited by taking some measures. the prepaid service centre instructs the HLR to suspend the prepaid service or to delete the customer’s record. 5. before the CDR is processed.

The call set-up process is suspended. The service node authorises the call request by consulting the prepaid billing platform. The MSC identifies that the caller is a prepaid customer.7 Solid Lines: Voice Trunk Dashed Lines: Signaling MSC: Mobile Switching Centre P-SCP: Prepaid Service Control Point SSP: Service Switching Point P-SCP 4 Figure 5. and a prepaid call request message is sent to the P-SCP. It is however. Prepaid call origination in Mobile-IN approach Steps involved in the call origination for the Mobile Intelligent Network approach: 1.4 Mobile Intelligent Network concept The Mobile Intelligent Network (Mobile-IN) solution is considered to be the most complete solution to prepaid service for mobile communications today. The message includes the MSISDN (telephone number). The prepaid customer initiates a call. 5 See Appendix A 18 G I G A P O R T .2. 4. 3. the service node sets up a trunk back to the MSC. that communicated with the MSC's through an intelligent network protocol (e.g.6. 2. The MSC encounters the Mobile-IN call set-up trigger.8 2. This concept is based on a centralised Prepaid Service Control Point (P-SCP). All billing information for a prepaid customer is stored in the P-SCP. The P-SCP determines whether or not the customer can make the call by querying its database. 3. CAMEL ) over the SS7 signalling network. 3. and the called party telephone number. Based upon threshold processing parameters defined by the prepaid billing system. The service node starts credit decrement. the P-SCP may deny or accept the call. a very expensive solution that can most likely only be afforded by large operators. 5 1 MSC 5 SSP 3 Intelligent Peripheral 5 3. location information of the MS. and the trunk is eventually connected to the called party. If the call request is granted. The MSC sets up the trunk to the service node. Optional (1): The P-SCP instructs the MSC to establish an ISDN (voice) link to the intelligent peripheral.

The call terminates when either the balance runs out or the call completes. the rate plan. 8. The amount of credit decrement (from the current balance) is derived from carrier-defined threshold parameters. including external billing providers. G I G A A B P 19 . 7. Appendix A provides more specific information about Intelligent Networks. 6. the MSC encounters a WIN call-release trigger. Once the call is terminated. such as the balance and the charging rate for the call to be made to the prepaid customer. Although the Intelligent Network approach is the most expensive solution. The P-SCP asks the MSC to resume the call set-up procedure. the P-SCP instructs the MSC to terminate the call. and the current developments. it is the most promising solution for the future. the destination. Optional (2): The P-SCP instructs the intelligent peripheral to provide account status notification. The P-SCP rates the completed call and updates the customer’s prepaid balance accordingly. 5. For normal call completion. The P-SCP starts a countdown timer. Then it sends the current balance and cost of the call to the MSC. Current developments in the telecommunications industry are targeted at functional separation between the technical network routing functionality. The MSC releases the call. The idea behind this movement from expensive and Telco controlled service creation environments to a more flexible and accessible service provider model is enabling faster and more cost effective value added services by independent parties. and time/date dependency. this step does not exist. If the countdown timer ends before the customer terminates the call.4. and the call is eventually connected. and service exploitation. which sends a disconnect message to the P-SCP indicating the completion time of the call. and the intelligent functionality used for service creation. and enabling control over the services to third party service providers.

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while the issuing of HRN’s will be centralised at the service provider’s responsibility. Before he can access the number needed for the activation of his credits. the phone user buys a prepaid voucher that represents a certain credit value. G I G A A B P 21 . These vouchers are offered from local retailers. and activation. The situation where a user has acquired a voucher. This record represents a single amount of payment units.1 Recharging vouchers In case of the use of recharging vouchers. he has to “break the seal”. and buys a voucher. where the hidden number has to be entered. but specific information has to be delivered by the telecom operator. The buying step can be a very basic exchange of money against service credits. In the next step. the credit amount corresponding to this record number will be assigned to the prepaid account of the subscriber. At the same time. users trying to activate their newly acquired credits can be confronted with “empty records”. that both the serial number and the HRN number are used only once. If not. In the next chapter we will see how this situation can be caused by fraud activities. referring to a record in the prepaid administration system. 4. Issuing the vouchers (serial numbers) is registered in the distribution chain. When entering the number. Common implementations for recharging prepaid accounts are: · · · · Recharging vouchers Direct debit from bank account Electronic purses Credit card Currently the first two implementations are the most used ones. This IVR will guide him through the activation process. They will be explained in an example. Now that the number is known. This transaction can be totally anonymous because no personal information is required. and a hidden record number (HRN). This usually means that he has to scratch to make the number visible. for example a supermarket or gas station. the HRN in the administration system will be marked as “empty”. It is very important for the integrity of the prepayment recharging process.4 Recharging concepts The two main steps involved in recharging prepaid accounts are buying or payment. with a HRN from a record that has already be activated is referred to as a flat voucher situation. he calls a special number from the service provider and will be in contact with an interactive voice response system (IVR). the acquired credits will have to be assigned to a prepaid account (phone number) before the credits can actually be used. The voucher contains a unique serial number identifying the voucher as a unique item. Now what happens? A user goes to the local retailer.

