Global Mobile Operator LATAM

Success Stories

Vertical

Solution

Policy Control & Charging

Industry

Mobile

Region

LATAM

“Allot’s comprehensive Policy Control and Charging solutions enable new revenue streams from application based services, and prevent revenue leakage caused by fraudulent use of the service. The result is a differentiated service that increases prepaid customer loyalty and ARPU”

Challenge

Differentiate prepaid services and establish a migration path to postpaid services.
Stop revenue leakage caused by fraudulent use of zero-rated services

Solution

Allot Policy Control & Charging solution powered by Allot Service Gateway Tera and Allot SMP for application-based charging and fraud prevention.

Benefits

 

  • Differentiate prepaid service
  • Increase service uptake
  • Prevent charging fraud
  • Stop revenue leakage

Global CSP Grabs Mobile Data Market-Share with Zero-Rated Apps

 

About Global Service Provider

This global communication service provider (Global CSP) operates mobile networks in numerous countries spanning multiple continents where mobile infrastructure often outpaces or eclipses fixed network infrastructure. To date, approximately 90% of their market comprises prepaid customers and 10% are postpaid.

 

Challenge

Prepaid users are price-sensitive consumers and churn is a constant concern. In 2014, Global CSP was the first in the region to differentiate prepaid services by introducing packages that bundled prepaid usage allowances with unlimited (i.e., zero rated) use of popular social apps such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Line, and Twitter. Zero-rating is powered by Allot Service Gateway which monitors each free application and zero-rates its bandwidth consumption in real time so that it is not charged against the customer’s prepaid data allowance. In fact, zero-rated apps can still be used, even when the data allowance is used up. The “Free Social” prepaid plans were initially trialed in only one country. Uptake was immediate and the service became quite popular in a very short time, gaining market share and revenue for the operator. Following this success, zero-rated services were launched in other countries as well.

 

As the “Free Social” prepaid plans gained traction, the global CSP began to notice network utilization statistics that did not make sense. When reconciling the subscriber usage volume reported by GGSN systems with the subscriber usage volume from the billing system, they noticed significant volume discrepancies. The exceptions indicated that some customers who had used up their prepaid data allowance were still accessing the Internet free of charge. Apparently, the system failed to redirect some prepaid customers to the service portal to top us their allowance. In some countries, the discrepancy was more than 10% of usage volume, which translated to revenue loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars per month. The global CSP needed to find out why this was happening and stop the revenue leakage.

 

Solution

Originally, in addition to Allot Service Gateway, the different countries deployed Allot Smart Data Source in order to obtain accurate data records so they could analyze usage trends and online behavior that would help them identify different market segments and refine their zero-rated services offerings accordingly. Now they employed Allot Smart Data Source to discover why the redirect to captive portal wasn’t working as expected. A focused investigation revealed that some users were engaging in fraudulent practices that enabled them to bypass the top-up and other terms of use.

 

Allot’s comprehensive PCC solution enables the global CSP countries to mitigate fraudulent use as it occurs, and to prevent it from happening in the future. Let’s take a closer look at the fraud scenarios and how they are stopped.

 

Captive portal domain forging. When prepaid data allowance is used up, customers are redirected automatically to a captive portal where they can top up their allowance or purchase a new data plan. Redirection to a captive portal requires permission for operational protocols such as DNS, ICMP, and DHCP as well as the portal itself to be accessed by the prepaid user. Customers were taking advantage of this permission policy in two ways: either to tunnel traffic through the permitted protocols, or to forge their domain to be the operator captive portal using an IP proxy so they could “fool” the system and bypass data charges. Using these methods, fraudsters could purchase the most basic pay-as-you-go data plan, use up the allowance, and continue to access data free of charge! The global CSP has successfully stopped the fraud by configuring Allot’s captive portal function to validate redirected traffic and verify that the destination IP host is indeed one of the authorized captive portal server IPs. Allot policy was used to put a bandwidth limit on DNS/ICMP/DHCP/Windows OCSP protocols so tunneling could not be used to bypass data charges.

 

Zero-rated domain forging: Users of the operator’s prepaid “Free Facebook” plan are redirected to a dedicated portal where they can access a limited set of Facebook features called “Free Basics.” Some customers were using VPN anonymity tools to spoof the domain of the destination host in the HTTP header, making it look as if they were going to the Free Basics domain. This trick enabled fraudsters to get to other destinations and avoid data charges. The global CSP now employs a User Defined Signature to validate the host and referrer in the HTTP header. In addition Allot policy is used to block VPN and anonymity applications that are being used to perpetrate fraud.

 

Deployment

Allot’s service delivery platform, Allot Service Gateway Tera, is deployed at critical network junctures in each country, where it monitors and enforces charging policy per user and per application. Central management and real-time charging are provided by Allot NetXplorer and Allot Subscriber Management Platform (SMP) respectively.

 

Benefits

Allot’s comprehensive policy control and charging solutions enable the global CSP to reap important business benefits every day as it:

 

  • Differentiates prepaid services and revenue

The global CSP’s ability to offer zero-rating on one, few, or many applications, made its prepaid service more attractive than competing plans, increasing prepaid service uptake and loyalty.

  • Stops revenue leakage

The global CSP countries save hundreds of thousands of dollars per month in revenue leakage, which over time, could have increased to even greater losses with a significant impact on profitability.

  • Fosters a prepaid-to-postpaid migration path

Fast uptake of prepaid application-based services have enabled the global CSP to advance its goal of growing the customer relationship and migrating prepaid users to postpaid plans that also offer zero-rate applications at competitive price points.

 

Conclusion

With Allot Policy Control and Charging solution, the global CSP is able to offer attractive service plans based on Internet content and apps that are relevant to its target segments. Allot solutions assure accurate real-time charging and continue to prevent charging fraud that has saved hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue leakage. As a result, the global CSP is able to leverage popular applications and content by bundling these into their service packages.

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