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Department of Informatics - Communication Systems Group

Auction-based Charging and User-centric System (AbaCUS)

Nowadays, in mobile communication only the Mobile Network Operator (MNO) of the callee is able to terminate his calls. Thus, in the MNOs call-termination market there is only one player profiting from call-termination rates; in turn this market is considered to be a de facto monopoly since the early days of the introduction of commercial mobile communication services. Given this monopoly fact, the only solution against a potential speculation by MNOs was the regulation of termination rates. However, since the initiation of mobile communications, many issues on mobile terminal devices and network infrastructure have changed. Furthermore, today the mobile networks infrastructure does not support only voice services but data as well. In such an environment multiple MNOs could terminate a call. However, in this case the caller has to set only his final cost preference without any knowledge on MNOs termination rate charging policies. Therefore, this project considers those changes and challenges the monopoly of the MNOs call-termination by proposing an Auction-based Charging and User-centric System called “AbaCUS”, which overcomes the monopoly obstacle of this market. The key characteristic of the auction proposed for AbaCUS is the honest bid that participants are “forced” to make. Finally, this project is expected to show that MNOs will benefit by the existence of a call-termination-free market through the establishment of Quality-of-Service (QoS)-guaranteed services.

AbaCUS Protocol

Within the AbaCUS approach a caller is flexible to use the voice-service provider of his choice, such as VoIP, MNOs, and FNOs, in order to place a call. The caller can reach the callee by dialing directly his MSISDN. In this case the host MNO will collect the call-termination rate. However, a competitive MNO may generate a virtual MSISDN and allow to the callee to register in his network. Thus, the caller may dial the virtual MSISDN and reach the callee. In that case the guest MNO will profit from the termination rate. Multiple MNOs can participate in an auction, where the caller will request to place a call, reach a callee in a specific location, and demands a certain QoS-guarantee for the duration of this call. This demand is expressed by QoS Classes (QoS-C), which contain parameters related to the sound quality and the network-access waiting-time. MNOs bidding in the auction will reply to this request by proposing their charging demand. The charging demand is expressed by the Termination Rate Classes (TeR-Cs), which contain a potential start-up cost and the desired charging rate. Finally, on a referee role during the AbaCUS auction is the Auction Authority (Au2), which receives call requests from callers and from MNOs the selected TeR-C preference per QoS-C.

AbaCUS Demo



The source code has been published under GPL v3.

UZH Personnel


Inquiries may be directed to the local Swiss project management:

Prof. Dr. Burkhard Stiller
University of Zürich, IFI
Binzmühlestrasse 14
CH-8050 Zürich
Phone: +41 44 635 67 10
Fax: +41 44 635 68 09