Intelligent Network Services : Welcome to Bangalore

By : |June 28, 1999 0

The only thing good about missing a technology wave is that
you have less legacy baggage to leapfrog into the ‘next big one’. India did this with the
cellular business as we skipped the analog cellular business entirely while boarding the
GSM bus. But as long as you delay catching the wave you are loosing out on revenues that
could otherwise be earned. Department of Telecommunications, Bangalore has finally decided
on introducing IN services.

Welcome to Bangalore, IN
The telephone network (PSTN) provides access to Intelligent Network services using the
Signaling System 7 (SS7) protocol. SS7 is used to enable call set up, management and tear
down, query databases to handle advanced network wide services and subscriber
authentication.

SS7 has paved the way for a world of new
business opportunities by enabling the Intelligent Network services (IN). The IN is an
architecture for delivery of network based services (as opposed to switch based services).
IN uses the SS7 network as the under lying data communications protocol. The IN functions
with a combination of elements such as the Signaling Switching Points (SSP), Signaling
Control Points (SCP) and Signaling Transfer Point (STP) connected by standardized
interfaces of the SS7 network. The IN allows the service providers to separate service
specific functions and data from the other network resources and centralize service logic.
This way the service providers are in complete control of the services they offer.

The IN services that Department of Telecommunication,
Bangalore is planning to launch shortly are Premium Rate Service (PRM), Free Phone
(FPH),
Virtual Calling Card VCC and Account Calling Card.

Premium Rate Service establishes a call
that is charged at a premium rate (say, Rs. 6 / minute*) and is used by professionals for
consulting on the phone, for example, attorneys. This is similar to the 900 service in
some countries.

Virtual Calling Card and Account Calling Card
are calling cards services that tremendously increase mobility among the telephone user.
It rids the problem of looking for a pay phone or coins in change. These services may vary
slightly depending on implementation but generally allow the user to use any DTMF
telephone, punch in few digits, get authorized over an IVR, and connect to the destination
telephone. The call charges may be deducted off a pre paid amount or be tied to an
existing telephone connection and appear on the phone bill.
IN services have generated billions of dollars in revenue to operators world-wide.

Factors that will influence the success of IN
services in India:

Marketing, Customer education and fraud control. The D o T should make sure that these
services get the attention they deserve by educating customers through appropriate
messages. The distribution of VCC or ACC card numbers and PIN s should be fool proof and
secure. Billing is a critical requirement for the success of IN services. In the early
1990 s long distance phone companies in the US lost billions of dollars in calling card
fraud that was eventually written off as unrecoverable costs.

IN services promise a great new revenue opportunity for D
OT, provided the business logistics are correctly understood.
(* an estimate)

Some
benefits of the IN are listed below
  • Service Control Logic is contained in a centralized database (SCP) which makes it easy to deploy changes and faster to upgrade switch features or
    customer profiles.
  • Service providers are no longer at the mercy of switch
    vendors as they can independently control service logic.

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