JUN 18, 2019
By Brad Apps
ECConnect, EAP and Prepaid Mobile
The following document explains the term Prepaid Mobile, what it means and what ECConnect's cloud based platform - EAP - offers in this area.
A prepaid mobile phone service is a type of service which requires PRE-PAYMENT of a 'top-up' (sometimes called a recharge) or a usage allocation (sometimes referred to as a pack, product or bundle).
As the owner of a Prepaid Mobile service uses his/her service, the credit, or allocation, they purchased is decremented in real time, ie. as they use data, make calls, or send SMS, their available balance is reduced in real time.
The system which is responsible for this is a "Prepaid Intelligent Network". We call it the "Prepaid IN", "PPIN" or "IN". The Prepaid IN system is part of the mobile core network, and is generally operated by the mobile carrier or Mobile Network Operator (MNO).
Think of a Prepaid IN as having multiple 'buckets'. These buckets are configured for different usage types, such as data, calls, SMS, etc. In tech talk these buckets are called partitions. A Prepaid IN typically has a 'money' partition. It also has other partitions used for specific usage types. The 'money' partition is used for anything not covered within the other dedicated partitions.
Let's give few simple examples...
- Say the client purchases $5 of usage, this $5 will be added to the 'money' partition. They will then be able to use $5 of any type of usage.
- Another option is that a client purchases 1GB of data, this 1GB will be added to the data partition. They will be able to use up to 1GB of data.
- The client may purchase both $5 and 1GB together meaning he/she can use 1GB of data and once exhausted the $5 will be used for additional data, OR the $5 can be used for any other type of usage.
Prepaid partitions are normally available for any different call types and includes the ability for multiple partitions to be managed/provisioned for a given mobile service. Prepaid allocations often have a fixed number of days validity, such as 28 days or 30 days.
The Prepaid IN may have special codes configured which, when triggered, will fill (we call this an 'uplift') the relevant buckets with pre-configured values.
ECConnect predominantly supplies software and services to Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) who rely on the MNO's Prepaid IN, being part of the core network from which they are wholesaling.
Over the years there have been many products and marketing strategies planned by ECConnect clients (MVNOs) which have required configuration additions and changes to be carried out on the Prepaid IN.
As the MVNOs don't have control over the configuration, delays - due to demand or priortisation conflicts on the MNO side - and MNO network embargos sometimes affect the timely rollout of their ideas.
To overcome these difficulties, ECConnect have built a truly remarkable Prepaid Mobile module into the EAP multi-tenanted cloud platform.
Why is it truly remarkable?
The team at ECConnect believe this module is truly remarkable due to its configurability and broad feature set. The EAP Prepaid module leverages the MNO's Prepaid IN but extends its abilities to facilitate a myriad of possibilities and options as seen in the sketch below. All with easy and streamlined configuration ability.
An MVNO using EAP can configure:
- Recharges using Prepaid IN configured codes.
- Recharges for custom amounts.
- Products using Prepaid IN codes.
- Products with custom values.
- Products configured with Prepaid IN codes and custom adjustments.
- Bundles of products using single Prepaid IN codes.
- Bundles of products using multiple Prepaid IN codes.
- Bundles of products with custom values.
- Bundles of products utilising single Prepaid IN codes and custom adjustments.
- Bundles of products using multiple Prepaid IN codes and custom adjustments.
These numerous options have configurable prices, validity periods (from 1 to any number of days) and/or rollover settings (where relevant). The EAP platform also offers date based auto recharge, balance triggered auto recharge, auto renewal of products/bundles, delayed upgrade/downgrade ability, and product synchronization settings.
As usual, there is no finish line. 2019 will see us launch further extensions to the EAP Prepaid Mobile module:
- Variable validity periods to match calendar month, in addition to the current static number of days.
- And the addition we are most excited about - Integration for this module to use the EAP Postpaid billing engine instead of the Prepaid IN. Why? How? Watch this space!
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