Interconnection Billing System of Grameenphone Ltd Essay Example
Interconnection Billing System of Grameenphone Ltd Essay Example

Interconnection Billing System of Grameenphone Ltd Essay Example

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  • Pages: 12 (3069 words)
  • Published: October 3, 2017
  • Type: Research Paper
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In early 2008, the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) announced that the reorganization of the country's telecom interconnectedness architecture, according to the International Long Distance Telecommunication Services (ILDTS) Policy - 2007, had to be completed by mid-August.

In 2008, the telecom regulator (BTRC. 2008a) issued a proclamation which required telecom operators, such as mobile and fixed webs, to complete a reorganization project within a specified deadline. The aim was to ensure that there would be no or minimal inconvenience and loss of revenue for subscribers during this reorganization. Grameenphone Ltd. was among the concerned telecom operators.

At that time, the largest cell phone operator in the state had a subscriber base of around 17 Million (BTRC, 2008b). The company had to prioritize complying with this regulatory directive because the loss of interconnectedness charges would greatly impact their revenue stream


, being the second largest source of income for the company (Grameenphone Annual Reports, 2008-2011).

The organization initiated a cross-functional project to successfully complete the restructuring of its interconnectedness. The project team identified the organization's existing processes and systems for interconnectedness charges as a key area for improvement. The team believed that the in-house tools currently used were not flexible enough to adapt to changes in web architecture. Management sought to replace manual charge-related tasks with fully automated systems to ensure faster transactions and the generation of customized reports. Following a thorough evaluation of other options within the allotted budget, experts from relevant cross-functional teams procured the Intec Interconnection Billing System (IIBS), which is recognized as one of the leading suppliers worldwide.

Intec Systems Ltd. (CSGI, 2012) discusses the rating of IIBS, a high-tech information system, and its

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contribution to Grameenphone Ltd., a technology-based organization.

The key sources of information for this study include my experiences as a member of the charge system execution undertaking squad, which lasted for approximately 03 years. Additionally, I conducted interviews and exchanged emails with core technical individuals and other stakeholders of IIBS. Training materials provided by the charge system seller and web entries were also consulted in certain areas.

Overview of Intec Interconnection Billing System

Telecom Interconnect and Related Facts: Bangladesh Context

"The term Interconnect in the telecommunication universe means a concern theoretical account where different viing telephony suppliers coexist and interconnect to each other" (4gbilling Inc..

In 2012, it was mandated by the Bangladesh Telecommunication Act-2001 that all telecom operators must provide 'any-to-any' connectivity. This ensures that their subscribers can easily communicate with subscribers from other telecom operators. As a result, telecom operators connect with each other directly or through interconnectedness exchanges, following the reorganization of the national interconnectedness architecture in Bangladesh in 2008. Moreover, they also establish connectivity with foreign operators through international gateways.

Telecom operators charge each other entrance fees for the traffic (i.e. voice calls, SMS, & MMS) generated by their subscribers. These charges are negotiated or enforced by the regulator.

The payment and activities related to interconnectedness, such as calculating the volume of interconnect traffic originated and received, generating bills, and verifying bills from other operators, are determined by mutual interconnectedness agreements and/or relevant directives from telecom regulators (Interconnection Regulations).

In 2004, there was a strong demand for Interconnect Billing Systems. With the global trend of telecom de-regulation, interconnectivity became crowded and telecom operators needed a charging system that could provide detailed analysis of interconnectedness. This objective was a

priority for them.

The purpose of using the Interconnect Billing system is to make smart and well-informed decisions to enhance revenue streams (4gbilling Inc., 2012). The major tasks accomplished with this system are:

- Inter-operator settlement for traffic exchanged with other operators.
- Resolution of interconnectedness charge differences.
- Generation of various reports.
- Detection of various telecom frauds and assistance in their management.

The Intec Interconnect Billing System (IIBS) has technological features and is situated downstream of the Mediation Server in the telecom network architecture. It operates under a client-server model and the servers are powered by HP-UX (Hewlett-Packard, 2011).

It has two components: one stores the Database and the other handles the Application (Intec Training Material. 2008). On the client side computers, there are various functions for generating bills, creating reports, and reconciling CDRs from other operators.

