I wrote this post in case if someone got interested on Telco Billing but they dont familiar with it's basic common glosarry in a telco billing environment. These cheat words will come in handy when you're in the middle of an interview :D for a billing position. At least it came to me during one of my interview :D
1. What is Rating ? Rating is a process to determine a cost for every event. This process involves the account system and the product catalog. Product catalog is a place where we store all product we sell (well, on this case, this will be all service we sell), including it's tariff. Imagine an online bookstore where they have a catalog containing what books they sell, and how much the price.
2. What is Charging ? Is a logical place where the Rating process takes place. Charging means deducting or adding your balance. When you use a data service from your cellular to download a song, they will do a rating process for that event, and they will charge you a cost, deducting from your balance. Talking about balance deducting, current IN/charging system usually have more than 1 pre-configured account that can be owned by a subscriber. Let's say main account, and dedicated account. Imagine this as a wallet, where you can store different types of money there. There are parts of money from your wallet used only to pay your SMS charge, and the other one is only to pay your Voice charge.
3. What is Re-rating ? Re-rating means recount your cost for post-rated events. This usually done for discount. Imagine a package, that offers you free 10 minutes call after your 100th minutes call duration. This means that after your call duration reaches 100 minutes, then another 10 minutes call will be free of charge.
4. What is Billing process? Ok, so billing means producing your invoices. Usually this is used for postpaid subscriber where they're charged in offline mode. Offline mode means not realtime, batch, bulk, you name it. This paradigm has became a key words for those Billing vendor offers a Convergence Billing solution. We will get this on next section. So how about prepaid subscriber, do they get billing invoice too ? well, no, at least not if it's not a convergence billing. Usually for prepaid subscriber, they only get bill invoices when they're doing top up for their balance. And also, the billing usually includes taxes. These taxes can be included during rating process, or only when the bill invoice produced.
5. What is Convergence Billing? There are so many definition for this. Convergence billing is a billing system designed for all service events, including their own characteristics, and at the end, it produces a convergence bill for all of your services. Today's GSM world has offered lots of services. 10 years before, we can never imagine how a cellular phone can bring us a very fast data services, video call, ring back tone, music downloads, etc. Those services has their own characteristics, and therefore, there's a need for a flexible billing system that can handle this. Current IN/Charging system only provide a simple way to charge a service. It might require a software upgrade everytime you sell a new service. And not to mention today's trend, the hybrid customer, where a postpaid customer can do top up for their account using prepaid vouchers. Convergence billing tries to answer this by giving at least few things below : a. One bill, for all types of services offered by the operators. b. An online and realtime system, without having to wait for new billing cycle arrived to know your bill. c. Easy to configure new service type, with it's own way-to-bill. This impacts on time to market for a new product. d. Lot more.
This glosarry is as far as I can understand or remember. Feel free to comment if you dont agree with my definition. I will be more than happy to get your input.
Then, have a nice interview :)