Online Charging System – China Unicom

China Unicom implements accurate real time billing with its prepaid services by utilizing Altibase’s in-memory feature. Altibase was chosen over Oracle TimesTen and solidDB.

Use Case: Online Charging System (OCS) prepaid plan

Current Customers: China Unicom, SK Telecom, KT and LG Uplus

Industry: Telecommunications


China Unicom is a Chinese state-owned telecommunications operator of China. China Unicom is the world’s fourth-largest mobile service provider by subscriber base and the third largest telecommunication provider in China


Historically, China Unicom suffered from payment defaults and operational deficiencies for its online charging system. Those problems manifested themselves in three core areas.

  • Inability to effectively terminate service: China Unicom was unable to identify and cut customer usage when prepaid balances were exhausted. Essentially, customers who chose to game the system would continue to talk for free until China Unicom’s systems “caught up.” China Unicom’s legacy DBMS could not efficiently detect negative balances. Worse yet, losses shadowed increasing latency. The result was a vast amount of uncollectible receivables.
  • Inability to reinstate timely service: unfortunately, customers who inadvertently exhausted their balances and subsequently paid their overages suffered as well. Limitations in China Unicom’s DBMS speed prevented swift reactivation of service to these loyal customers. The result was a catastrophic loss of consumer confidence, customer satisfaction and, ultimately, retention.
  • Inability for customers to accurately check remaining balances: since customers could not accurately check their current balances, they could not preemptively replenish their accounts. The balance information was stale, and loyal customers paid the price with defunct service.


China Unicom tested various database products including Oracle TimesTen, Altibase and others. China Unicom chose Altibase in 2010. Since then, China Unicom has adopted Altibase in consideration of its performance, reliability and functionality all with the underpinnings of a complete solution.[1]. Fortifying China Unicom’s decision to utilize Altibase was Altibase’s reputation for excellent technical support as well.[1]


  • China Unicom has the capacity to precisely check and act on balances.
  • China Unicom’s system latency was reduced, which corrected errors that some customers took advantage of.
  • Outstanding balances, when paid, coincided with swift restoration of service.
  • Customers can accurately check remaining balances, knowing when to reload funds.
  • Customer satisfaction, loyalty, attraction and retention are maximized.
  • Customer attrition is minimized.
  • Call data can be viewed and processed quickly, enabling differential rates to be applied by customer and by group.
  • Immediate processing with no waiting time is now possible when applying promotions to customer-specific groups, pricing policies and collecting billing data.


[1] Only two weeks of development effort was required to implement a DBMS query wrapper interface based on Altibase’s standards-compliant ODBC interface.

Altibase – Downloading is Believing.