This chapter provides an overview of rating roaming usage using Oracle Communications Billing and Revenue Management (BRM) TAP Roaming Manager.
Note:TAP Roaming Manager is an optional feature that requires a separate license.
Before reading this document, you should be familiar with the following topics:
Pipeline rating. See "About Pipeline Rating" in BRM Configuring Pipeline Rating and Discounting.
BRM concepts. See "Introducing BRM" in BRM Concepts.
Roaming is the ability of a wireless network operator to provide services to mobile customers from another wireless network. For example, when a mobile customer makes a call from outside his home network, roaming allows him to access the same wireless services that he has with his home network provider through a visited wireless network operator.
A roaming agreement between the home network operator and the visited network operator defines the terms that enable each other's customers access to the wireless networks. The visited network operator records the activities performed by the roaming subscriber and then sends the call event details to the home network operator in the format agreed upon in the roaming agreement, usually Transferred Account Procedure (TAP) format. TAP is the process that allows a visited network operator to send call event detail records of roaming subscribers to their respective home network operators to be able to bill for the subscriber's roaming usage.
When the visited network operator sends a TAP file to the home network operator, after the initial TAP file is received, the home network operator expects more TAP files from the visited network operator.
If the visited network operator does not provide the TAP files for seven calendar days, the home network operator sends the Stop Return Returned Account Procedure (RAP) files to alert and notify the visited network operator that the TAP files have not been received for the last seven days.
Note:The Stop Return RAP file is generated only if the home network operator has previously received, at a minimum, one TAP file from the visited network operator.
The Stop Return RAP file is generated every seven days, until a TAP file is received from the visited network operator.
The home network operator validates the data in the TAP files to ensure that it conforms to the TAP standard and to the terms of the roaming agreement. If the received TAP file contains any errors, the home network operator can reject the entire file or only the incorrect call event detail records. The incorrect file or records are returned to the visited network operator in a Returned Account Procedure (RAP) file.
RAP process is used to return rejected TAP files and records to the visited network operator for corrections. A RAP file contains the rejected TAP file or records and additional data about the error, such as the error code or the error cause. The visited network operator corrects the errors and sends the corrected TAP file back to the home network operator.
The visited network operator bills the home network operator for the roaming subscriber's usage using a rate agreed upon in the roaming agreement. The home network operator settles the charges with the visited network operator as part of the settlement process.
The home network operator then aggregates the roaming charges and bills its own subscribers for their usage in the visited network.
TAP Roaming Manager supports TAP3 format. With TAP Roaming Manager, you can do the following:
When your subscribers (home subscribers) make calls on another network, the other network operator rates their calls and sends you an invoice along with the call event details for the calls. You can charge your subscribers for their roaming usage, and settle the charges with the other network operator. In this case, you use TAP Roaming Manager to perform incollect processing. See "About Roaming Incollect Processing".
When customers from another network (visiting subscribers) use your network, you can rate those calls. In this case, you use TAP Roaming Manager to perform outcollect processing. See "About Roaming Outcollect Processing".
Use the settlement process to settle incollect and outcollect settlement. See "About Settling Roaming Charges".
You use roaming incollect processing to process TAP files that you receive from visited network operators. When your subscribers roam on a visited wireless network, the visited network operator records any activities that your subscribers perform on the visited network and sends you a TAP file describing your subscribers' call details and the charges for these activities.
Roaming incollect processing involves:
Validating information in the TAP files to make sure there are no errors and all required call detail information is present. See "About Validating Roaming Usage Data".
Rating or repricing the call event detail records in the TAP files so that you can bill your subscribers for their roaming usage. See "About Repricing Roaming Usage Events".
Handling errors in TAP files and sending them back to the visited network for corrections. See "About Handling Rejected TAP Files".
Performing settlement activities for your subscribers' roaming charges you received from the visited network operator. See "About Settling Roaming Charges".
Generating the Stop Return RAP files and sending them to the visited network operators who have not provided the TAP files for seven calendar days. See "About Generating Stop Return RAP Files" for more information.
Validation of roaming usage data involves validating the TAP file and information in the call event detail records to ensure they conform to the GSM TD 57 specifications and to the terms of the roaming agreement. This includes:
Checking for correct syntax.
Checking that all mandatory fields are present and contain the correct data.
Verifying batch information such as total charges and total number of records.
Checking that the files are received in the correct order.
To validate the TAP file, the following types of validations are performed:
TAP3 fatal error validation
TAP3 fatal error validation is performed first to ensure all required data is present and valid. For example, if the TAP file is missing a required block, the entire file is rejected and written to a RAP file.
TAP3 severe error validation
TAP3 severe error validation is performed if fatal error validation is successful. TAP records are validated to check for incorrect or missing reference data or content. For example, if a TAP record is missing a required field, the record is rejected and written to a RAP file, but all other TAP records in the file are processed.
When your subscribers use a roaming partner's network to access wireless services, the roaming partner network operator tracks their activities and rates the usage based on rates agreed upon in the roaming agreement between you and your roaming partner. Call event details received from your roaming partner network operators normally contain a charge for your subscribers' roaming usage based on this rate. This charge, referred to as the incollect roaming charge, is what you owe your roaming partner for your subscribers' usage of their wireless network.
You can choose to accept the charges passed in by your roaming partner and use them to bill your subscribers or you can reprice or mark up the records based on your subscribers' roaming subscription plan or retail rate.
Repricing includes a combination of prerating, rating, post-rating, discounting, and recycling activities. The rated records are then loaded into the subscriber's account in the BRM database to impact the subscriber's account balance.
