Roaming Billing & Settlements

The CapSettle Roaming solution is used for handling roaming billing and settlements between international and national operators, MVNOs, and service providers. The solution supports administration and maintenance of roaming agreements, encoding and decoding of outgoing and incoming TAP and RAP files, reports generation and invoicing. It also provides support for fraud prevention functionality, known as Near Real Time Roaming Data Exchange (NRTRDE) and new functionality such as support for Alternative Roaming Providers (ARP) as required by EU Roaming Regulations III and exchange of roaming agreements (RAEX). The solution handles multiple currencies in parallel and keeps the exchange rate up to date according to the defined rules specified by the GSM Association in document BA.11.

CapSettle is the only solution necessary to configure complex business models as required by individual operators as well as roaming hubs and groups of operator companies.

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Incoming files

Files can come from many different sources. The most common file type for CapSettle Roaming is CDRs from the network containing transaction data from inbound roamers, and incoming TAP, RAP and NRTRDE files from the partner network for outbound roamers.

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Event Collection

There are file collectors for many types of file types and different devices. Each collector in CapSettle is schedulable with a frequency down to one (1) second and assigned with resources.

Typical collectors in CapSettle for roaming billing are:
File collectors – collects any file from the specified path as configured in the setup. This is then mapped towards a specific file format verifying that all necessary information is present in the file or correct as specified in the agreement. The two most commonly used file types here are ASCII formatted xDRs (normally mediated call detail records) and ASN.1 BER formatted files (normally incoming TAP/RAP/NRTRDE files).

Suspense collectors – allows the specific job flow to schedule and collect corrected files from the suspense tables for re-processing.

Re-rate collectors – collects files affected by a re-rating procedure in CapSettle.

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Rating

Dependent on what has been collected, different rules might be applied. When e.g. an xDR is collected rules are executed to normalize and classify the xDR field data. Dependent on the classification, a new set of rules are executed. This time the rules might enrich the data against a ported number database and also validate the data against the internal reference data in CapSettle such as roaming agreements, prices or specific service packages.

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Roaming Settlements

The Roaming module in CapSettle handle all types of roaming settlements and partner management between international and national operators, MVNOs and service providers. All agreements between partners, roaming, nrtrde, specific discount agreements and the exchange of agreements using RAEX is handled. The CapSettle Roaming module covers all GSM roaming formats for correct rating and billing of transaction data and can be specified per format type down to individual partner and TAP version.

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Interfaces

CapSettle provides an interfacing module through its internal export interface. This opens up for interface possibilities to any upstream or downstream system. The information stored in CapSettle is highly flexible and is a combination of configurable traffic data and configurable reference data, all available for interfacing.

Interface examples:

  • Mediation
  • Data export interface
  • Number portability database
  • Financial interface
  • Data & Finanical clearing
  • Data warehouse
  • CRM & Billing
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Aggregation

CapSettle aggregate data as it is being processed into the CapSettle database stucture which contains several aggregation levels such as daily, period, statement and invoice level. In this way the user can follow how the statement/invoice grows as more transactions are contributing.

For CapSettle roaming, it is possible to see the sum in different currencies on different aggregation levels for all roaming data. divided by TAP file or partner.

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Distribution

CapSettle can distribute internally to a database or a file system as well as to external databases or file systems or disks. For CapSettle roaming, TAP files will be generated at a configurable level (for instance every 60 minutes), they are then ready to be distributed to either directly to a roaming partner or a data clearing house. NRTRDE files are generated every 15 minutes.

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Exception Handling

In case an error is found during the validation of an xDR for any reason, it will be put in a dedicated location for suspense handling. The error can occur due to faulty or missing data in the record, or faulty/missing configuration of the CapSettle solution.
The suspended files are accessed through the user interface in the suspense perspective. Here, operators will get an instant overview of how many files that are in suspense divided by job (traffic flows) and what the cause of the issue is.

CapSettle also have RAP support for rejected account procedures which is the GSMA standard method of settle issues with TAP files.

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Rule engine / Decision table

The rule engine is the heart of CapSettle. This is where the logic for the entire transaction flow from collection to distribution is handled. Verification, normalization and conversion into system variables takes place during the pre-processing phase and is then used during the rating phase.

The rule engine is extremly flexible and adapts efficiently by its modular approach to new formats and other customer demands, including customized functionality. The CapSettle rule engine can enrich and transform your data in any way you want.

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CapSettle allows true re-rating and re-pricing on all levels in the system since the system never manipulate the original file and it is only processed by a single solution.

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Re-processing functionality can be used for multiple of reasons. One can be that an operator needs to markup incoming TAP files and then distribute them to MVNOs or add additional taxes. All of this is possible with the re-processing functionality in CapSettle.

How it works

Incoming files

Files can come from many different sources. The most common file type for CapSettle Roaming is CDRs from the network containing transaction data from inbound roamers, and incoming TAP, RAP and NRTRDE files from the partner network for outbound roamers.

