NEC Provides Billing Gateway for DOCOMO's Standalone 5G System


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NEC Corporation has provided NTT DOCOMO, INC. with a Charging Gateway Function (CGF) for high-performance processing of billing information, which is becoming increasingly complex due to the growing sophistication of service menus.

The CGF began operating in December 2022 as a gateway-packaged product that connects DOCOMO's existing standalone 5G mobile core network (SA 5GC), which was provided by NEC, to its business support system (BSS) for customer administration and billing. By organizing the wide variety of billing information sent from 5GC and linking to the BSS, the CGF enables efficient billing processing, while supporting the rapid launch, provision and monetization of new services.

Service menus utilizing 5G are becoming more diverse, and the development of new services beyond packet communications, SMS and voice communications is expected to continue advancing in the future. For this reason, telecommunications carriers are demanding packaged products that can flexibly support new services. In the BSS area, there is a demand to introduce Fit to Standard packaged products that can flexibly handle new services and are aligned with IT strategies. However, when using a packaged product for a gateway, it is necessary to develop connections for the parts of the system where information such as BSS is linked. Therefore, building a new gateway requires excellent packaged products and know-how in the development of connection systems. Based on this background, as an advanced initiative in the industry, NEC has introduced a CGF packaged product at the request of DOCOMO.

Features of this initiative include:

1. Efficient billing processing with CGF packaged products

DOCOMO has introduced a CGF solution provided by Netcracker Technology (Netcracker), an NEC subsidiary, using the CGF product from DigitalRoute. Netcracker built the robust solution using DigitalRoute's product for high traffic processing to achieve efficient billing. DigitalRoute's CGF packaged products have been deployed at more than 400 businesses around the world and comply with international standards (3GPP). The CGF can organize large amounts of billing information generated for each service, such as packet communications and voice calls, and link it to the BSS for efficient billing processing. Netcracker has extensive global experience implementing solutions based on the DigitalRoute product suite and was instrumental in its implementation at NTT DOCOMO, working closely with NEC as the system integrator and DigitalRoute as the product vendor.

2. Flexible support for new services and scalability through online processing of billing information

This CGF has a flow control function that defines the processing flow of billing information for each service, providing both flexible support for new services and scalability that enables online processing of billing information. As a result, even if the service menu diversifies, it will be possible to flexibly respond without having to undergo new development each time, thereby contributing to the rapid monetization of businesses.

3. Making use of NEC's track record in system development for telecommunications carriers to achieve connectivity while minimizing the development of external systems

NEC has a wealth of experience in developing high-quality systems that support the competitiveness of telecommunications carriers' services, including the development of open source systems that support DOCOMO's payment services. By leveraging this track record and localizing the impact on external systems connected to this CGF, a high-quality system has been achieved while minimizing development.

NEC will continue to leverage this track record to provide 5G networking, BSS, and operation support systems (OSS) to telecommunications carriers as comprehensive high-quality solutions, helping them to quickly launch new services, streamline operations, and improve revenue.

“We are pleased to have worked with NEC as a partner in the introduction of standard products compatible with 5G SA. DOCOMO will continue to swiftly and flexibly provide customers with diversified services and billing systems for next-generation networks, including 5G," said Shin Fujii, Senior Manager, NTT DOCOMO.

“NEC is proud to have provided DOCOMO with this total 5GC system featuring CGF. We have a long history of collaboration with DOCOMO spanning a wide variety of solutions, and we look forward to continuing the provision of high-quality, highly reliable end-to-end networking solutions in the future," said Michio Kiuchi, Senior Vice President, NEC Corporation.

“Netcracker is honored to continue working with DOCOMO, in partnership with NEC and DigitalRoute, to deliver a truly differentiated solution that will provide efficiencies in the billing process resulting in faster time to market and rapid monetization of new services," said Bob Titus, CTO at Netcracker. “We look forward to future success with DOCOMO."

“We are incredibly thrilled to announce that our strategic partnership with NEC has been reinforced through this project for DOCOMO, the No.1 CSP in Japan," said Per-Erik Johansson, SVP, Head of Telecom Sales & Alliances at DigitalRoute. "Our best in class product solutions have been developed through their deployment by many global CSPs. Together with NEC, we are not only enabling DOCOMO's next-generation monetization, we are also driving a competitive edge by being able to expand in new enterprise markets."

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