Prepaid, Postpaid, and Hybrid Services

Published: 15th April 2011
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Prepaid services are stepping into the light and becoming an essential part of the lineup for service providers that compete with blended service bundles that mix pre and post-paid services within an account. As a result, billing systems are also continuously evolving in order to support these developing portfolios.

Hybrid service models are said to increase the value for a prepaid customer, especially if it includes a loyalty or bonus program that will entice them to remain with the same operator. Converged services also add to the likelihood of prepaid customers to employ premium services (something most prepaid customers typically shy away from) because of the better value they provide.

Hybrid services are quickly becoming a function of a need for service modernization. Service providers are often hindered by uncompromising systems in efforts to roll out new service sets. How could this be? Unfortunately, offers vary depending upon how you pay. Traditionally, there are two different infrastructures for pre and postpaid services, causing providers to be constrained and unable to create compelling offers.

According to Intec Telecom Systemsí director of business solutions, Jack Storer, "service providers are in the midst of a transition. With declining voice revenues, they are trying to become media and content companies. They are competing in this space with anything from cable companies to Web companies, such as Google, Yahoo! Inc., iTunes and Netflix Inc. In order to effectively compete with these new adversaries, service providers will have to invest heavily in their legacy BSS infrastructures to become more flexible."

When it comes to consumers, enterprises and customers are generally looking for "family" plans that allow different billing rules to be applied to different people within the same account, and customization in the way of a-la-carte bundle building. With family plans, for example, a number of selected salesmen or women within a company may be given a prepaid account for text messaging and unlimited postpaid voice access. Also, customers are insistent upon more e-commerce and content options, which tend to involve prepaid models.

All of these evolving services come with an increased expectation of customer care. Regardless of whether they are prepaid, postpaid, hybrid, or part of an a-la-carte or family plan, customers want the ability to mix and match data, messaging, voice, community and family services with convenient payment options. Without those options, customers are much less likely to increase service usage, implement new services, or pay for more than a fairly basic plan.

Source: Prepaid, Postpaid, and Hybrid Services

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