How 5G Will Usher in BCE (Billing and Charging Evolution) | Syniverse

How 5G Will Usher in BCE (Billing and Charging Evolution)

The arrival of 5G technology promises blazing-fast speeds, reduced latency, and enhanced capacity. It allows connecting multiple devices simultaneously and it’s poised to reshape the industry landscape. Beyond simply offering faster internet, 5G catalyzes innovation across various sectors.  

One notable area experiencing transformation is billing and charging procedures— With 5G, the use of traditional charging and clearing tools becomes complicated as they are too complex and rigid to support future technologies like IoT and similar next-generation use cases.  As a result, BCE (Billing and Charging Evolution) is emerging as a global standard, especially for 5G roaming services and specific applications such as network slicing. 

5G technology is set to revolutionize the billing and charging landscape in several ways: 

  • Flexibility – BCE will provide a more flexible and simplified settlement method. 
  • Tailored Billing Models – as BCE allows for aggregated billing, discount charging methods and support for new network elements allows for the support of the massive volumes and traffic types needed in 5G. 
  • Better support for IoT and M2M. 
  • Increased Data Volumes – BCE is designed for aggregated data, which will make for more efficient processing, allowing operators to move beyond the limitations of TAP. 
  • Blockchain Integration – will bring trust and transparency to the billing and clearing process, this will allow for more operational efficiencies and better exchanges. 

Overall, 5G will bring a more adaptable, transparent, and efficient billing and charging system that can keep pace with the advanced services and high data throughput of next-generation networks. 

What is the Difference Between Billing and Charging in Telecom?

Before exploring the intricacies of BCE and 5G, you must understand the difference between billing and charging. Billing entails creating an invoice or bill. It aggregates charges accrued over a specific billing period before sending it to the customer.  

On the other hand, charging involves calculating the cost-of-service usage. It determines the amount that should be charged to individual subscribers. This process typically includes real-time or near-real-time tracking of service consumption.

What Is the Traditional Roaming Billing Process?

With traditional roaming billing, operators have depended on the Transfer Account Procedures (TAP) to facilitate the exchange of billing information. When users roam onto a different network, the visited network records their usage data. This data is then transmitted to the user’s home network through TAP files for accurate billing. 

However, as we transition into the era of 5G technology, this established process shows signs of strain and inefficiency. The complexity of 5G challenges the effectiveness of the TAP process that previously served 2G, 3G, and 4G networks. 

What Are the Challenges with the TAP Process?

The TAP process encounters numerous obstacles with the emergence of 5G technology. These are some challenges of TAP: 

  1. TAP faces challenges managing massive data from 5G services, and exchanging TAP files is slow. This causes billing delays, inaccuracies, and revenue loss, particularly for real-time 5G services. 
  2. TAP works for simpler mobile services, limiting compatibility with advanced 5G features like network slicing. 
  3. TAP file exchange delays and inaccuracies may cause operator disputes, affecting relationships and financial settlements and slowing the ultimate goal of receiving payments for usage provided. 
  4. The complexity of 5G services poses challenges for accurately tracking and billing them through the TAP process. This is because of varied data speeds, latency requirements, and IoT connections. 
  5. Managing TAP can be costly and resource-intensive for operators with the increased demands of 5G. 
  6. Handling billing data through the TAP process can lead to security risks due to increased data volume and sensitivity. 

Why BCE (Billing and Charging Evolution)?

BCE, or Billing and Charging Evolution, escapes the limitations of TAP processes by harnessing modern technologies like blockchain and decentralized ledgers. BCE allows for real-time charging and billing operations and accommodates complex service models such as network slicing.  

BCE ensures a smoother transition to 5G SA roaming by improving transparency and efficiency in wholesale roaming agreements. Embracing BCE isn’t just an upgrade; it’s an evolution to stay abreast of the rapid progress in 5G. 

By providing more and better billing models, greatly increasing flexibility, and the ability to handle the massive growth of 5G data, BCE is the only solution that will give operators what they need.  More speed, more options, more transparency, and the ability to potentially turn their roaming cost center into a profit center by allowing them to reimagine the possibilities of what roaming could be.

Monetizing Network Slicing with Universal Commerce within 5G

Network slicing is a feature of 5G technology that allows operators to create multiple virtual networks each tailored for the specific needs of the end user, all on the same physical infrastructure. BCE provides the flexibility and efficiency required to manage and monetize these tailored network slices.  

This capability enhances user experience and creates new revenue opportunities for operators by offering differentiated services that cater to specific needs and preferences. Operators can introduce 5G roaming, tiered, and custom services to capture new forms of revenue

Because new business models and premium services are going to be needed for operators to unlock the revenues imagined for network slicing, a new way of exchanging and billing for these services is needed.  By adding in the new efficiencies of billing and charging to the optimization of network elements, Universal Commerce can help operators maximize the utility of their networks, both from a solution and monetization perspective.

How Will 5G Disrupt the Market?

Overall, 5G will be a catalyst for change, driving digital transformation across multiple industries and altering the competitive landscape.  BCE is set to disrupt the telecom market with new services and business models. By helping operators accelerate their innovation, and aid business transformations, BCE will allow the monetization piece of these changes more efficiently and creatively.  The disruption ranges from IoT and smart cities to immersive augmented and virtual reality applications. This disruption extends to billing and charging processes, where BCE’s flexibility, efficiency, and real-time capabilities are indispensable.

Capture New Revenue Opportunities with BCE

BCE empowers operators transitioning to 5G to streamline mobile device charging and clearing processes. Furthermore, BCE for 5G offers operators opportunities to monetize their 5G networks through innovative services such as 5G roaming. This opens new revenue streams in the era of next-generation connectivity. 

Syniverse’s unified platform allows operators to capitalize on emerging technology with BCE and 5G across the globe. The platform enhances operational efficiency by optimizing clearing and settlement processes for data roaming traffic, ultimately empowering operators to boost revenues and reduce costs. 

Get Universal Commerce for BCE! 

( VP Outsourced Carrier Solutions )

Emma Blatch is VP of Product for Outsource Carrier Solutions at Syniverse. With decades of experience advocating for customers, she has spent the last 5 years working on delivering innovative solutions that help both Carrier and Enterprise customers monetize 5G, IoT, and all variations of roaming. Specializing in Clearing and Settlement solutions Emma uses her extensive expertise to create innovative solutions that bridge the gap between mobile operators and their customers, partners, and clients. Emma’s commitment to advancing the mobile roaming landscape has made a significant impact on shaping the future of global telecom services.



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