Event Collection

There are file collectors for many types of file types and different devices. Each collector in CapSettle is schedulable with a frequency down to one (1) second and assigned with resources.

Typical collectors in CapSettle for roaming billing are:
File collectors – collects any file from the specified path as configured in the setup. This is then mapped towards a specific file format verifying that all necessary information is present in the file or correct as specified in the agreement. The two most commonly used file types here are ASCII formatted xDRs (normally mediated call detail records) and ASN.1 BER formatted files (normally incoming TAP/RAP/NRTRDE files).

Suspense collectors – allows the specific job flow to schedule and collect corrected files from the suspense tables for re-processing.

Re-rate collectors – collects files affected by a re-rating procedure in CapSettle.

Rating

Dependent on what has been collected, different rules might be applied. When e.g. an xDR is collected rules are executed to normalize and classify the xDR field data. Dependent on the classification, a new set of rules are executed. This time the rules might enrich the data against a ported number database and also validate the data against the internal reference data in CapSettle such as roaming agreements, prices or specific service packages.

Roaming Settlements

The Roaming module in CapSettle handle all types of roaming settlements and partner management between international and national operators, MVNOs and service providers. All agreements between partners, roaming, nrtrde, specific discount agreements and the exchange of agreements using RAEX is handled. The CapSettle Roaming module covers all GSM roaming formats for correct rating and billing of transaction data and can be specified per format type down to individual partner and TAP version.

Interfaces

CapSettle provides an interfacing module through its internal export interface. This opens up for interface possibilities to any upstream or downstream system. The information stored in CapSettle is highly flexible and is a combination of configurable traffic data and configurable reference data, all available for interfacing.

Interface examples:

  • Mediation
  • Data export interface
  • Number portability database
  • Financial interface
  • Data & Finanical clearing
  • Data warehouse
  • CRM & Billing

Aggregation

CapSettle aggregate data as it is being processed into the CapSettle database structure which contains several aggregation levels such as daily, period, statement and invoice level. In this way the user can follow how the statement/invoice grows as more transactions are contributing.

For CapSettle roaming, it is possible to see the sum in different currencies on different aggregation levels for all roaming data. divided by TAP file or partner.

Distribution

CapSettle can distribute internally to a database or a file system as well as to external databases or file systems or disks. For CapSettle roaming, TAP files will be generated at a configurable level (for instance every 60 minutes), they are then ready to be distributed to either directly to a roaming partner or a data clearing house. NRTRDE files are generated every 15 minutes.

Exception Handling

In case an error is found during the validation of an xDR for any reason, it will be put in a dedicated location for suspense handling. The error can occur due to faulty or missing data in the record, or faulty/missing configuration of the CapSettle solution.
The suspended files are accessed through the user interface in the suspense perspective. Here, operators will get an instant overview of how many files that are in suspense divided by job (traffic flows) and what the cause of the issue is.

CapSettle also have RAP support for rejected account procedures which is the GSMA standard method of settle issues with TAP files.

Rule engine / Decision table

The rule engine is the heart of CapSettle. This is where the logic for the entire transaction flow from collection to distribution is handled. Verification, normalization and conversion into system variables takes place during the pre-processing phase and is then used during the rating phase.

The rule engine is extremely flexible and adapts efficiently by its modular approach to new formats and other customer demands, including customized functionality. The CapSettle rule engine can enrich and transform your data in any way you want.

Re-Rating

CapSettle allows true re-rating and re-pricing on all levels in the system since the system never manipulate the original file and it is only processed by a single solution.

Re-processing

Re-processing functionality can be used for multiple of reasons. One can be that an operator needs to markup incoming TAP files and then distribute them to MVNOs or add additional taxes. All of this is possible with the re-processing functionality in CapSettle.

Selected Roaming Features

TAP

Transferred Account Procedure (TAP) for Inbound Roaming

TAP files will be generated based on the agreement setup per partner. In CapSettle the user can configure down to partner level what TAP version to use (2x-3x up to 3.12), what services to include (SMS, GPRS, VOICE, LTE, CAMEL, SSE etc.) and how often the TAP files should generate.

Once generated, the TAP files will automatically be placed on the server (user defined path) and then sent either directly to a partner operator or to an external source such as a data clearing house.
Should any of the services in the agreement be set to test status, then the traffic for these specific services will be flagged as a test file and CapSettle will generate a test file (TD) instead of a charged file (CD).

Transferred Account Procedures (TAP) for Outbound Roaming

Incoming TAP files can be collected either directly from a partner operator or from an external source such as a data clearing house. The files will be collected and decoded based on the agreement configuration and the rules defined for this traffic flow in CapSettle. CapSettle can decode all GSMA standardized formats.

