In a market driven by unrelenting demand for bandwidth, data and consumer applications, Network Service Providers (NSPs) are at the helm of technological development – often pioneering new and innovative products and services.
To retain existing clients, attract new subscribers and boost revenue streams, NSP’s today also find themselves courting relationships with third party service providers driven by the scent of a rapidly growing market for mobile solutions.
This, says Philip Stander, managing director of telecommunications solutions provider GlobeTOM, is where agile convergent billing platforms play a pivotal role.
“Without a secure pre- and post-paid convergent billing gateway, third party service providers will find the revenue assurance aspect of the mobile market quite complex and challenging,” explains Stander.
The solution is a transparent billing system designed to track multiple billing transactions from various third party providers.
“Convergent billing and revenue assurance in this sense, is as important to third party service providers and NSP’s as a watertight tax collection process is to a government,” he says.
This was the challenge facing Sanlam Health when it joined one of Africa’s largest Network Service Providers to offer mobile health services to large, undeveloped areas in Africa.
To make the project viable, Sanlam Health needed a fair and transparent convergent billing platform to process detailed accounts. Its solution, after evaluating international offerings, was a pre- and post-paid convergent billing gateway called GP3, developed and rolled out locally by GlobeTOM.
“Although we initially evaluated many different and international convergent billing gateways, we opted for GlobeTOM because it has a strong and proven local presence,” says Charl Marais, Sanlam Health General Manager: Business Development.
“Apart from sharing our ethics and values, GlobeTOM shares our belief that mobile applications will shape the ICT industry over the next growth phase in the mobile environment,” he adds. “The company is also big enough to deploy a solution that is world class, but small enough to look after us; they care about our vision and concerns.”
The implementation of the Sanlam mHealth billing gateway proceeds from an agreement signed with GlobeTOM earlier this year to expand Sanlam’s mHealth services into under-developed areas in Africa characterised by high mobile network penetration.
“Through ‘close partnering’ we were able to offer Sanlam Health a subscriber management and revenue assurance solution that met all their specifications and requirements – convergence, next generation integration, a tight deadline and a local presence,” says Stander.
“We are, in that sense, future proofing their convergent mHealth solution with a NSP billing technology abstraction service. It is the ideal solution for a variety of emerging green field services,” he adds.
Further billing gateway applications include services such as insurance and prepaid distribution.
“What they get is a single interface for their business service delivery billing irrespective of the network needed to integrate and deliver the service. The GP3 platform is network agnostic; an ideal platform for service delivery across coexistent but competing networks. It really is a win-win solution for all concerned,” concludes Stander.
GlobeTOM is an ICT company specialising in software development and systems integration. GlobeTOM develops sustainable products and solutions that span convergent billing, network management, loyalty management, WASP technology and business intelligence. GlobeTOM has also developed its own service oriented architecture (SOA) framework that can be applied to any industry for platform development and cloud enablement and is the underlying framework for all of GlobeTOM’s products.
GlobeTOM has deep specialisation as a telecommunications industry product developer and systems integrator, and has been supplying mission-critical software development and support services to two of South Africa’s major network providers since the early 2000’s.
About Sanlam mHealth
Sanlam Health diversification into mHealth markets into the under-developed markets of Africa includes –
• Top-of the range delivery of healthcare products and services with a stress on healthcare education and support
• Referrals to a doctor, pharmacy or other service provider if need be
• Testing and delivering innovative healthcare products and solutions for a NHI environment.
GlobeTOM’s GP3 platform is a complete out-of-the-box pre and post-paid convergent gateway billing engine that offers –
• Subscriber Management – provision subscribers from a master repository or as a component of the overall provisioning chain.
• Voucher Management – manage prepaid voucher batch generation and full voucher life-cycle management.
On-board balance management
• Rating Engine & Rate Plan (Tariff Administrator) – web-based rate plan administration, real-time session and event-based charging and account balance management.
• Revenue Assurance – the generation of highly configurable Charging Data Records.