These clients are connected to the IBS application server using a Local Area Network (LAN). The clients can use Microsoft Windows operating systems. They can access IIBS's application through a Graphical User Interface (GUI) or through the web-based Oracle Discoverer, which is a customized tool, according to Mr._____________.

Raiyan Karim is a System Engineer at IBS of Grameenphone Ltd. ( Karim, 2012 ).

Within the Information Technology department, a team is responsible for configuring and operating the Intec Interconnect Billing System (IIBS). The users of this system are located throughout the organization, ranging from Finance to Regulatory Affairs functions.

Classification of IIBS as Information System

As an information system, the Intec Interconnect Billing System (IIBS) can be classified in various ways, including from a hardware standpoint (Bocij et al. 2008: Chapter 3).

IIBS utilizes LAN connectivity with an upstream application server as its primary capture/input engineering. The

system features a powerful CPU processor and 25 Terabyte online magnetic disc storage. The end product can be obtained through either e-document or printed documents, which can be displayed on a monitor. This information is derived from package position (Bocij et al.).

In 2008, Chapter 4 of the application package IIBS focused on treating big databases that include CDRs. This application is specifically designed for management-level positions as stated by Laudon and Laudon.

In 2012, the Interconnect & Billing System (IIBS) was identified as primarily a processing system for handling interconnected traffic between different operators, such as phone calls, text messages, and multimedia messages. While this system primarily serves operational management needs, the resulting data is widely circulated to various management levels, including top executives. This is mainly because interconnectivity is vital to the telecommunications industry and its associated business activities.

According to the organizational map (Laudon and Laudon, 2006), IIBS is an Information Technology company that specializes in country-specific information systems. These systems manage digital records of client calls for the interconnectivity charge details.

According to Boddy et al. (2005: 37-38), IIBS is considered an intra-organisational IS primarily used by the IT department of Grameenphone. However, it is frequently accessed by other departments within the organization.

g. Finance. Selling. Regulatory Affairs.

Furthermore, as IIBS contributes to accomplishing overall organizational goals such as a dependable network of interconnectedness, it also aids in developing market offerings.

It can be easily referred to as an intra-organizational IS.

Supported Organizational Procedures

The organizational procedures supported by IIBS can be analyzed by using two approaches: a) the CIPSODAR theoretical model of information system (Heeks, 2011a) and b) the utilization and applications of computer-based IS by organizational

level (Bocij et al., 2008: P 45).


IIBS captures processed CDR (Call Detail Records) from Mediation server ("a system used to convert data of certain datatypes to other datatypes").

Normally, CDRs (Call Detail Records) are used for charging purposes (Wikipedia, 2012). These CDRs are then inputted into IIBS. The captured CDRs must include at least 06 numerical fields (Intec Systems).

In 2008, these mediated CDRs are further processed by IIBS, which involves sorting them according to various predetermined criteria, such as pre-paid.

Post-paid operators arise and end operations, screening them based on a specific standard. Eventually, IIBS displays exceptional processing capacity as it manages around 70 Million CDRs every 6 hours (Karim, 2012).

IIBS has two types of storage: online storage, which can store CDRs for up to 4 months, and offline storage on magnetic tapes for older CDRs. The output from IIBS consists of charging details categorized by interconnect operator, incoming call flow, outgoing call flow, and duration.

Recipients have the option to generate bills for other operators or create customized reports using IIBS' client-side invoicing and coverage features. The resulting data from IIBS assists the organization in deciding its connectivity business strategy.

The text above suggests implementing additional interconnect capacity with an operator or developing a plan to encourage customers to make calls to other operators by lowering their charges. This can be achieved through internal business strategies or contractual obligations outlined in an interconnect agreement. The outcomes of these actions include resolving disputes and creating settlements for interconnection traffic.

The use of IIBS charging details aids in detecting and responding to telecom frauds, ensuring a competitive advantage and market dominance. Additionally, it facilitates regulatory compliance by

generating reports for telecom regulators on a regular and ad-hoc basis. Moreover, it proves valuable in projecting revenue through trend analysis of interconnected traffic.

Organizational Levels and IIBS
As previously mentioned, IIBS primarily serves as a processing system and is designed hierarchically to fulfill operational management functions. The operations directors ensure the processing activities of IIBS. In this capacity, IIBS acts as a solution to generate reliable invoices.

