8:00 AM -- How will communications service providers (CSPs) manage their revenue collection processes in the future? Are we on the cusp of a major shift away from post-paid billing to pure real-time charging?
That's a critical debate for the CSPs, their Service Provider Information Technology (SPIT) systems suppliers, outsourcing partners and, of course, customers.
Currently, it seems, there is no consensus on how this will play out, but the debate is as interesting as it is critical.
It's not a new topic of discussion but one that was given a new shot in the arm recently following the publication of this incendiary article, "The Death of Billing – and the Rise of Real Time" by Alex Leslie at Billing Views, which reported on a presentation given by an operator about the impending arrival of the "Post Billing Era".
That article -- give it a read, it only takes a few minutes -- sparked a response from Dominic Smith, marketing director at Cerillion Technologies Ltd., a supplier of billing, CRM and other telecom back-office software capabilities with more than 40 customers globally.
Smith's blog, "Billing: reports of my death are greatly exaggerated", is also well worth reading, as it provides seven reasons why the billing process isn't likely to disappear any time soon.
Now, you might say that any billing vendor is going to say "Of course billing isn't dead!" and that's true enough -- Smith isn't going to write a blog agreeing that a major part of his business is about to disappear. But his response is compelling and it's hard to argue against his vision of a world where online real-time charging sits alongside traditional billing mechanisms as part of the CSP revenue assurance strategy.
This is a debate that has an impact on many other parts of the CSPs' businesses, from application development to marketing, to mobile packet core capability selection. Check out both sides of the debate, no matter what part of the comms ecosystem you're in.
— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading