Accounting and Charging in 3G Networks: Comparative Analysis of the System Architecture
Although many charging models have been proposed over the last years (e.g. pre-paid / postpaid,
flat-rate, price per volume or price per minute), the Charging and Accounting
architectures have remained quite simple until now. The reason is that the 2G (second
generation) networks did not allow combining these charging models in order to provide a
flexible and scalable charging architecture.
The charging models proposed in 2G (e.g. Global System for Mobile communication, GSM)
and 2.5G (e.g. General Packet Radio Service, GPRS) networks will become inadequate for
charging the new value-added services which are emerging in 3G (e.g. Universal Mobile
Telecommunications System, UMTS) networks. Hence, the telecommunications industry
needs to find new charging criteria combining the actual use of the network, the amount of
reserved resources and the number of services used by a customer. Another issue is the
necessity of bringing closer both the users and the mobile operators points of view; whereas
mobile operators require flexible charging mechanisms for working with different charging
models at the same time (e.g. flat rate, per service, time-based and so on), users would like to
receive a single detailed and easy to understand bill. Furthermore, the convergence of mobile
IP communications and the Internet (the Internet Protocol is the element that bring them
together) is expected to alter the actual Charging and Accounting mechanisms.
These charging schemes will receive in the next years a large number of modifications and
improvements resulting of recent technological developments added to the emerging
dominance of the Internet Protocol. Providing flexible and scalable charging and accounting
systems will be essential for success in new telecommunication networks.
This Thesis aims at introducing and analysing charging and accounting mechanisms,
describing all the roles and interfaces throughout their processes, describing some
architectures of the market and trying to find solutions and conclusions for the development
of charging and accounting systems and in general of 3G networks.
José Luis Prieto Gajardo: Accounting and Charging in 3G Networks: Comparative Analysis of the System Architecture. Final Thesis, Wilhelm-Schickard-Institute for Computer Science, University of Tuebingen, May 2004.