A framework to provide charging for third party composite services

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

Over the past few years the trend in the telecommunications industry has been geared towards offering new and innovative services to end users. A decade ago network operators were content with offering simple services such as voice and text messaging. However, they began to notice that these services were generating lower revenues even while the number of subscribers increased. This was a direct result of the market saturation and network operators were forced to rapidly deploy services with minimum capital investment and while maximising revenue from service usage by end users. Network operators can achieve this by exposing the network to external content and service providers. They would create interfaces that would allow these 3rd party service and content providers to offer their applications and services to users. Composing and bundling of these services will essentially create new services for the user and achieve rapid deployment of enhanced services. The concept of offering a wide range of services that are coordinated in such a way that they deliver a unique experience has sparked interest and numerous research on Service Delivery Platforms (SDP). SDP‟s will enable network operators to be able to develop and offer a wide-variety service set. Given this interest on SDP standardisation bodies such as International Telecommunications Union – Telecommunications (ITU-T), Telecoms and Internet converged Servicers and Protocols for Advanced Networks) (TISPAN), 3rd Generations Partnership Project (3GPP) and Open Mobile Alliance (OMA) are leading efforts into standardising functions and protocols to enhance service delivery by network operators. Obtaining revenue from these services requires effective accounting of service usage and requires mechanisms for billing and charging of these services. The IP Multimedia subsystem(IMS) is a Next Generation Network (NGN) architecture that provides a platform for which multimedia services can be developed and deployed by network operators. The IMS provides network operators, both fixed or mobile, with a control layer that allows them to offer services that will enable them to remain key role players within the industry. Achieving this in an environment where the network operator interacts directly with the 3rd party service providers may become complicated.

Includes synopsis.

Includes bibliographical references (leaves 81-87).