SurePay Helps U.S. Mobile Operators Overcome Challenges with Flexible Prepaid Charging Options

Next Generation Communications Blog

SurePay Helps U.S. Mobile Operators Overcome Challenges with Flexible Prepaid Charging Options

By: Peter Bernstein, TMCnet Senior Editor

There a few things more confounding to mobile service providers in hotly contested markets than missing out on opportunities to generate more revenues and profits from what have been lightly used services.  This is particularly the case in the United States where unlike much of the world where prepaid services are the norm, it is estimated that roughly 19 percent of U.S. subscribers avail themselves of these services.

That said, and despite some cultural and addressable market challenges, U.S. mobile services providers can change the game in their favor as prepaid is already experiencing significant growth due to a variety of factors, and if done correctly is poised according to research firm Yankee Group is to grow over the next few years faster than the overall telecommunications.  


Source:  Yankee Group North America Mobile Forecast, December 2012

As Barbara Sampson, Senior Market Manager, Policy & Charging (P&C) Marketing, Alcatel-Lucent highlighted in a recent TechZine posting, Make the most of prepaid mobile plan growth, based on extensive research by Alcatel-Lucent found that prepaid suffers from:

  • Low average revenue per user
  • High churn
  • Getting past issues involving prepaid customers not having subsidized phones 

To help U.S. operators fulfill and hopefully exceed the forecasts, SurePay® is Alcatel-Lucent’s solution that ensures there is a prepaid charging system in place that is flexible, scalable, and exceeds service provider and their customers’ expectations.

This is part of a series of postings (see below) relating to what options SurePay provides that U.S. mobile service providers can employ to maximize the prepaid opportunities. However, as a introduction to the detail in those postings it is instructive to look at what SurePay is and does.

Prepaid market realities and the role of SurePay

What research has confirmed is that mobile subscribers want to build their own price plans based on their demographics and usage behavior. Subscribers want to control all elements within a “custom” package, such as fixed minute increments, SMS, and data volumes. They are also demanding control over what applications they subscribe to and how much they pay. Legacy charging infrastructures are limited. However, with SurePay, operators can create and deploy marketing, user, and operation interfaces that define and modify price plans and promotions. It effectively guides and supports operators as they create, provision, and update SurePay tariff data, including bundles, tariff plans, and discounts.

Additionally, SurePay lets operators:

  • Configure and roll out new tariffs with real-time quota management and cost control
  • Shorten tariff rollout times by letting customers define inputs for a simulated call/event
  • Support flexible tariff plans for multiple criteria with powerful rules engine
  • Use a simple graphical user interface  to define tariff plans on laptops, validate, and then export them to a production platform for deployment
  • Customize or create their own service logic to enable out-of-the-box campaigns
  • Set priorities for using buckets and promotions on either individual or hierarchical levels

With SurePay, mobile operators can simultaneously offer a variety of charging options for a wide range of content types. And, SurePay’s flexibility and scalability for prepaid payment support can also be effectively expanded to real-time postpaid customers. 

SurePay allows unified management of prepaid and postpaid subscribers with one system that handles convergent rating and charging. This also includes hybrid systems, which are defined as a combination of both prepaid and postpaid services over a single device. For example, it can accommodate a single handset where business calls are on a postpaid plan and personal calls are on a prepaid plan.

By supporting multiple payment modes across a single converged charging and rating engine, there is no need for separate rate support infrastructures. This results in reduced operational, service delivery, integration, and maintenance costs. SurePay also configures new tariff plans only once for both prepaid and postpaid subscribers.

A big benefit here is that SurePay supports shared data plans for consumer and enterprise subscribers. This lets multiple devices share a pool of data allowances and stimulates mobile data usage, thereby expanding the operator’s target base beyond prepaid customers.


Source: Alcatel-Lucent

SurePay’s high reliability, flexibility, and scalability encourage innovation. Faster setup of new prepaid mobile business plans and models help meet changing customer requirements and new market trends/drivers.  SurePay service bundles and packages can also help mobile operators control costs, ensure customer stickiness, and generate additional revenues.

An example of this is SurePay’s Tariff Admin Tool. This service bundle provides marketing and operations interfaces to define and modify price plans and promotions, as well as test and verify a tariff plan offline prior to market rollout. It also provides the user interface to easily define and modify price plans and promotions. And it guides and supports mobile operators in the quick creation and provisioning of SurePay tariff data, including bundles, tariff plans, and discounts.

Finally, as with all prepaid plans, the customer knows how much they are paying and how close they are to reaching their limits. For those trying to watch carefully the amount of discretionary income they can allocate to mobile services, which for most households have become the real-time platform of choice for interacting, this is a real differentiated value, particularly for parental controls in limiting the use of children. 

In short, prepaid is not just become an option, but its attraction can be enhanced if service providers have a platform that gives the customer several options that fit their unique requirements. After all, one size does not fit all, and customer choice translates into customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Related Links



Related Articles to 'SurePay Helps U.S. Mobile Operators Overcome Challenges with Flexible Prepaid Charging Options'

Featured Events