In telecom billing, roaming has always managed to confuse both the customers and telecom services providers. Returning customers from their trips abroad are flummoxed about their bills being so high and telecom vendors are never too sure when the regulatory bodies will change their stance on roaming policies. Through a study done by uSwitch, it was discovered that almost 20% of UK residents who returned home after travelling to the EU thought their bills were unexpectedly high. Lack of transparency in the billing process is the single biggest reason for such doubts, which generally result in disputes. One way to eliminate this problem is by taking help from telecom billing companies that are capable of providing effective telecom software solutions.

What Is Roaming and How Does It Take Place?

Roaming comes into the picture when a subscriber uses telecom services outside the geographical coverage area of his telecom services provider. Depending on the movement of the customer, roaming can be of two types:

1. International roaming
2. National roaming

Roaming takes place when a mobile network operator does not have coverage in one particular area and makes a contractual agreement with another service provider in that area. When a subscriber moves into the non-coverage area (of his own service provider) and starts making or receiving calls, or using data, the contracted service provider starts collecting and rating Call Data Records (CDRs) and then sends it to the original service provider of the subscriber.

When the original service provider receives this data from its roaming partner, it applies the roaming charges based on the predefined contract that it has with its subscriber.

Important Elements of Roaming Process for Telecom Billing Companies

There are many elements in telecom that play a key role in the telecom billing process. Below is a list of key elements and their operations:
1. Clearing House – A clearing house is responsible for exchanging CDRs between the different roaming partners. It acts like an interface between the two partners and it is also tasked with resolving disputes.
2. VPMN (Visited Public Mobile Network) – is the mobile operator whose services are used by a subscriber while roaming.
3. HPMN (Home Public Mobile Network) – is the network from which the roaming customer has his subscription.
4. Transferred Account Procedure version 3 (TAP3) – It is a process that lets the VPMN send billing records to HPMN.

The above mentioned elements are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the vast ocean of telecom roaming services. Managing the data transfer between these different elements can be a major headache for any telecom operator. Any mistake done in calculating or invoicing roaming charges can have huge repercussions in the longer run (as the charges incurred while national and international roaming are considerably high).

To ensure that all the roaming transactions are handled with great care and due diligence, a telecom services provider should seriously contemplate taking the help of telecom billing companies. There are many effective telecom software solutions available in the market that can streamline the process of billing roaming charges. As all telecom businesses are different, it makes good business to employ telecom billing companies that offer tailor-made solutions that address their unique business requirements.

Author's Bio: 

I john martine freelance content writer. I have written many article on the topic of telecom billing software, oss billing solutions , bss billing solutions and many more.