For mobile operators, the future of pricing lies in flexible billing systems

Tiered pricing is one of the hottest topic for North American and European operators. The rapid development of mobile internet and the arrival of 4G networks in these countries sparked a lot of reflexion and changes in the way operators bill for their services.Canada, for example, has recently seen a lot of confusion around a new billing regulation regarding Internet services.

A decision taken last month by the Ottawa-based Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission that would made it uneconomical for the providers to offer packages with no limits on Internet has just been overruled by Canada’s Industry Minister.

By comparison, emerging markets and Asia Pacific markets seemmore mature in regards to their pricing strategies.“It seems operators in Asia, for example, better evaluate the true cost of delivering services and they develop smarter pricing strategies as a result,” said Humera Malik, director of global marketing at for an international telecom billing vendor.Rather than look at service lifecycles, Malik believes it is the lifecycle of the subscriber that will inevitably become most important to track with 4G services.

The multiplicity of profiles for these users will force the operators to understand them better and offer packages that will appear attractive to them, including the non-savvy ones. This better understanding of customer profiles and desires can only be obtained through  a complete convergence of provisioning, activation, billing and customer care.To manage services and build compelling price plans, operators will need sophisticated monitoring and analytics, as well as much more advanced marketing and customer care tactics.

Operators will have to be more flexible and offer a wider range of packages, options and promotions to optimize customer satisfaction and revenue. They should already make sure their systems provide this flexibility and adaptability.

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