When it comes to managing the data that is created and used by your telecoms systems, it can be hard work to ensure that rules and policies are enforced correctly. Traditionally telcos have used systems that bolt onto their networks to handle this data, and that has caused a certain amount of difficulty properly integrating the policy charging and rules functionality on those networks.
Policy Charging and Rules Functionality (PCRF)
PCRF is now available as a single software module that integrates with the heart of a telecommunications network to deliver data management in a much more straightforward process. It is able to connect to and access the full subscriber database for a network as well as accurately manage the functionality which applies to that database. That means that charging can then be handled centrally by the network in real-time.
Real-time data management is the key benefit of approaching PCRF in this manner – it enables network managers to make decisions on the fly and ensure that the analysis of usage is always current.
How does this work?
The PCRF software module forms part of the network architecture. It can then take information from a variety of sources on that network and aggregate that to form a single repository of data. So for example it can access OSS, BSS, network portals, etc. in a timely fashion and then apply policies based on the data that generates. Those policies can be applied at the subscriber level which means that there’s no need for generic policies with no flexibility – each customer can be treated as an individual and their accounts tightly managed against a range of criteria such as credit ratings, usage patterns, etc.
The service is completely network agnostic and it functions equally well in fixed-line environments as it does in mobile environments. It’s also possible to manage quad-play and triple-play services so operators can develop sophisticated offerings and ensure that policies reflect a user’s access to all their services rather than handle them in discrete units. This means that telcos can increase their margins without compromising on their overall service approach.