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BLOG: Mobile payments in the fast lane

Curt Champion | April 3, 2012
How policy and charging control can enable mobile payments

If you are like most people, you have evolved in your cell phone usage from calls, to texts and data. The trouble is, while consumer demand on wireless network capacity is boundless, the supply is, and always will be, limited.

This will have to be taken into account as new services such as mobile billing are rolled out. Although not every mobile payment method relies on riding the rails of wireless carriers, many do and those wireless transactions need to be extremely reliable. The way wireless carriers can ensure that some traffic is prioritised is through the use of a Policy and Charging Control (PCC) capability.

PCC is software wireless carriers can implement to create a series of rules and policies that dictate if, and how, a data transaction takes place on their network. The first thing it controls is the connection itself; "Is this Internet address supported on this network?" Once past that hurdle, PCC can address the quality of service (QoS) which can dictate the speed and the prioritisation of the transaction on the network.

Prioritising transactions 

In other words, wireless carriers with PCC capabilities can put your transaction into the fast lane and increase the reliability of the service much the same way a car might use an HOV lane to speed past cars stuck in traffic in the regular lanes.

So for your mobile payments solution, how do you ensure that your transactions are prioritised? There is no easy answer, and the only way to do it is on a one-to-one basis working with each wireless carrier. But those conversations should be incorporated into the plan for any mobile payments solution, and the time to do it is well before your customers are complaining that their transactions are failing due to congestion. Understanding what a PCC platform can do is one key to a solid deployment.

Curt Champion is senior director, global telecoms marketing at Convergys.



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