RAP

Rejected Account Procedure (RAP) for Inbound Roaming

If there is anything that does not validate in the operators outgoing TAP-files, the operator will receive an incoming RAP file, (RAP-IN). RAP-IN files will be decoded by CapSettle. The content of the RAP-IN files will be sent to the suspense perspective which is CapSettle’s single interface for all suspense and error handling.

All rejected data will be shown in the RAP editor (similar to the suspended records view). In the RAP editor, it will be possible to analyze and reprocess the rejected transactions in three different ways:

  1. Re-send the complete TAP OUT after re-process (if the RAP file was sent due to a fatal error).
  2. Re-send a single transaction in the next TAP OUT file (if the RAP file was sent due to a severe error).
  3. Mark the transactions as deleted.

Rejected Account Procedure (RAP) for Outbound Roaming

RAP-OUT files are generated based on incoming TAP-files from the operator’s partners. Should a TAP-file contain a fatal error, then a RAP file will be generated for the entire TAP file. Should a TAP-file contain one or more Call Events with error level Severe, than those individual call events will be sent in a RAP-file.

TAP-IN files are received and decoded by CapSettle. Various validations will be done to all information within the TAP-file. If any issue occur during validation that is a cause for RAP, either a single transaction or the entire file will be rejected and a RAP file created.

CapSettle will do IOT check and generate RAP OUT files with indications of differences between the values of charging, calculated by partner operator (received in TAP IN files) and calculated by the operator’s roaming system – CapSettle). CapSettle will automatically send acknowledgement file of incoming TAP files to the affected partner.

RAEX

Roaming Agreement Exchange (RAEX)

RAEX is the process of updating and exchanging partner information and Inter Operator Tariffs – IOT.
RAEX in CapSettle integrates the CapSettle interface with GSMA Infocentre2 for both RAEX OpData (BA.19 and TD.77) and RAEX IOT (BA.29 and TD.67). It allows operators to store and maintain RAEX OpData and RAEX IOT information in CapSettle as well as create and edit RAEX files.

CapSettle support up to one agreement per operator. In the case of bilaterally agreed tariffs, it is possible for each partner to store one RAEX IOT for inbound and one RAEX IOT for outbound, unless the partner uses the default IOT.
In CapSettle, both RAEX IOT and RAEX OpData will be stored on a partner level, where partner information and roaming agreements can be imported/exported using GSMA standards TD.67 and TD.77. RAEX IOT can, besides ensuring correct partner tariffing, be used for IOT checking on outbound roaming.

ARP

Alternative Roaming Providers (ARP)

From the 1st of July 2014, the new EU regulations III became active. The new regulations set by the European Commission, will allow retail mobile customers to purchase roaming services (such as voice, SMS and data) from an Alternative Roaming Provider (ARP) separate from their domestic service provider (DSP), without affecting either mobile number or device. The process of selecting an ARP and its services while abroad within EU is more commonly known as decoupling or separate sale of roaming services.

Decoupling using Single IMSI

With the Single IMSI solution the ARP will engage in agreements with each domestic operator providing domestic services, then the ARP will act as a reseller of these services to the roaming subscriber. This type of solution is applicable for all types of service providers such as mobile network operators, MVNOs or VSPs. From a subscriber standpoint, they will have a roaming agreement with the ARP regardless of the DSP and the DSP is required to activate services within one working day.

Decoupling using Local Breakout

The Local breakout model refers to local provisioning of data services only, where the services is provided directly on the visited network and traditional SMS and voice traffic is supplied by the home operator in traditional roaming manner. By using the 3GPP option for local breakouts, the VPMN will be able to act as ARP for internet access and other data services.

With these new regulatory changes, there is a higher demand on flexibility in billing systems. Support for more complex multi-partner business models for ARP and MVNO is necessary for both billing and financial settlement activities. CapSettle offer full support for the Domestic Service Provider (DSP) and Alternative Roaming Provider relationship. CapSettle, has always supported multi-partner agreements for billing and settlements between MNO, MVNO, VSP and/or complex revenue share scenarios. For us, this is nothing new and we have a lot of experience and examples of customers who are using our solution for this.

NRTRDE

Near Real Time Roaming Data Exchange (NRTRDE)

NRTRDE is a GSMA initiative used to prevent roaming fraud by exchanging roaming records in near real time. Our CapSettle NRTRDE solution allows mobile operators to generate and decode incoming and outgoing NRTRDE files in accordance to the GSMA TD.35 specification and provide a complete overview of anomalies in the network.

For more information: go to our NRTRDE page.

Roaming Billing Quick Facts

  • Complete end-2-end roaming solution
  • Follows GSMA roadmap
  • Handle TAP, RAP and NRTRDE files
  • Support for RAEX
  • EU Roaming Regulation III compliant
  • Multi-home support for roaming hub scenarios
Henning Lagerbielke

Henning Lagerbielke

Head of Sales & Business Development

Tel: +46 (0) 763 37 53 96
Mail: Roaming Contact