NEC and Netcracker’s CGF Solution Enables NTT DOCOMO to Lead Charge for New 5G Service Monetization
by Ron Westfall | January 23, 2023

The News: NEC and Netcracker’s CGF solution provided to NTT DOCOMO for the processing of billing data, which has become intricate due to the increasing sophistication of service menus. Read the Netcracker Press Release here.

NEC and Netcracker’s CGF Solution Enables NTT DOCOMO to Lead Charge for New 5G Service Monetization

Analyst Take: NEC and Netcracker’s CGF solution provides NTT DOCOMO the charging gateway capabilities key to ensuring the monetization of swiftly evolving 5G services. The new Charging Gateway Function (CGF) solution began operating in December 2022 as a gateway-packaged product that connects DOCOMO’s existing standalone 5G mobile core network (SA 5GC), which was supplied by NEC, to its business support system (BSS) for customer administration and billing. By organizing a vast array of billing information sent from 5GC and linking it to the BSS, the CGF enables more efficient billing processing, while supporting the launch, provision, and monetization of new services.

To meet DOCOMO’s specific 5G network requirements, NEC built a CGF packaged product which includes a gateway that combines meticulously defined packaged products and the company’s well-honed technical expertise in the development of connection systems. DOCOMO is using a CGF solution provided by Netcracker using the CGF product from DigitalRoute. From my view, NEC and Netcracker’s vast experience using DigitalRoute products provides the foundation to streamline billing processes with CGF packaged products, further advancing the trio’s well-established 5G monetization alliance.

I see NEC’s role as lead integrator helps ensure DOCOMO payment services attain connectivity to the CGF while simultaneously minimizing the development requirements for external systems. The CGF’s flow control function defines the processing flow of billing information for each service, providing dynamic support for new services and scalability that enables online processing of billing information.

Now the CGF can respond swiftly to service menu modifications without requiring new development for each instance, paving the way for rapid monetization of new services. I view CGF as a quantum leap forward from the traditional manual-intensive, months-long process of updating billing systems to accommodate even modest service changes and charging modifications.

Also, I believe the NEC Netcracker and DigitalRoute coalition should prioritize working with DOCOMO in applying AIOps to improve CGF efficiencies that further accelerate time to market and the monetization of new 5G services. For example, DOCOMO is already using Ericsson AI-based RAN optimization in areas such as classifying cell performance issues, enhancing performance insights, and recommending changes. Accordingly, DOCOMO should seize NEC/Netcrackers and DigitalRoute CGF innovations as a sales and marketing opportunity to up its AI and AIOps 5G ecosystem credentials.

Wrapping up, I view the NEC and Netcracker CGF solution using DigitalRoute CGF capabilities as critical to advancing NTT DOCOMO 5G monetization goals in key areas such as streamlining billing processes, advancing BSS modernization, and swiftly monetizing new 5G services. In sum, 5G monetization innovation is vital to the prime NTT DOCOMO goal of sharpening the differentiation of its 5G service offerings in full accord with improving the overall customer experience and significantly improving its business outcomes.

Disclosure: Futurum Research is a research and advisory firm that engages or has engaged in research, analysis, and advisory services with many technology companies, including those mentioned in this article. The author does not hold any equity positions with any company mentioned in this article.

Analysis and opinions expressed herein are specific to the analyst individually and data and other information that might have been provided for validation, not those of Futurum Research as a whole.

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About the Author

Ron is an experienced research expert and analyst, with over 20 years of experience in the digital and IT transformation markets. He is a recognized authority at tracking the evolution of and identifying the key disruptive trends within the service enablement ecosystem, including software and services, infrastructure, 5G/IoT, AI/analytics, security, cloud computing, revenue management, and regulatory issues. Read Full Bio.