NEC/Netcracker has provided NTT DOCOMO, INC. (DOCOMO) with a Charging Gateway Function (CGF) for high-performance processing of billing data, which has become more complex due to the growing sophistication of service menus.
The CGF began operating in December 2022 as a gateway-packaged product that connects DOCOMO’s existing standalone 5G mobile core network (SA 5GC), which was provided by NEC, to its business support system (BSS) for customer administration and billing. By organizing the wide variety of billing information sent from 5GC and linking to the BSS, the CGF enables efficient billing processing, while supporting the rapid launch, provision and monetization of new services.
Service menus utilizing 5G are becoming more diverse, and the development of new services beyond packet communications, SMS and voice communications is expected to continue advancing in the future. For this reason, telecommunications carriers are demanding packaged products that can flexibly support new services. In the BSS, it is necessary to introduce Fit to Standard packaged product according to the IT strategy, and the CGF introduction was decided upon the request of DOCOMO this time. However, when using a packaged product for a gateway, it is necessary to develop connections for the parts of the system where information such as BSS is linked. Therefore, building a new gateway requires excellent packaged products and know-how in the development of connection systems. Based on this background, as an advanced initiative in the industry, NEC has introduced a CGF packaged product at the request of DOCOMO.
Features of this initiative include:
1. Efficient billing processing with CGF packaged products
DOCOMO has introduced a CGF solution provided by Netcracker Technology (Netcracker), an NEC subsidiary, using the CGF product from DigitalRoute. Netcracker built the robust solution using DigitalRoute’s product for high traffic processing to achieve efficient billing. DigitalRoute’s CGF packaged products have been deployed at more than 400 businesses around the world and comply with international standards (3GPP). The CGF can organize large amounts of billing information generated for each service, such as packet communications and voice calls, and link it to the BSS for efficient billing processing. Netcracker has extensive global experience implementing solutions based on the DigitalRoute product suite and was instrumental in its implementation at DOCOMO, working closely with NEC as the system integrator and DigitalRoute as the product vendor.
2. Flexible support for new services and scalability through online processing of billing information
The CGF’s flow control function defines the processing flow of billing information for each service, providing both flexible support for new services and scalability that enables online processing of billing information. As a result, even if the service menu changes, the CGF can quickly respond without requiring new development for each instance, leading to the rapid monetization of new services.
3. Making use of NEC’s track record in system development for telecommunications carriers to achieve connectivity while minimizing the development of external systems
NEC has extensive experience developing high-quality systems that support telecommunications carriers’ services, including open source systems that support DOCOMO’s payment services. By leveraging this experience and localizing the impact on external systems connected to this CGF, a high-quality system has been achieved while minimizing development. NEC is also leveraging Netcracker’s history of working with DigitalRoute to deliver the solution, along with integration work performed by NEC.
“We are pleased to have worked with NEC as a partner in the introduction of standard products compatible with 5G SA. DOCOMO will continue to swiftly and flexibly provide customers with diversified services and billing systems for next-generation networks, including 5G,” said Shin Fujii, Senior Manager at NTT DOCOMO.
“NEC is proud to have provided DOCOMO with this total 5GC system, including CGF. We have a long history of collaboration with DOCOMO spanning a wide variety of solutions, and we look forward to continuing the provision of high-quality, highly reliable end-to-end networking solutions in the future,” said Michio Kiuchi, Senior Vice President at NEC Corporation.
“Netcracker is honored to continue working with DOCOMO, in partnership with NEC and DigitalRoute, to deliver a truly differentiated solution that will provide efficiencies in the billing process, resulting in faster time to market and rapid monetization of new services,” said Bob Titus, CTO at Netcracker. “We look forward to future success with DOCOMO.”
“We are incredibly thrilled to announce that our strategic partnership with NEC has been reinforced through this project for DOCOMO, the No.1 CSP in Japan,” says Per-Erik Johansson, SVP, Head of Telecom Sales & Alliances at DigitalRoute. “Our best in class product solutions have been developed through their deployment by many global CSPs. Together with NEC, we are not only enabling DOCOMO’s next-generation monetization, we are also driving a competitive edge by being able to expand in new enterprise markets.”
NEC and Netcracker will continue to provide comprehensive 5G networking, BSS, and operation support systems (OSS) solutions to telecommunications carriers to help them quickly launch new services, streamline operations and improve revenue.