Proof of bills from other parties, declaration of differences related to invoiced data between operators, and simultaneous studies from various sources. This occurs at a higher level within the organizational hierarchy.

IIBS studies the service provided by Grameenphone as a tactical tool, using traffic tendencies and bills to generate forecasts for gross interconnectedness, capacity demand, and more. Top Management degree consultants rely on these studies. The settlement of gross interconnectedness is crucial as it is the second largest gross watercourse for Grameenphone (Grameenphone: 2011).

Interconnection traffic volume plays a crucial role in attracting clients to competitors' market offerings, and it informs the decisions made by the merchandise development squad.

Evaluation of Information System

The Intec Interconnect Billing system (IIBS) can be evaluated using two perspectives: a) the IS Cost/benefits model and b) the DeLone/McLean model.

Benefits and Costs of IIBS According to the Process Benefits Model (Heeks, 2011b), the benefits of IIBS can be evaluated as it is primarily a transaction processing system. User experiences and discussions with IIBS expert teams (2012) have revealed the generation of multiple benefits from IIBS.

Both efficiency and effectivity categorises are encompassed in the benefits showcased in the table below:
Sl. Procedure BenefitExamples Cited by Stakeholders ( Discussion. 2012 )
1CheaperIntroduction of IIBS has reduced no.

The number of employees needed

to complete the task has decreased by one-third compared to before. Additionally, IIBS processes more CDRS while keeping resource demand relatively constant, except for storage. In just 6 hours, IIBS processed about 70 Million CDRs, whereas the previous system could only handle around 50 Million CDRs in the same timeframe.

Invoice generation and processing of CDRs from another party for the purpose of interconnect discrepancy resolution has been expedited. Previously, CDRs were manually processed, resulting in inconsistent interconnect charge coverage due to the system's business logic. However, IIBS has introduced a Graphical User Interface (GUI) for clients, enabling them to generate customized reports on interconnectivity at any time.

Previously, the coverage was done on an ad-hoc basis as requested by the Project Team.

Information Quality

According to Heeks (2011b), information quality refers to the characteristics of the information generated by the system. In the case of IIBS, the end products produced (bills and various studies) are easily understood and have a high level of completeness in order to serve their intended purposes.

The Grameenphone Revenue Assurance and Fraud Management (RAFM) squad has confirmed that the end product of the Integrated Interconnect Business Solution (IIBS) is highly satisfactory, with only a few rare instances where it may be inaccurate. IIBS is an integral part of Grameenphone's interconnectedness system and is utilized on a daily basis to process interconnect CDRs for the relevant day and handle report requests from cross-functional teams.

The system provides timely information for performing gross projections or conducting regulatory studies on a monthly or ad-hoc basis. Overall, users are satisfied with IIBS but they would like the system to have the flexibility to generate more customized reports. In most

cases, the delivered information from IIBS matched the required information with no significant differences.

The graphical user interface, easy care, easy scalability, and web-based access are a few factors that contribute to user satisfaction.

Regular users are generally quite satisfied with the software, but occasional users have difficulty using the interface.

Individual impact

This refers to how much the system's information influences or affects decisions (Heeks, 2011b). The reports generated by the IIBS system are very useful for locating jobs in interconnected countries, and the decisions made based on these reports are usually accurate.

These determinations are quite effective as well. Typically, four points are positioned to surpass direction on a weekly basis. The improvement in productivity in interconnected countries is remarkable. It enables the identification of the traffic trend generated and received for determining the optimal connection capacity.

In order to address other determination issues, such as the market attractiveness of other operators and client charges, it is important to consider various relevant factors.

The organizational impact is a measure of how the information produced by the system affects the performance of the organization.

Interconnection is a significant compliance issue and it also generates revenue of around 100 Mn. USD for Grameenphone (Grameenphone, 2011). Given the importance of interconnectivity for Grameenphone, it can be concluded that the organizational impact of IIBS is significant. The investments made vs.

The benefits obtained from IBS, such as reduced processing time and timely invoicing for guaranteed revenue, are quite positive. Overall, IBS is a successful information system that meets stakeholders' demands and surpasses costs with significant benefits.

