Operations Management Articles

A Beginner’s Guide to Choosing Telecom Billing Software

by Gitanjali Maria
Published on 24 November 2016

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Telecom billing is a potential deathtrap for your business. Seriously. Whether you're a telecommunications startup or a large provider if you get your billing wrong you'll face the wrath of your customers - be that inundating you with complaint calls or, worse still, flooding your social media pages with nasty comments.

A legacy billing system may also spoil your chances of quickly launching a new service to get ahead of the competition. But don't worry too much, a telecom billing software solution can soothe your anxieties and help you bill accurately for your services.

In this article, we'll cover all the basics of telecom billing software: what it is, if it's necessary for your company, what features to look for when buying, and offer some examples of popular telecom billing software.

What is telecom billing software?

Telecom billing includes the entire process of collecting data usage information, applying necessary usage and rental charges, calculating the billable amount, generating invoices, processing payments, and managing debt collection.

Telecom billing software automates the telecom billing process, helping you reduce costs and improve accuracy. The solution helps VoIP companies, mobile wireless communication providers, telephone service providers, cable and satellite TV companies, internet service providers, and other players in the telecom industry manage their billing operations.

Does my business really need telecom billing software?

A study by brite:bill found erroneous billing as one of the main causes for customer churn, with one in three users believing that their mobile operator doesn't care about individual billing issues.

Billing needs to be accurate and timely. Otherwise, you'll have to face angry customers and you could be faced with a reduction in your revenue and market share.

Here are three questions to ask yourself to find out if your business is ready to invest in a telecom billing software:

  • Do you offer multiple services that need to be priced differentially? Do you frequently add new services to the market? The billing system should be capable of handling different services, their rating mechanisms and pricing.
  • How complex are your services? Do you offer bundled packages of data, voice, text and VoIP in a single product that has both pre-paid and post-paid options? There are many complex billing scenarios that cannot be handled manually or even by simple algorithms or tools like spreadsheets.
  • Do you revise your tariff structure periodically? You may need to introduce new telecom plans to suit your customers' changing data and call usage patterns. An outdated billing system may not be able to cope with these frequent tariff changes.

What to look for in telecom billing software

There are plenty of telecom billing software solutions available in the market, and it's important that you're careful when you're choosing. Having a clear idea about your requirements will make it easier to choose the one that best suits your need.

  • Will you go for a cloud-based or an on-premise software? Or will you settle for a hybrid solution? SaaS billing models allows telecom operators to support new services, enable the integration of multiple systems, and enter new markets.
  • Will you be able to integrate it with your existing CRM , order management and ERP software? A billing software that supports third-party integrations can gather information from these systems for accurate billing. Integration with payment gateways allows online payment processing options.
  • Will you go for a software that not only provides billing functionalities but also offers additional features in network management, service provisioning, usage collection or service assurance? Then, a better option would be Operations Support System/Business Support System (OSS/BSS) software suites that offer combined functionalities.
  • Will the software be regularly updated to meet your changing business needs and as per the latest industry regulations? Will the software continue to remain compatible even if you upgrade your hardware?
  • Will your employees be able to adapt to the system easily with minimal training? A steep learning curve may require significant time investments on trainings that can lead to an increased implementation time. Some vendors charge additional fees for training and installation as well.
  • What pricing options are available? Telecom billing software is generally available with two pricing models: One-time license and Subscription-based. In a one-time license model, users make an upfront, one-time payment for the purchase of the licenses and own them forever. In a subscription-based model, users buy software for a specific duration at a set price. Subscription-based pricing is prominent in cloud-based offerings, while on-premise solutions are usually available with one-time licensing model. With an on-premise solution, users also need to purchase software updates and upgrades.

Essential features

Once you answered all the questions above, you'll want to start thinking about features. Here's what you can typically expect to find in telecom billing software:

List of key features of telecom billing software

Examples of popular telecom billing software

To give you a head-start, here's an overview of three of the most popular telecom billing software solutions.

Hydra Telecom Billing - Hydra is a billing software for internet service providers, telephone service companies, and television and satellite communication providers. It offers various billing features including recurring payments, discount coupons, reporting and analytics. Hydra integrates with over 30 software services and supports over 60 hardware and software platforms, including PBX, BRAS, CAS, and network switches. The open API allows third-party software to connect with Hydra, create custom reports, and perform bulk processing operations.

Price : $300 per month

Screenshot of Hydra Telecom Billing

Hydra Telecom Billing

BluLogix - BluLogix is a multi-tenant telecom billing software that has a fully embedded real-time rating engine for managing different usage types. The software can integrate with third-party accounting systems, tax engines, networks and payment gateways. It can also help manage credits, refunds and adjustments. The tool supports platform providers, mobile resellers, VARs, MSP/IT services and IoT providers.

Price : $500 per month

screenshot of BlueLogix

BlueLogix

Rev.io - Rev.io is a telecom billing and back-office management solution that supports real-time rating, recurring billing, mediation, and tax calculation for various plan types including prepaid, postpaid and business plans. Its dashboard and reporting features provide a real-time overview of business metrics such as order summary, accounts receivables, and customer churn.

Price : Available on request

screenshot of rev.io

Rev.io

What to do next

Start by checking out GetApp's directory of telecom billing software, to get a feel for the options.

For a more detailed look at the popular players in the telecom billing software market, browse through our comparison page and see how these solutions stack up in terms of features, integrations, mobile support, online presence, and pricing.

We'd love to hear about the billing software that your business is using right now. Go ahead and leave a review on GetApp.


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