Data Drives Profitability: Removing the Risk from OBR


Origin Based Rating (OBR) can hurt a transit carrier’s profitability in two ways:

They can either block risky voice traffic or carry traffic and charge the highest surcharges. 

Both options can result in loss of market share and reduced profitability.

Transit carriers have to take action to address these risks  in a market where roaming revenues are collapsing, and margins are already thin.

The challenge is to gain greater visibility into their traffic and route it with confidence. Transit carriers that take action will grow traffic volumes and capture higher margins.

A recent traffic impact assessment for France revealed a cost difference of up to 30% in rated records when compared to pre-OBR charging. This did not account for the risk associated with invalid CLIs. This is a small snapshot of the scale of the opportunity in addressing OBR and not just in Europe. Surcharges are appearing in markets across the globe. 

CLI/ANI Validation

If OBR is a problem, what can a transit carrier do about it?

CLI/ANI validation can be an effective measure to mitigate against surcharge risks.

As a minimum, originating carriers and transit carriers need to validate the A-number (CLI/ANI) in order to identify spoofed origination. Demonstrating that the CLI is valid, as defined by the official regulator’s numbering plan in the country of origin, will mitigate against the largest penalty fees, which can be as high as 35 euros. More advanced analysis is also possible, such as A-number frequency checking and CLI call back, which can be used to single out spoofed CLIs.

To perform most A-number validation techniques, transit carriers must have access to complete, accurate and up-to-date number plan information for each country. In addition, they must be able to activate that data at the switch in order to make real-time decisions.

Origin Based Rating is Disrupting the Voice Market 

Lee Suker, XConnect’s Market Development Director, explains the issues and challenges created by the introduction of Origin Based Rating in Europe.

Data is a Differentiator

The quality of a transit carrier’s global number plan data sets is crucial to CLI validation – and mitigating the largest OBR penalties.

An expert in telecoms data can offer these data sets as a regular download or through a real-time query, such as enum or http.

When a transit carrier has access to these data sets, it can make accurate decisions about how to manage its traffic and reduce OBR risk. Otherwise, it is forced to make decisions about its traffic that can be costly to its business. With the right data, it can be confident that it is maximising profitability while protecting against surcharges.

However, this only goes part of the way to helping transit carriers. Speed of deployment is critical, and many carriers are constrained by their technology as well as a lack of resources. 

The best data providers also offer a SIP-based filter service, to identify and reject calls based on CLI intelligence via a Global Number Range database. This service uses SIP response codes to facilitate block or overflow and can be used by almost every transit carrier.  The best providers enable common data to be accessed in real-time by routing, rating, and fraud management systems.

As OBR continues to grow, organisations will have to take action at some point. The ones that start now will only save more than their competitors. They will have more resources to reinvest in their businesses and overall, they’ll be prepared for a future where OBR is common across different geographies. The key is to get started now, as the benefits to a carrier’s balance sheet will only grow.     

Get in touch if you’d like to speak XConnect to discuss an OBR audit or building an OBR roadmap.

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