Nepal Telecom to launch convergent real time billing

KATHMANDU, APR 18: Nepal Telecom (NT) has said it is preparing to introduce a convergent real time billing (CRTB) system to allow its customers to conveniently pay all kinds of bills through a single billing platform.

Once the new system is launched, the telecommunication service provider will be able to integrate its different services into a single account and then provide an integrated paying system to users through a common account.

The CRTB system refers to a solution used by communication service providers operating multiple services in multiple modes to integrate the services and maintain a single billing platform.

Currently, the state-owned telecommunication service provider, which offers a number of telecom services including GSM, CDMA and landline, has been using different billing mechanisms for each of its services.  “We are currently working on transferring the data of our GSM prepaid service to introduce the CRTB system,” said Pratibha Vaidya, spokesperson at NT, adding that the data of other services too would be subsequently migrated. The last phase of the data migration in the GSM prepaid category, which is scheduled to take place on Friday night, from 9 pm to 4 am, is likely to cause disturbances to as many as 3.8 million GSM prepaid phone subscribers of NT.

According to Vaidya, NT has successfully conducted two different phases of the data migration, and the one being conducted on Friday night is the last one.

“The 3.8 million users will not necessarily be affected. We have circulated a notice to make sure that people are aware about what is happening even if there is any disturbance,” Vaidya said.

Once the migration of the data is done, there will be a number of technical upgrades and integration to bring the CRTB system into operation.

According to Vaidya, NT service users will be able to integrate their different service accounts and make proper utilization as per need.

“Presently, GSM and CDMA users have to use two different recharge cards to top off their accounts. This can be done using a single account once the CRTB system goes into effect,” Vaidya said.

Likewise, NT plans to offer different integrated schemes once the new billing system is in operation. “There might be schemes like using a certain amount of talk time in the CDMA account will earn some free SMS in the GSM account,” Vaidya said.

According to a Nepal Telecom munications Authority (NTA) report, NT held a 46 percent market share with 11.87 million subscribers across the country as of January. NT has 9.9 million GSM mobile phone users and 1.18 million CDMA mobile phone users. With regard to fixed telephone line service, it has 661,210 PSTN service users and 123,373 WLL service users. In the internet/date market too, NT has a significant hold with its market share standing at 57.76 percent. NT has 5.93 million data service users.

Of the total, a significant chunk, 5.64 million subscribers, use data through GPRS, EDGE and WCDMA services; 133,752 use the internet through ADSL and 136,573 use the internet through CDMA and EVDO services.