Factors for Success of IIBS

The success of Intec Interconnect Billing System (IIBS) in Grameenphone Ltd.

is remarkable considering that many information systems fail to achieve their goals, especially in developing countries.

Using the IS Implementation Outcome Model (Laudon and Laudon, 2006) and the Design-Reality Gap analysis with ITPOSMO (Heeks, 2011c), we can analyze the causes behind the success.

Information System Implementation Outcome Model

In their 9th edition book, Laudon and Laudon (2006) presented a summary model of information systems success and failure factors.

Using the theoretical model on IIBS, we can identify the following factors:
• User engagement and influence: In the procurement process for the interconnectedness charge system at Grameenphone, real users were part of a cross-functional team and their opinions were highly valued. These requirements were then used as a reference to select the vendor and negotiate customization with them.

• Management support: The execution of IIBS in Grameenphone had the necessary support from management. The project team was empowered with the presence of the Chief Information Officer as the Project Sponsor and other senior managers in the Project Steering Committee.

  • Level of complexity/risk: Despite being a highly advanced information system, IIBS was well-structured and the project team had the required technical expertise.
  • Management of the execution procedure: IIBS had sufficient financial and human resources allocated to it, and appropriate training sessions were organized.

Design-Reality Gap Analysis of IIBS

Although IIBS is considered a successful information system, there are areas where it can be improved according to feedback from internal stakeholders (Discussions, 2012). These areas include enhancing the user-friendliness of the GUI for non-IT users.

Reducing the storage requirement benefits by saving valuable storage capacity, as a result

of the gap between information system design and its actual implementation (Heeks).

According to Heeks (2011c), the ITPOSMO theoretical model can be used to analyze the reality spreads for IIBS design. The system design assumed that the inputs to IIBS, which are processed CDRs from the Mediation waiter, would always be in the correct format. However,

Occasionally, there were CDRs from mediation that were in an incorrect format or missing one or more important fields. These unprocessed CDRs were stored in an error bucket and needed to be specially processed by System Engineers later on. The design of the technology helped to gain overall user satisfaction for IIBS. The processing of CDR files was faster than the previous system and also reduced the man-hours needed to configure and operate the system.

However, there are differences between the outlook and world in terms of storage demand and graphical user interface (GUI) design in various countries. The operational procedures of IIBS were helpful in meeting the needs of the system, producing customized reports and bills as required.

Despite the need for further customization of coverage capabilities, there may be occasional issues with the output of contemporaries. The decision to ensure IIBS was made by a cross-functional team with relevant experience and expertise.

It was decided to enhance the system by incorporating additional features to enable the management of nomadic content or value-added services from various suppliers. However, even after three years of successful operation of IIBS, these additional features have not yet been implemented (Karim).

The non-inclusion of nomadic content/ VAS related characteristics in IIBS is assumed to be because of possible personal involvement. Currently, these colonies are managed by an IT

director and a team of 05 employees. If these characteristics were included in IIBS, it would require either no employees or at most 01 employee from this team.

The organisation had competent staff experienced with constellation operation and care of interconnect charging systems. Furthermore, the seller provided the necessary preparation to acquire acknowledged staff with the new system.

The implementation of IIBS had the dual effect of reducing the workforce needed to operate similar systems previously and simplifying the management hierarchy in the IT department. Additionally, IIBS saved processing time compared to the old system, leading to increased efficiency and financial savings.

5.2.8 Overall: The entire spread mark for IIBS is 18. There is an undistinguished design-reality spread for the system, with none being a possible cause of failure.


Grameenphone Ltd.

Since August 2008 to present, I have been involved in the implementation of the Intec Interconnect Billing System (IIBS) for a duration of approximately four years. The primary objectives of this system were to ensure the precise and efficient settlement of interconnected traffic with associated operators within a complex network infrastructure, as well as the timely resolution of any related discrepancies. Furthermore, the system aimed to generate tailored reports for users across various business functions within the organization, as well as for managers at different organizational levels.

Taking into account stakeholder perspectives on IIBS and its analyses using various theoretical accounts, this system exemplifies a successful information system. The significant factors that contribute to its success include a seamless alignment between design and reality. The establishment of this favorable situation is credited to the implementation of sound information system practices.

The text emphasizes the importance of empowering users,

promoting commitment towards a specific direction, and ensuring the availability of key resources.

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