Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) is geared to shift its billing services in the State to a nationally integrated call detail record (CDR) system that will replace the existing meter-based billing for landlines.

While 16 of the 17 Secondary Switching Areas (SSAs) in Tamil Nadu Circle have already switched to CDR-based convergent billing, Chennai Telephones is likely to move to the new system by March or April, BSNL sources told The Hindu.

The rollout of the CDR billing system was launched toward the end of 2009.

It is expected that by the end of the month, all SSAs in Tamil Nadu Circle would have integrated billing for an estimated 20 lakh landlines when Coimbatore SSA too moves to new system.

The introduction of CDR-based billing would integrate the entire customer engagement lifecycle through the processes of order management, line provisioning, dunning (automatic reminders of outstanding bills), disconnection, payments and accounting.

The benefits of the single-largest billing reform undertaken in the BSNL are that an integrated and intranet-like CDR-based billing will help to reduce operational cost, increase revenue realisation, plug revenue leakage and minimise fraud.

The department also hopes that the new system will eliminate complaints about excess billing, both from customers as well as other telecom operators who shell out Inter Connection Usage fees for utilising its network.

Unlike conventional billing systems, CDR can consolidate next generation services such as IPTV, Voice over Internet Protocol or Video On Demand on a single billing platform, officials said. From a customer standpoint, CDR billing enhances billing transparency when compared to the existing meter-based system and generates call logs similar to mobile networks.

The CDR system provides a “billing continuum” that allows carry-over of balances to the next bill, a BSNL official said. Besides, BSNL would be able to provide a consolidated bill for corporate customers with several branches across the country.

Chennai Telephones has been exercising caution in rolling out CDR billing due to the complexities associated with migrating an estimated one million landlines in its jurisdiction.

“We want to absolutely certain that there are no glitches for the customer,” Chennai Telephones Chief General Manager A. Subramanian said.