The caller must identify himself to the bank with a personal secure Personal Identification Number (PIN). The user must have an account at one of the banks that is involved.2 Recharching from a bank account In the second example.4. This bank IVR offers the functionality to transfer value from the user’s bank account to the prepaid account. an option is provided to redirect the call to another IVR of a bank. 22 G I G A P O R T . a bank account will be used to transfer value from the bank account to the prepaid account. It is very important that there is a solid agreement between the individual banks and the service provider. The concept behind this is that whenever a user is dialling in at the service providers IVR with the intent of upgrading his account.

the P-SCP is the central storage of all account information. Manipulation of the P-SCP: In WIN based systems. Its intention is to create awareness on the possible fraud scenarios without getting involved in too many details. This situation is normally related to customers who found themselves to have purchased ‘flat’ vouchers. Customers. In this case. Fraud in prepaid services can appear as credit rates that are not decreased. Internal manipulation of the system: By gaining access to the HLR (where all service oriented customer data is stored) the prepaid account parameter can be set to post-paid. or by getting the HRN numbers of un-used vouchers from any person who is involved in the process of voucher printing. This section will deal with some different scenarios for fraud in prepaid mobile networks. will find their vouchers to be ‘empty’. It may be stated that some of these examples seem farfetched. but by the post-paid platform instead. Also the AoC signal sent by the network can be intercepted. customer care personnel. Account adjustments: It is possible for inside personnel. This is not always the case. It is an common misunderstanding that prepaid services are not subject to fraud because the services are paid for in advance. In the next paragraphs. the credit information is exposed to illegal modifications by hackers. This results in un-billable calls in the post-paid billing system. who legitimately purchase refill vouchers.or Account of Charge based systems where the credit information is locally stored. both the credits and the counter are exposed to hacking. This will result in flat vouchers. or by credit levels that are not legitimately increased or upgraded. It is common use that CC representatives are able to upgrade accounts without using an HRN. users get access to the prepaid system and manage to stop the prepaid counters. On Handset based systems where the credit information is locally stored. some known scenarios will be summarised to get some understanding of the principles. It is important that the IN platform offers good logging capabilities to prevent this kind of abuse. the counter is on the handset. On Handset. This can be done using a Voucher Administration Terminal.g. but it is a simple illustration of the problems that might arise with prepaid services. the calls are not handled by the prepaid billing platform. e.5 Fraud & abuse scenarios Fraud is a major issue in the mobile telecommunication industry. G I G A A B P 23 . etc. They are unable to refill their account. It is clear that manipulation of this central storage can lead to illegitimate use. Fraud can be a serious threat to prepaid services that is even more difficult to discover that in the case of post paid services. transportation of vouchers to the operator stores. to manually provide credit to an account. External manipulation of the system: By using certain key combinations in some handsets. Un-authorised refills: This can be the case when subscribers top up their accounts either by guessing the Hidden record numbers (HRN’s) of unused prepaid vouchers (trial and error).

Last Call exposure: Prepaid systems based on Hot Billing are subject to the abuse of last calls. Simultaneous charging using same HRN: It has occurred that two mobile phones connecting to the upload mechanism at the same instance of time. but instead is done just after termination of the call. Because the accounting is not real-time. Although there is no real confirmation for this at the moment. it makes clear that this situation must be prevented by the organisation of the upgrading system and processes. the chance of negative credit levels is huge. 24 G I G A P O R T . but intentional fraudsters can exploit this situation by generating extensive use. This is no big problem for normal situations where the credit will be topped up again. both upgraded their credit by using the same HRN. for example by call forwarding mechanisms.

