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NEC adds advanced billing capability to Converged Core

NEC Corporation has announced an enhanced Converged Core with the launch of a containerised Charging Gateway Function (CGF).

The company says the new Network Function (NF) provides significant flexibility in processing increasingly complex billing information, while also enabling mobile network operators (MNOs) to launch new charging models efficiently. It says the new flexible billing will free MNOs from legacy usage-based systems and allow for monetisation strategies that closely match a specific use case.

5G networks are expected to provide end-users with various types of services built on enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB), Massive Machine Type Communications (mMTC) and Ultra-Reliable Low Latency Communications (URLLC).

"While a legacy billing model, such as flat-rate or usage-based billing, may fit for eMMB services, it will become inadequate as mMTC and URLLC services come to life in the coming years," says NEC. "For example, a Quality of Service model would be more suitable for a URLLC, with quality guarantees with discounts based on Service Level Agreements."

It says mMTC billings, on the other hand, should be based on the number of concurrent connections for IoT devices, such as connected home appliances.

"The CGF advanced billing capability is the latest addition to a suite of solutions called NEC Open Networks," says NEC vice president of Product Management, 5G Products, Patrick Lopez.

"NEC is leveraging its rich history of innovation in network architecture and telecommunications to lead our industry's transition to Open RAN for 5G. NEC's broad suite of solutions in this area is second to none, featuring disaggregated RAN components, xHaul transport, Core Networks, Operations Automation and professional Systems Integration, all enhanced by cloud-native accessibility and performance.

He says wireless operators can rely on NEC Open Networks to realise the real-world benefits of genuinely open 5G networks. With flexibility, improved speed of innovation and independence from proprietary solutions while taking advantage of the global accessibility and scalability of the cloud.

"This CGF functionality prepares our customers for the increased complexity they're likely to face as networks continue to support a growing number of connected devices," he says.

"Operators can feel free to make the best business decision when rolling out new services, knowing that they have creative, nimble options in capturing revenues for those services."

NEC CGF is an NF that resides between the Converged Core and the billing system, helping MNOs improve their time to market with new solutions without modifying existing billing systems. This flexibility also provides the ability to tailor billing to each user's diversified needs and requirements. The fully cloud-native, containerised architecture of NEC Converged Core NFs, now including CGF, provides 5G networks with scalability and resiliency.

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