A suite of voice, messaging and data control applications that authorise service access in cooperation with a real-time charging system and then meter the service usage as the prepaid balance is used. Also referred to as Online Charging Front-end, Converged pre and post-paid charging.
In recognition of the importance of real-time charging, the 3GPP now refers to "on-line" and "off-line" charging rather than "pre-" and "post-paid" charging and defines a functional separation between the charging-trigger function (CTF) of a network and the online charging system (OCS). The CTF itself is necessarily tightly-coupled with the service being delivered.
These applications can be used for both pre and post-paid subscribers in cooperation with a real-time charging system. This reduces the duplication of services and helps both retain subscribers and removes a barrier to service use.
The Online Charging Front End application combine the charging interfaces and CTF with a powerful session-control (and call-control) to deliver online charging enabled services within this new framework. This may be achieved by inserting functionality in-front of an existing service in order to generate the required charging triggers, by hosting and executing new services directly within it’s own application server environment, or via a combination of both.
Several OpenCloud operator customers have implemented split-architecture prepaid charging systems using Rhino to deliver the call control applications. Besides the standard call, messaging and data control and metering, they have implemented: