Online Charging System – China Unicom

China Unicom implemented accurate real time billing with its prepaid services by utilizing Altibase’s in-memory feature.

Use Case: Online Charging System (OCS) prepaid plan

Current Customers: China Unicom, SKT, KT, and LG Uplus

Industry: Telecommunications

Who

China Unicom is the third largest telecommunication provider in China with 125 million subscribers.

Problem

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.

Solution

China Unicom tested various database products including Oracle TimesTen, soildDB and Altibase. China Unicom chose Altibase in consideration of 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.[2]

Results

  • 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.

 


[1] China Unicom installed Altibase as an in-memory only database on an IBM P6-570 system with 16 * 4.7 GHz power 6 CPUs and 156GB of memory.
[2] Only two weeks of development effort was required to implement a DBMS query wrapper interface based on Altibase’s standards-compliant ODBC interface.

 

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