Postpaid Billing System

Postpaid Billing System is a system in which the billing software caters to various postpaid charging scenarios. The postpaid charging scenarios could be recurring billing scenarios or one time billing scenarios.

Postpaid Billing Model|How does Postpaid Billing work?

For an understanding of postpaid billing in detail, check out: What is Postpaid Billing?

Postpaid billing is used in various services in day-to-day life like electricity bills, phone bills or internet bills, there is a periodic recurring invoice involved which applies charges based on the usage or consumption of the service in a particular billing period.

It is impossible to measure the consumption of a service until the usage actually takes place. In that sense, all usage or consumption is postpaid! A subscription or rental may be prepaid or postpaid, but usage is always postpaid. In a truly prepaid service, there is a continuous polling mechanism (behind the scene by using a prepaid billing system) to check if the usage level has crossed a certain threshold and if it has, then the service could be stopped temporarily until the usage quota is recharged again.

Therefore, a prepaid billing system allows the usage to take place up to a certain usage level (or up to a certain time period like 30 seconds) and then validates if the total usage consumption for the billing period has crossed the usage quota in that time frame (like in 30 seconds). There is definitely a chance of small minuscule billing leakage to take place in such a scenario because the usage that takes place in the polling frequency time frame, could overshoot the usage quota by some small amount.

This problem is not faced in the postpaid billing model. In this model, the usage consumption can be measured and charged quite accurately with the postpaid billing system.

A postpaid billing model trusts the end customer more and allows the service to be utilised for the entire month (or such agreed recurring billing period). It measures the total charges taken place for the elapsed billing period and raises an invoice at the end of the billing period. The user would then pay for such an invoice after-the-fact, which means after using the services for the entire month or billing period. That is why it is called a postpaid billing model.

When should postpaid billing software be considered?

Typically, it is seen that in markets that are advanced with a well earning consumer base, postpaid billing model is preferred. The Postpaid Billing Model allows the consumer a flexibility to use the system on the go and not worry about recharging the account balance in the middle of the cycle. Many a times, the B2B services are based on postpaid plans as corporate customers prefer postpaid services.

Let's Explore EarnBill's Postpaid Billing Solution and Features and See How It Works As A Postpaid Billing Software.

EarnBill’s Postpaid Billing System

EarnBill provides a comprehensive Postpaid Billing Solution with out-of-box postpaid features and plugins. Although EarnBill is a Convergent Billing System, it can be configured to be a purely postpaid billing system, or purely a prepaid billing system, depending on the client requirement.

Prepaid Billing System

Product Catalogue

The Product Catalogue allows to define and configure Products, Pricing, Plans and Bundles. EarnBill provides a comprehensive Product Catalogue feature and supports more than a dozen different pricing strategies. This gives great flexibility to service providers to configure their product offerings in the system easily.

Under the Product Catalogue, two features that stand out as postpaid billing features are Postpaid Billing Plans and Free Usage Pools:

Postpaid Billing Plans

As a postpaid billing software, EarnBill allows easy options to configure the postpaid billing plans. It is possible to define a Postpaid Plan subscription, an initial period discount, installation fees, usage consumption pricing, and bundle pricing all under one single plan.

To define bundle pricing, you can simply add bundled products in the plan and override the default pricing of the product at the bundle level. This allows them to bundle various additional offerings on the plan with special offer pricing under the plan. For example, if a Service Provider sells toll free numbers, then the service plan could add a special bundle with 5 toll free numbers as free or as included within the plan. However, any additional toll free number can have an additional price.

Similarly an Internet Service Provider can provide 5 Static IPs as bundled with the plan, but if the end customer demands more static ips, then those can be charged additionally. Also, it is possible to charge such static IPs at less price with the plan than when bought additionally. EarnBill provides an easy mechanism to define bundle level pricing that can override the product level pricing.

In EarnBill’s plan and bundle definition, it is also possible to define the varying bundle charging periods. For example, an installation fee can be a one-time charge, whereas the static IPs can be charged on a monthly basis along with the plan fee.

Free Usage Pools

A typical postpaid plan will also contain free usage pools or free usage quota that will allow free usage up to a certain threshold or limit. This is also termed as ‘Included Quantity’ on the plan. A free usage pool can be defined with the included quantity, period for which the free quota is allowed and additional rules such as whether to roll over or lapse the remaining quantity when the pool period is expired or elapsed.

A free usage pool is associated with an EarnBill plan. It is possible to associate more than one pool with the plan. For example, in a mobile service plan, it could set up a data pool with 30 GB of data included in the plan. It also sets up Local and National Calls up to 100 minutes to be included with the plan and you could set up a quota of 100 SMSes with the plan as well. These would be 3 different pools associated with the plan.

Recurring Billing

With EarnBill’s Recurring Billing functionality, the post paid billing plans and associated recurring bundles, are charged onto the invoices based on the various recurring billing rules defined in the system. EarnBill provides a complete recurring billing solution that can allow billing to be executed at various frequencies such as daily, weekly, monthly etc, and it also allows differing billing cycles at customer level and charge level.

As an organization, you could choose different billing frequencies and strategies, such as:

  • 1-Monthly billing for the organization and same billing cycle (1-monthly) for all customers,
  • Daily billing cycle with anniversary billing cycles based on service activation date (1-monthly, 2-monthly, … up to 31-monthly) for customers
  • Bill all customers twice in the month, such as 1-monthly and 15-monthly

Prorating or Pro rata Charging

With postpaid charging, it becomes necessary to have the prorating or pro rata charging enabled for partial period billing, such as when the customer adds a new service in the middle of his or her billing period, or when the customer cancels a service in the middle of the billing period.

For example, if the user is a 1-monthly customer and receives a bill for his existing service on 1st of every month. Now if the user subscribes to another postpaid billing plan on 15th of the month, the first invoice after subscribing to this service will charge a partial period from 15th to end of the month in a postpaid manner.

Billing Mediation

To understand how billing mediation works in EarnBill’s check out: Billing Mediation Feature.

Billing Mediation is a telecom billing feature that allows rating and charging of raw CDR (Call Data Records) data received from the network or from the underlying carriers (such as MNOs or Mobile Network Operators). Mediation in telecom is a complex postpaid billing feature that processes the feed of CDRs and assigns the associated usage charges for a customer onto his or her invoice.

The process can require scaling to handle huge number of CDR records such as 10s or 100s of millions of call records per day. The scalability and accurate charging of CDRs is one of the most significant highlights of EarnBill’s capabilities.

Rate Cards

Rate Cards is a feature also associated closely with Telecom Billing and Billing Mediation. It allows the Telecom Service Provider to maintain a complex system of rating for consumption of various telecom services. Typically, the rate cards maintain route based rates for local and national usage. For international calls and other usage, the rate cards allow to maintain thousands of rates easily based on the country where calls are placed and the service provider on the termination side.

Rate cards also provide flexibility in charging the usage with a connection charge and define duration increment parameters for calls. For example, if the call duration is less than 30 seconds, it may still want to charge the call for 30 seconds duration and if the call is more than 30 seconds, then it may be appropriate to charge for the whole minute. Rate Cards allow the Telecom company such fine rating parameters.

Financial Reports

EarnBill comes with many crucial financial reports that allow for tracking and monitoring postpaid invoicing. Some of the important reports are ‘Total Invoicing’, ‘Total Payments’, ‘Accounts Receivables’, ‘Ageing Balances’, ‘Detailed Billing’, ‘Tax ATO’ and more. The financial reports from EarnBill make it easier for the finance department to reconcile balances and achieve accurate annual financial reporting.