When the service matures. can easily decide to buy credits from other service providers if they provide a better offer. where pricing schemes probably will be even more complicated than the pricing schemes of current telecom services. At the start of the service lifecycle.6 Conclusions Prepaid telecom services differ from post-paid services in numerous ways. in contrast with subscription-based users. and credit decreasing operations. and it lowers the overhead on the processing of post-paid services. 6 7 6 Note that for post-paid services. possibly the lack of subscription fees. and the lifecycle phase of the service delivery. can be better prepared against attacks from skilled hardware hackers. depending on the service. but because of the way the delivery of the service is experienced. Prepaid users. We have discussed different implementation concepts for prepaid services in mobile telecommunications. a more centralised service management architecture is preferred. On the other hand. This is not because of the delivered service itself. network based credit information and counters. but fraud and abuse can never be totally expelled. a prepaid service clearly decreases the chance on bad debt. service providers can easily start with one or more decentralised service delivery units. It broadens the market by opening up a new (partly overlapping) target clientele. for the user as well as the service provider. an existing relationship between the user and the service provider (in the form of a subscription) is required. G I G A A B P 25 . it increases the financial risks because the income from prepaid sales is less predictable than subscription based services. This decision will be based on the security policy. 7 Churn is used to indicate the number of users that leave a service provider to go to a competitor. Service providers should decide on the degree of centralisation of the credit information. The most important differences are found in the location of the prepaid balance info and counter mechanism. Downsides on prepaid for the customer can be introduced by possible unfavourable pricing or recharging fuss. the main advantages are budget control and. Considering the use of next generation services. prepaid billing can provide some protection against unintended high expenses. Concepts using central. From the user perspective. and the delivery grows. For the service provider. Prepaid services offer both advantages and disadvantages. This is mainly because of the higher churn rates.

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The availability of services.Appendix A: Intelligent Network Concept This section will provide a brief overview of Intelligent Network (IN) concept. This way the “expensive” network circuits are not claimed by the call set-up procedure when there is still a chance of failure (e. Whenever the network has claimed a route from A to B. B is not available). Upon service request. provisioning and management of advanced communication services. serviceindependent communication. distributed. In fact a whole lot of Value Added Service can be realised on IN platforms.g. The IN is a telecommunications network service control architecture that is a generic platform for open. it is a complete framework for the creation.- SCE SM S SCP VLR S C E : S e rv ic e C re a tio n E n viro rn m e n t S M S : S e rv ic e M a n a g e m e n t S y ste m S C P : S e rv ic e C o n tro ll P o in t S S P : S e rvice S w itc h in g P o in t S T P : S e rvice T ra n sfe r P o in t S S 7 : S ig n a llin g S y ste m 7 SS7 SSP SSP/ STP S ign allin g ne tw o rk SSP Te lep ho ne T ele ph on e Figure 6: Intelligent network concept and components for wire line network G I G A A B P 27 . This is in fact just a sample of what IN can do. The IN is more than a network architecture. the actual connection is realised. The Classical IN Architecture Intelligent networks are based upon the principle of separation of the network routing functionality and service intelligence. based on the information provided by the overlaying intelligence. s ig n a llin g d a ta lin k _ _ _ v o ic e lin k D B : D a ta b a s e _ __ _ VLR -. the network takes care of the creations of the connection. and the flexibility of the service layer are influenced by the implementation choices made by the operator and the IN technology supplier.

and include services as automatic voice response. such as mobility and broadband services. There is an international version of SS7 standardised by the ITU. Distributed Functional Plan and the Physical Plane. The IETF is currently working to define capabilities for hybrid IN + IP networks. For European mobile networks. that operates as a protocol on top of SS7. defined by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). single point of control services. The SS7 network sets up and tears down the call. The first is INAP that is also used in fixed IN technology on top of the SS7 network. and the adoption of new service provisioning models is gaining momentum. Integration of telecommunication services and Internet services. is determined by the Capabilities of the Intelligent Network Application Part (INAP). The future of CAMEL depends on its ability to adapt to the integrated voice and data services for 2. These capabilities aim at close integration between advanced telephony and Internet services. two application technologies are used. Global Functional Plane. like number portability. caller ID and Local Number Portability (LNP). Connections are made directly or via packet switches known as Signal Transfer Points (STP’s). The second is the Customized Applications for Mobile network Enhanced Logic (CAMEL). to provide international service provisioning. and prepaid services. Camel is an important enabler for Value Added Services (VAS) in mobile networks. CS-2 adds enhanced IN services. Some important initiatives aiming at these needs are: 8 8 Signalling System 7is the protocol used in the public switched telephone system (the "intelligent network" or "advanced intelligent network") for setting up calls and providing services. Both INAP and Camel are based on the Intelligent Network Conceptual Model (INCM). and national versions determined by each country. Examples of initiatives on hybrid capabilities are PINT and SPIRIT. a voice circuit is not tied up until a connection is actually made between both parties. a conceptual layered framework for design and capabilities for IN design and is represented by a Service Plane. CS-1 defines standard single ended. The voice switches. known as Service Switching Points (SSP’s). The IN evolution towards an open service-enabling architecture Classical IN’s are evolving towards more open service delivery platforms. SS7 is a separate signalling network that is used in Class 4 and Class 5 voice switches. 28 G I G A P O R T . In addition. This results in new requirements for intelligence in telecom networks. call forwarding. Which services are actually provided by the IN. the SS7 protocol standard is used. The service capabilities are organized in Capability sets CS-1 to CS-3. Accessing databases using a separate signalling network enables the system to more efficiently obtain static information such as the services a customer has signed up for and dynamic information such as ever-changing traffic conditions in the network.For the signalling part of the network. Comparable to the INAP capability sets.5+ mobile networks. the capabilities are dependant on the CAMEL phase (I to III). IN interworking. query Service Control Point (SCP) databases. free phone en much more. specifically for GSM networks. handles all the routing decisions and supports all modern telephony services such as 0800 numbers. call forwarding.

