Lee Scargall

Lee is group director of enterprise risk management, with overall responsibility for revenue assurance, fraud, risk management, financial controls, and finance systems at Qtel Group. Based at the head-office in Qatar, Lee provides the leadership and strategy for Qtel Group's 16 business units, covering a combined subscriber base of 83 million people across Middle East, North Africa, and Asia. Lee has over 15 years experience of the telecommunications industry, holding previous positions as Head of revenue assurance and risk management at Cable & Wireless, and also as business development manager at T‑Mobile, UK. Lee has also been employed by Deloitte Consulting, working on projects for both mobile and fixed-line operators across Europe and the US. Lee was awarded a PhD in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, for advanced research in to 3G video-telephony.

Welcome to this month’s LTT. You work for Acme-Telecom and it’s your first day in the job. You receive a phone call from the CFO’s secretary requesting you to meet him at 9am in his office. When you enter the room the Wholesale Manager is also sat at the table with a handful of papers and looking a little dismayed. He shows you the interconnect voice traffic stats for the month, which shows an unexpected decline on Monday 24 November.

LTT - 12

Figure 1: Interconnect voice traffic statistics for November.

The Wholesale Manager also shows you a screenshot of the termination rates being offered on the wholesale market in to Acme-Telecom. One particular company, called Dubious Voice Solutions, is offering rates which are lower than your termination rate.

When you entered the building this morning, you can remember seeing all the posters from the latest marketing campaign, offering 1000 on-net minutes for $2 per month. The launch day was Monday 24 November.

This is your chance to impress the CFO on your first day in the office. He asks you to put together an action plan detailing all the controls, reconciliation, and tests that would help to stop this revenue leakage. He wants to meet you for lunch to discuss your proposal.

What is mostly likely to be the problem, and what would your plan of action be?

  • A = Drop in traffic due to half-term school holidays
  • B = Grey routing / Sim boxing
  • C = Trunk route information missing in i/c billing system
  • D = An increase in the termination rate
  • E = None of the above

Please send your answer along with the plan of action to quiz@talkRA.com – the most comprehensive action plan received will be published on Monday 22 December, as a guest blog.

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The answer to LTT-13 is A = Yes.

Here’s a list of some of some of the fraud risks relating to mobile money.

  • Handset theft.
  • Digital value smurfing.
  • Fraudulent credits.
  • Identity / subscription fraud.
  • Employee collusion.
  • Bank/Agent employee corruption.
  • Mobile malware.
  • Social engineering / impersonation.
  • Phishing / smishing / vishing.
  • SIM swaps.
  • Foreign exchange.
  • Cashing out.
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Congratulations to all those who got the answer correct for LTT-07. They are Wessel Scheepers, Sriram Dharmarajan, Arun Rishi Kapoor, Kamal Khattar, Michael Lazarou, Jeeson Thekkekara, and Guy Howie. 

Analysis of the billing suspense file reveals there is one test call in there, so answer A = true.

4487878712326, 4487878712336, 14/07/2013, 10.41:07, 00:00:20, No rate plan

A further analysis of the mediation suspense file reveals there is also one test call in there, so answer B = true.

_____________, 4487878712338, 14/07/2013, 10.43:09, 00:00:40

And analysis of the consolidated MSC1,2,3 switch file, reveals the remaining test calls were not recorded by any of the MSCs, so it is possible there could be a hidden switch, so answer C = true. Therefore, the right answer is D = (A+B+C).

The next LTT will be published on Monday 19th August.

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Welcome to this month’s LTT.

The Challenge

ACME test call generators have convinced your CFO to accept a free trial of their latest product – the “mobile-mobile TCG analyzer”. Their latest product is branded mobile-mobile because it fits in to the back of a car and allows a mobile operator to test call scenarios across its network from different switch locations. The sender and receiver are housed in the same unit in the back of the car, and it streams near real-time data back to ACME’s head-office for reconciliation against a filtered feed from the billing system.

A schematic of the network diagram is shown below. It shows there are three MSCs, a mediation platform, and a combined rating and billing system. There are two suspense buckets (highlighted in red), where CDRs are dropped for reprocessing [please click on the picture to enlarge].


You receive a call from the ACME account manager alerting you to some missing test call CDRs in the feed from the billing system. The ACME TCG confirms a series of test calls were successfully made between 10.40am and 10.55am on 14 July but were not billed. The CFO asks you to investigate and to report back to him with your findings after lunch.

You have access to the following: The ACME reconciliation report, Billing suspense, Mediation suspense, and a combined MSC1-2-3 switch file.

What would be your answer to the CFO?

  • A – The missing CDRs have dropped in to the billing suspense bucket.
  • B – The missing CDRs have dropped in to the mediation suspense bucket.
  • C – There could be a hidden switch in the network, or
  • D – (A + B + C).

To receive the answer, please send an email to quiz@talkRA.com with LTT-07 in the heading. The next LTT will be published on Monday 19th August.

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This month’s wining answers came from Sriram Dharmarajan at Protiviti, and Srinivas Chikkala from India.

To solve LTT-04, the data from the 4 systems had to be joined together using the IMSI and MSISDN, and filtered with the required parameters i.e., ["A", "01", ("precept 250" or "precept 500" or "precept 750")]. There were also inconsistencies between the “names” in the provisioning and billing systems, that needed some manual reconciliation.

The correct answer was L Berselli, which is illustrated in the attached file.

The next LTT will be published on Monday 20th May.

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