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MOBILE DEVICES SECURITY AND BILLING FOR 40M+ SUBSCRIBERS

Led by the government, this solution enables the optimization of mobile service network security and quality, protects consumers from the toxic effects of lead commonly found in non-compliant devices, and prevents theft and counterfeit mobile devices.

Overview

In order to prevent the use of stolen and counterfeit handsets, which was essential with 40 million active subscribers nationwide, the Ministry of Telecommunications envisioned the development of a bespoke solution that would verify mobile devices used across the country’s four mobile networks.

As such, the Ministry envisioned the development of a bespoke solution. Considering the number of connected users nationwide, reliability and scalability were essential, and failure to deliver either would compromise network security and user accessibility to mobile services.

The purpose of the solution was to optimize mobile service network security and quality, protect consumers from the toxic effects of lead commonly found in non-compliant devices, and prevent theft and counterfeit mobile devices.

CME was tasked with creating the solution, with a first version to be deployed within a three-month period, for several purposes, including international mobile equipment identity (IMEI) detection and authentication, billing, and collection processing, providing users with device and billing information, and ensuring the Ministry received detailed reporting.

Challenges

1

Security And Service
Optimization

As the government body responsible for specific standards and procedures, the Ministry was tasked with optimizing security and service quality for the four national mobile networks.

2

Preventing The Use
Of Counterfeit Devices

To maintain ethical standards, safeguard responsible operations, and prevent illegal activities, the Ministry aimed to preventing mobile device counterfeiting by disconnecting non-compliant devices.

3

Blocking Stolen
Devices

In addition to counterfeit devices, the Ministry’s remit also included preventing the use of stolen mobile devices by blocking any device declared as stolen.

4

Applying Annual
Service Fees

A final challenge was successfully applying an annual fee for the solution’s services, with sums and installments depending on the device and user’s profile.

What We Did

Creation of IMEI national register

We created the national IMEI register with associated SIM cards. In doing so, the Ministry could verify that mobile devices used across the four networks were valid. This would be maintained with automatic IMEI detection and authentication, and unauthorized devices would be promptly disconnected.

Provision of automatic billing and collection

When mobile devices were authenticated on the network, the solution would automatically verify the subscriber’s billing status. Other complexities were to be managed through the solution, including multiple SIM devices, SIM swapping, cloned devices, roaming users, yearly/monthly installments, payment failures, negative billing, implementing incentive mechanisms, and blocking devices that exceeded payment delays.

User interfaces and SMS broadcasting

We developed interfaces that enabled users to register their device with a multi-SIM option, check balances and device status, and report a stolen device whenever required. Each of these actions could be done through unstructured supplementary service data (USSD), short message service center (SMSC), or service website integration. Moreover, the solution facilitated the communication with users by adding broadcast capabilities of millions of SMS messages daily.

Instrumentation and performance portal

Through the business intelligence (BI) and administration portal, the Ministry would be able to access reports and dashboards in real-time, as well as generate and send invoices. Furthermore, instrumentation boards would support performance and load tracking, secure solution integrity, enable real-time system activity and multi-thread process monitoring, and control load balancing by processing over 40 million requests daily.

Oversee mobile operator integration

The final stage of the approach entailed full integration with the country’s four mobile network operators’ online charging system (OCS), home subscriber server (HSS), home location register (HLR), REST APIs, and SMPP gateway, which was achieved in less than three months.

The impact

Secured mobile network device quality

The solution provided the Ministry of Telecommunications with the ability to track all IMEI registered devices, boosting efforts to prevent the use of counterfeit and stolen devices.

Successful device registration on mobile networks

Inspired by the above approach, the solution also created a centralized database of mobile devices across networks. This resulted in consolidating mobile user data by linking user and device information through a unique national database.

Acclaimed initiative and additional revenue

Meeting the three-month deadline, the Ministry launched the initiative without delay, with efforts supported by a national communication campaign. The Ministry also generated additional income for the government through new bill fees, with the solution becoming a viable, hassle-free way for the government to handle and control all billing aspects.

A scalable, reliable, and future-proof platform

A scalable solution that handled huge information loads, scaled in case of expected or unanticipated load increases, and capable of hosting additional Ministry services whenever required.

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