Partner monetization capabilities are critical because the primary goal for all parties in a digital ecosystem is to generate revenue. Platform providers such as Amazon Web Services, Google Ads and YouTube are successful not only because of their platforms’ functional capabilities but also because it is easy for partners to understand how to use them to earn revenue. This platform approach is new territory for CSPs that are accustomed to selling pre-defined products through channels with very basic revenue-sharing capabilities.
In a partner platform setting, operators should look for solutions that provide:
A single billing platform
The solution should support all variations of partner models including complex multi-partner models. That means B2B, B2B2B, and any number of B2B2X levels and combinations.
Support for a variety of service models
The platform should be set up to manage many different ways of doing business and should provide support for machine-to-machine, IoT, over the top and mobile virtual network operator models.
Support for complex hierarchical billing and ‘billing on behalf’ capabilities
Simply put, CSPs need to be able to bill enterprises and consumers in the way they want to be billed. This includes being able to bill and collect payment for partners’ services, similar to the way Roku allows its users to subscribe to and pay for partners’ streaming services, like HBO, Netflix and Sling TV, through a secure payment account, right through the streaming device.
Flexible data charging and cross-product discounting
Operators should be able to support a wide variety of charging models such as one-time, usage-based, recurring, spot pricing, ‘freemium’ and sponsored data. And the solution must make it easy for partners to create bundles and service combinations and price them competitively.
Robust multi-party settlement capabilities and data reconciliation
CSPs must be able to ensure that all parties are paid what they deserve while also accounting for adjustments, refunds, credits and other post-facto events across all parties. These capabilities should be automated. Operators also must be able to demonstrate billing and settlement accuracy, and help mediate disputes.
Dynamic, real-time charging to support on-demand 5G network slicing
In the future, operators will be expected to charge for new types of events such as slicing so they will need solutions that deliver complex real-time rating and charging capabilities.