The title of this blog could be interpreted as provocative, but, this question is something we often need to ask regulators when they enquire about test call generation (TCG). Therefore, we thought we would write a blog in a ‘Frequently Asked Question’ style for any regulator who might be contemplating the use of TCG to prove or disprove compliance.
Can you check regulatory compliance without involving the telecom operator?
Yes!… But how? The answer is simpler than you might think – be a real subscriber! To begin testing a mobile networks compliance, all that you need are a few active SIMs (from a shop) and a TCG.
What can you test with a TCG?
Anything that a real subscriber can do. For example, make phone calls, go on holiday, send text messages, call relatives abroad, browse the internet etc.
How can quality of service, subscriber experience or other service performance metrics be measured?
Our TCGs are used to both send and also receive the calls or text messages using the SIMs. This allows Roscom to record the end-to-end steps of the call (or text) and verify activities during the events to ±100ms. Our TCGs use an independent time source to ensure call log details are accurate.
Due to this independence and accuracy, numerous service assurance risk areas can be tested. This includes service availability, network performance, dropped calls, failed events, SMS delivery times, network dialling delay etc. This is all possible for 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G.
Example regulatory metric tests (not an exhaustive list):
- Does the network offer good signal 24/7 in the sampled location?
- What % of sampled voice calls fail to connect, drop during the call, or succeed completely?
- What % of sampled SMS events fail to send, failed to be delivered, or were successfully delivered?
- What is the average SMS delivery time?
- What is the average network response time?
What is needed to test Metering and Billing compliance?
Usually, telecom operators demonstrate their compliance through Call Detail Records (CDRs) which detail a subscribers activity on the network in an itemised manner. But it is possible to prove compliance without the operator providing CDRs.
For prepaid tariffs, a simple automated balance check before and after every activity on the network will provide the evidence needed to verify billing accuracy.
For postpaid tariffs, likely an online portal will be available to a customer where usage and costs can be checked. These itemised details often include duration and byte counts, or bundle remaining statistics. All of these details can be used independently to verify metering and billing compliance.
Other risk areas that can be tested include: business rule validation (e.g. rounding), tariff rating, bundles, rollovers, provisioning, international calling and roaming.
Our Test Call Generators are the market-leader in accuracy for timing and metering!
How can compliance be measured for Mobile Money?
A test strategy/regime of money transfers can be designed to verify mobile money using TCG. Published Mobile Money business rules related to security and fraud prevention can be verified by testing limits and boundaries via the TCG. Service availability and revenue assurance are both often included in the mobile money testing as all are important factors to delivering an essential service to the end subscriber. Our solutions for Mobile Money are usually bespoke according to the regulatory focus.
What makes Roscom TCG and Roscom itself so special?
- Our TCGs are completely independent to the telecommunications network being tested
- Our TCGs are market-leading in accuracy (±100ms)
- We have been approved for Telecom Systems and Equipment with TÜV SÜD BABT since 2007, that’s over 15 years!
- We are ISO 27001 and 9001 accredited
- We have been Carbon Negative since 2020
What type of regulatory issues can Roscom find? And what can the data be used for?
- Poor service quality
- Failure to meet regulated SLAs or KPIs
- Bad user experience – incorrectly published information, poor customer service help, website problems, short code or IVR interaction issues.
- Benchmarking telecom operator KPIs against each other
To summarise how our regulator mystery shopper projects work:
- No operator input required
- Fully certified test equipment
- Fully auditable and independent end-to-end test results
- Prepaid balance verification
- Online portal postpaid verification
- Working with a trusted and well-established telecom test provider with over 35 years working with network operators and in-country regulators covering billing and service assurance compliance.