You use the Stop RAP Generator pipeline to generate Stop Return RAP files.
Important:Ensure that you set up the Stop RAP Generator pipeline to generate Stop Return RAP files. See "Configuring the Stop RAP Generator Pipeline" for more information.
To generate Stop Return RAP files, use the Stop RAP Generator pipeline in conjunction with the StopRapGen utility. The StopRapGen utility collects the information required by the Stop RAP Generator pipeline to generate the Stop Return RAP files. Therefore, ensure that the output directory of the flat file generated by the StopRapGen utility is the same as the input directory for the Stop RAP Generator pipeline.
When you run the StopRapGen utility in conjunction with the Stop RAP Generator pipeline, Stop Return RAP files are created for the following:
TAP files that were received by BRM and stored in the database more than seven days ago
Stop Return RAP files that were sent more than seven days ago to the visited network operator
Additionally, the timestamp for when the Stop Return RAP file was sent is updated in the database.
See "StopRapGen" in BRM Configuring Pipeline Rating and Discounting for more information on the StopRapGen utility.
You use roaming outcollect processing to track and rate activities of subscribers from other wireless networks that roam on your network. Outcollect processing allows you to rate the visiting subscribers' roaming usage using InterCarrier Tariff rates and generate TAP files consisting of the visiting subscriber's call event detail records, which you send to your roaming partners along with an invoice to bill them for their subscribers' roaming usage.
Roaming outcollect processing involves:
Splitting the call detail records (CDRs) from home subscribers and visiting subscribers. See "About Splitting Home CDRs from Visiting Subscribers' CDRs".
Rating the visiting subscribers' roaming CDRs using InterCarrier Tariff rates specified in the roaming agreements and generating TAP files for each roaming partner. See "About Rating Visiting Subscribers' Roaming CDRs".
Handling errors in TAP files returned back to you from your roaming partner for corrections. See "About Handling Rejected TAP Files".
Performing settlement activities for charges accrued by the visiting subscribers on your network. See "About Settling Roaming Charges".
Some CDRs that you receive from the network switches are generated by your subscribers and some by visiting subscribers. The splitting process analyzes the CDRs and splits them into separate streams so that they can be rated by the appropriate rating pipeline.
The rating pipeline processes the CDRs generated by your own subscribers.
The outcollect rating pipeline processes the CDRs generated by visiting subscribers.
The outcollect rating process rates the visiting subscribers' roaming CDRs based on the InterCarrier Tariff rates agreed upon between you and your roaming partners in the respective roaming agreements. This charge, referred to as the outcollect roaming charge, is what your roaming partner owes you for their subscribers' usage of your wireless network.
If your roaming partners find errors in the TAP files, they reject the file or records and send them back to you in a RAP file for corrections.
TAP files are validated by roaming partner network operators to ensure the data in the files are correct. TAP files and records that are rejected are sent to a RAP file.
When you send TAP files with visiting subscribers' call event detail records to your roaming partner, your roaming partner generates RAP files consisting of the TAP files or call event detail records with errors and sends them back to you for corrections. RAP files received from your roaming partners are processed during outcollect processing.
When your roaming partner sends you TAP files with your subscribers' call event detail records, you generate RAP files consisting of the TAP files or call event detail records with errors and send them back to your roaming partner for corrections. RAP files to be sent to your roaming partners are generated during incollect processing.
RAP files are generated according to the GSM TD 32 specifications and includes information such as the receiving network operator of the RAP file; an error code indicating a fatal, severe, or missing error; the rejected TAP file or call event detail records; and the RAP file sequence number.
The RAP file error code is determined as follows:
If there are errors in the TAP file, a fatal error RAP file is created consisting of the TAP file.
If the TAP file has a sequence number that is greater than the one expected, a missing error RAP file is created indicating the missing files.
If there are errors in the TAP records, a severe error RAP file is created consisting of only the rejected records.
For more information on TD 32 specifications, visit the GSMA Web site at:
Roaming partner network operators bill each other for the roaming activities of their subscribers using a process known as settlement. Two activities occur during settlement:
Your roaming partner network operators bill you for your subscribers' usage of their wireless network. This is referred to as incollect settlement.
You bill your roaming partner network operators for their subscribers' usage of your wireless network. This is referred to as outcollect settlement.
Settlement events are not rated during the settlement process; instead, the event balance impacts are loaded into the BRM database for settlement.
For each roaming partner network operator, a network operator account is created in the Pipeline Manager database and a corresponding roaming partner account is created in the BRM database. The network operator configuration in the Pipeline Manager database stores product and rate information used to rate and reprice roaming events. The roaming partner account in the BRM database stores the incollect and outcollect settlement balance impacts used to bill the accounts.
When you run billing, for each roaming partner account, BRM billing opcodes read the settlement data and generate a bill for the total incollect charge amount (what you owe) and another bill for the total outcollect charge amount (what they owe). The amount that you owe your roaming partner network operator is the difference between the two.
Near Real-Time Roaming Data Exchange (NRTRDE) is the exchange of roaming usage data between roaming partners in near real time. Exchanging roaming usage data in near real time enables network operators to monitor roaming usages frequently and to detect any fraudulent behavior and take necessary actions to minimize revenue loss. For example, network operators may decide to deny or limit access to subscribers that have exceeded their daily usage threshold (fraud limit).
You can set up Pipeline Manager for generating roaming usage data for NRTRDE. Once you have set up Pipeline Manager as required, you can run roaming NRTRDE reports. See "Detecting Roaming Fraud Using NRTRDE" for more information.