Telco Call Accounting
Call accounting is a telecommunications software or hardware application
used to capture, records, and monetizes telephone usage events.
Internationally call accounting systems may be referred to as call
logging systems. Call accounting systems detect outbound and inbound
calls, call ring outs, call routings, abandoned calls, and other
How Call Accounting Systems Work
Generally, call accounting systems:
- Collect data from a key system, a PBX, iPBX, or Voice over IP
(VOIP) gateway generated by service activity on all or selected
phone extensions or devices.
- The system attaches costs and possibly revenues to that activity.
- More sophisticated call accounting systems will actually provision
services on the PBX's and communications servers.
- Traditional PBX's and send calling activity information out
of a serial port or via a proprietary TCP/IP network service.
- The call accounting system has a capturing module or a capturing
hardware device that is then able to store the data and feed data
to and from the rating engine.
- More recent iPBX's provide access to information by retaining
it in online data bases for extraction by external systems.
- The voice related data collected usually includes calling party,
date, time, duration, destination party and authorization or account
code. This data is sometimes called Call
Detail Recording (CDR) or Station Message Detail Recording
Common Applications of Call Accounting
Typical uses for Call Accounting include:
- Cost and Revenue Optimisation
- Staff Productivity
- Corporate Accounting - Service Billing and Provisioning / Departmental
and Employee Chargeback
Cost and Revenue Optimization
Telecommunications professionals use call accounting to support
enterprise voice quality of service analysis, to manage costs downward,
to manage revenue and profit yield upward, for carrier invoice reconciliation
and teleco negotiation, and for monitoring phone misuse and abuse.
Call accounting systems are also used within inbound and outbound
call centers to provide data from which to manage staff on-phone
productivity and effectivenes.
Service Billing and Provisioning - Call accounting
systems providing packaging, pricing, provisioning, billing, and
posting or presentment of telephone services for purposes of revenue
generation. This type of system is commonly used by professional
services firms for account code or client based billing of phone
usage. These call accounting systems often provide accessible application-specific
rating and provisioning capabilities found generally on carrier-level
operational support systems (OSS) and business support systems (BSS).
Departmental and Employee Chargeback - to allocate
costs back to divisions, departments, and even individual employees.
Data is often connected directly to corporate accounting and human
Forms of Call Accounting
Call accounting capabilities can be acquired in several forms:
Stand Alone Hardware Device
Generally static with limited features, intended to support a single
Stand Alone Server Software
Has more robust features to support a single or small number of
phone switches and users. These solutions need management self standing
system[s], adding to the total cost of ownership.
Centralized Enterprise Software
Call accounting provided from a hosted multi-property enterprise
server solution. Centralized Enterprise solutions provide more robust
features to support large numbers of distributed phone switches
and users, without the complexity of many distributing systems scattered
across the enterprise.
Enterprise call accounting systems centralize management and monitoring
of call accounting across an enterprise. They may be deployed over
an enterprise WAN, VPN, or public internet.
Key benefits of centralized, rather than distributed call accounting
- Lower cost of ownership
- Consistent distribution of features and functions across an
- Operate from a single, real time databases
- Capable of supporting more than one telephone PBX/PABX
- Provide an easier upgrade path to deploy new services, such
Software as a Service [SaaS]
Call accounting software functionality can be accessed as an online
software service, typically hosted by the software vendor.
SaaS providers often offer optional levels of:
- Systems monitoring
- Analysis services
The advantages of using this model are:
- Operational simplicity
- Provides greater software capability
- Better return on investment and total lifecycle cost of ownership
- Avoids need for management resources
Web services is a recent approach to call accounting when using
VOIP enabled phone portals and devices. This is achieved by embedding
call accounting information into telephony devices as part of a
service oriented architecture (SOA). This is distinct from embedding
an entire call accounting software package into your voice solution.
Instead, it refers to embedding integration to a centrally hosted
call accounting web service with your overall telephone solution.
Web services is generally a very inexpensive way to get customized
access to sophisticated call accounting features and eliminate the
need to manage technology to get that capability.
Trends In Call Accounting
There are several trends in call accounting:
- Integrating Call Accounting and Management Services
- Centrally Hosted Call Accounting - where Telco systems fail
to provide what the customer needs to manage cost effectiveness.
- Integrated Call Accounting and Management Services - Call accounting
systems are increasingly augmented with telemanagement/telemanager
services. Call accounting data often requires expert analysis
from which to leverage its value.
- Integrating voice and broadband internet accounting into one
accounting platform - to support voice and data convergence. These
call accounting systems also provide billing, provisioning, and
accounting for broadband internet services. Often called "communications
accounting systems", and may be distributed or centralized.
- Centrally Hosted Call Accounting - displacing distributed standalone
premise-based call accounting systems. Application service providers
(ASP's) also provide call accounting as an internet based service,
usually bundled with related telecommunications services.
Call Accounting Solutions
Advanced VoIP - VoIP Billing - Internet Telephony
Service Providers (ITSPs) providing voice and data services.
Atreus Systems Atreus xAuthority - Flexible, carrier-grade
operations support system (OSS) based on a "one platform, many
services" architecture model.
Axiom Systems AXiOSS- Platform that empowers communications
service providers with the ability to design, create and deliver
next generation Triple Play services such as IPTV and VoIP, over
agnostic broadband and IP networks.
Osage Software Systems FUNL - Provides telcos
with real-time collection, analysis, and monitoring of call detail
Telecost Telecost - Web Centric call logging,
call accounting, and call management software system.
Telesens Tinterconnect - Manages settlements between
Telcos; large international and national carriers and small regional
MegaCall - Telecom Expense Management With A Web-Enabled
Call Accounting And Billing System
Teradata Call Accounting -
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More Detail on Telco BI Strategy, Program & Technology
Telco BI Solutions Index | Strategic
Performance Management | Campaign Management
| Cross Sell / Up Sell | Profitability
| Customer Management | Customer
Segmentation | Customer Profitability
| Customer Retention | Call
Accounting | Payment Risk Management
| Price_Plan Optimisation | Revenue
Assurance | Order Management System
| Least Cost Routing