Telefonica de Espana SA has awarded its call data gathering system project to ICL following a tender process initiated in May, when it realised it needed a real time data transmission system between its exchanges and billing centres to speed the process of preparing phone bills. Telefonica hopes that the system – to be implemented immediately – will enable it to improve and extend its services for the customers as well as for itself. ICL is offering Telefonica the same Data Dictionary System-based product that British Telecom uses for on-line transfer and data gathering – British Telecom’s system is connected to hundreds of exchanges across the UK and currently manages over 11m lines. Telefonica will implement the system to collect the data for billing that will then be passed up to central computers for processing. Up to now, the 5,000 or so telephone exchanges existing in Spain, which serve more than 13m lines, were registering the number of calls by the impulses they generated onto magnetic tapes and then working out the invoices from that. Thus, the process of data gathering, transfer, preparation and invoicing was a complex and laborious task. Now, seven ICL systems for receiving data will be installed in Spain, six in the current billing centres and a seventh for development and support. The system can receive data from different types of digital exchanges using various protocols, presenting the invoicing computers with a common interface using one single file transmission protocol. Also, the software will be able to integrate other types of exchanges that Telefonica may incorporate into its system in the future. As a safety precaution the system can receive data via the tapes generated from different exchanges as well as generating tapes that can be read by the central computers. The system is designed to allow not only the adoption of new protocols but also expansion to meet future needs. The design chosen has nodal architecture so that each of the data gathering centres can choose its own configuration and as the phone network grows the system can grow with it, adding new node computers.
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