7 Accounting and Settlement

22.1153GPPCharging and billingRelease 17Service aspectsTS

The serving network shall collect and process the charging data generated in its network elements. The record of each individual transaction shall be reported to the home environment at short time intervals in order to allow further processing by the billing system in the Home Environment, provide itemised bills, and to deal with any disputes regarding charges both for users and for other visited networks and home environment.

The standard shall support the transfer of charging data at different intervals as required by the Home Environment (e.g. short time intervals, real time, other regular intervals).

7.1 Delegation of charging authority

The registration process allows the home environment to authenticate users before they incur any charges. Once authenticated, the home environment then delegates authority to the serving network operator with which he has a direct commercial relationship to incur charges for services supplied to that user. The direct commercial relationship may be with either the serving network operator if known directly by the home environment or a network operator known to the home environment. This procedure uses each network as trusted third parties in a chain of delegation between entities, thus allowing commercial transactions between entities who have no direct commercial dealings. There shall be an authentication procedure between all entities in the 3GPP system which have a commercial relationship.

In the case of a multimedia telephony, when the HPLMN requests that optimal media routeing is not applied, the VPLMN shall disable optimal media routeing for all the subscribers of the requesting network.

7.2 Fraud Control

A mechanism to control fraud shall be provided by the serving networks and the home environment.

7.2.1 Fraud Control by the Home Environment

Charging information shall be collected by the home environment in real time from all serving networks which its users are allowed to use. The billing system in the home environment shall process the information in real time and provide the means to set charge thresholds per time interval upon which some actions may be started, such as informing the customer care centre or even barring the user in the HLR.

It shall be possible for the Home Environment to define different time intervals for the collection and the processing of charging information (e.g. real time, short time, other regular intervals).

7.2.2 Fraud Control by the Serving Network

Charging information shall be collected from the network elements and processed in real time. This will allow the serving network to always be aware of the exposure to visitors. A limit for the accumulated charges for all visitors from one home environment or a limit per visitor may be agreed between the home environment and the serving network.

It shall be possible for the Serving Network to define different time intervals for the collection and the processing of charging information (e.g. real time, short time, other regular intervals).

7.3 Cost Control

A mechanism shall be standardised providing an indication to the user (if involved in the chargeable event) of the charges to be levied for a chargeable event. This mechanism shall be able to handle all possible charging scenarios, and all service and tariff variants that the home environment and the serving network may offer to the user.

The user shall be able to set in his home environment a limit for the accumulated charges per time interval. Upon exceeding this limit or prior to incurring a charge which would exceed the limit, certain actions may be desired by the user:

  • notification to the user, requesting to extend the limit; or
  • Home Environment barring allowing no further originating calls; or
  • Home Environment barring cancelling the roaming permission.

7.3.1 Cross Phase Compatibility

For Release 99 the cost control mechanism may be based on Advice of Charge. However the Release 99 standards should not prevent the future implementation of the full Cost Control requirements.

The Release 99 standards should allow these new features to be introduced in a backward compatible manner; specifically terminals conforming to Release 99 standards should continue to support the Release 99 service requirements when operating with future implementations of Advice of Charge in the Home Environment.

7.4 Inter-network Settlement

Mechanisms shall also be provided to allow inter-network settlement of charges on a bulk basis. The same mechanisms shall be used between home environments and serving networks. This will allow each of these parties to meter the total input and output of charges and thus determine the payments required on a periodic basis between each of the parties with which they directly interact. The mechanisms used shall allow each of the parties to meter charge flows independently, with the aim of matching the values recorded at both sides of the same interface. The imbalance in charge flow shall be accumulated in short time, such that each entity can be informed when a threshold has been exceeded and determine whether to continue.