During 1998. Existing standards organisations such as the ITU-T and ETSI had been successful in producing a vast array of international standards for different technologies. network capabilities will be encapsulated and made visible using object technology in a secure. Rather. wireless. however. The mission of the IN/SS7-Internet Protocol Working Group is to facilitate the broader application of Intelligent Network (IN) capabilities in the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) to access Internet functionality and vice-versa for providing synergistic arrangements for existing and new services. Siemens AG and Ulticom. The API will not directly open up the networks' signalling for public usage. identify any protocol shortfalls. large players from both telecommunications and IT industries are combining their strengths to create an open network API for telecommunications networks. It therefore remained a target of the mobile industry to produce coherent specifications in a time frame that was ahead of those within the standards industry -hence the formation of 3GPP. strive to resolve any such shortfalls through influencing appropriate standards. Microsoft. and develop implementation agreements that meet industry opportunities for inter-networking IN/ SS7 and Internet capabilities. manageable. open service architecture. the speed with which this was attained was slow. Java IN (JAIN): Organized by Sun in 1998.IN Forum (IN-CT and IN-IP groups): IN Forum (INF) CT-IN Integration WG and IN/IP Integration WG. BT. IBM. especially when compared to bodies such as the IETF. The scope of the activity includes all kinds of communication capabilities such as telephone technologies (wire line.In the industry. The API will allow secure access to core and advanced capabilities embedded in the networks of today’s telephone companies while being sufficiently adaptable to address similar capabilities in future communication technologies. the IN/CT workgroup has been developing a positioning paper to define the opportunities and the services enabled by the convergence of IN and Computer Telephony. as well as video and data communications. Cisco Systems. In 2001 the first Billing implementations based on Parlay technology have been launched. The current members of the Parlay Group are AT&T. Ericsson. Lucent Technologies. the JAIN initiative addresses the needs of next-generation telecom G A B P rd I G A 29 . 3GPP OSA: 3GPP (3 generation partnership project) was conceived some two to three years ago with the express purpose of accelerating work on mobility. Parlay is seen as an important step towards network independent service provisioning. At the end of 1998 and the beginning of 1999 3GPP formed a group known as OSA. and billable manner. Parlay Project: The Parlay project. Client access to these capabilities will be realised using object access technologies such as COM or CORBA. It is also considered an important enabler for third party Billing providers. and IP telephony). The purpose of this group was to focus 3GPP's efforts on defining an architecture in support of the virtual home environment (VHE) — the need here being to provide mobile users with access to their service offerings irrespective of their position within or outside the home network environment. The Working Group will define interoperability requirements.

JAIN is a Java Beans based industry framework for the Java-based IN service implementation.1 specification. Sun joint forces with the Parlay project and developed a JAIN API specifically for the Parlay 2. 30 G I G A P O R T .networks by developing a set of industry-defined APIs for Integrated Networks.

Magedanz. Popescu-Zeletin. R. 2001: ISBN 0-471-39492-0 [MaPo96] T. Imrich Chlamtac. International Thomson Computer Press. Whitepaper on pre-paid fraud. Wiley Computer Publishing. Wireless and Mobile Network Architectures. standards and Evolution. March 2001. Basic Technology. [Sube01] Subex Systems Limited.com/compbooks/ [AMS01] American Management Systems. Intelligent Networks. London 1996. ISBN 1-85032-293-7 Available at: http://www. 2001 G I G A A B P 31 . The Next Generation of Prepaid Services.wiley. results of an industry survey.References [BiCh01] Yi-Bing Lin.