LTE configuration

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This handbook demonstrates how a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) can configure LTE service in PortaBilling.

PortaBilling is integrated with a variety of LTE network equipment such as Packet Data Network Gateway (P-GW), Home Location Register (HLR), and Home Subscriber Server (HSS) which belong to the Evolved Packet Core (EPC) architecture. The configuration steps may vary based on the type of equipment used.

For managing user access to the Internet and implementing content-based charging, the LTE network typically includes the Policy and Charging Rules Function (PCRF). MVNOs may use the PCRF provided by their MNO within their LTE network or their own PCRF. The policy rules, such as applying distinct bandwidth limitations for peak and off-peak periods, can be configured either directly on the PCRF or on the PortaBilling side, depending on the specific LTE network setup. Note that to limit bandwidth on the PortaBilling side, the network equipment should be capable of receiving commands about bandwidth from PortaBilling.

In this handbook, we assume that:

  • MVNO relies entirely on the LTE network infrastructure of the host Mobile Network Operator (MNO) and uses the PortaBilling system for online charging and billing. When a SIM card is assigned to an account, PortaBilling automatically provisions the SIM card and corresponding account information into MNO’s HSS. Now, once the user attempts to connect to the LTE network with their SIM card, they will be authenticated and the service usage will be allowed.
  • The LTE network is deployed using the HuaweiUGW9811 gateway. PortaBilling communicates with this gateway via the Diameter (Gy) interface.
  • The bandwidth limitations are configured on the MNO’s PCRF and PortaBilling will only notify PCRF which set of parameters should be used for a specific account.
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Suppose you, as a MVNO, offer your prepaid customers a package that:

  • Includes 5 GB of mobile Internet (after these 5 GB are used up, the service becomes unavailable).
  • Is priced at $10.
  • Has a 30-day lifecycle. When the 30-day period ends, a customer automatically receives another 5 GB for $10. If a customer lacks sufficient funds ($10), they will receive another 5 GB only after they top up their balance.
  • Allows rollover of unused volume to the next 30-day cycle.
  • Provides different bandwidth limitations during peak and off-peak periods – 10 Mbps and 20 Mbps, respectively.


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Before you proceed with the configuration steps, coordinate with your MNO on the following:

  1. Decide on the “host” and “realm” values that will be used as your system identifiers in the LTE network, e.g., as “host” and as “realm.” The MNO’s network equipment should be configured with these identifiers, for the equipment to “know” where to send the Diameter requests (these values will be specified in the Destination-Host and Destination-Realm attribute-value pairs).

    These values should also be set on the Configuration server web interface (step 1) within the Origin-Host and Origin-Realm options.

  2. Obtain the MNO’s network P-GW identifiers to further specify them in the node settings (step 4). These identifiers are sent in the Origin-Host (e.g., and Origin-Realm (e.g., AVPs in the Diameter requests sent from the LTE network to PortaBilling.

    This way, PortaBilling will be able to “understand” which piece of network equipment it's interacting with. For example, you may use two separate gateways, one for providing regular internet access and another for internet access in roaming, provided at a different rate. In this case, you need to configure these two gateways as two separate nodes and use them in combination with two different tariffs.

  3. To provide Internet service with 10 Mbps speed for peak time and 20 Mbps speed for off-peak time, these values should be set on the MNO’s PCRF first. Obtain the ID of the created policy rule and the name of the PCRF service. These values should be specified within the PortaBilling service policy (step 5). Once a new account is created in PortaBilling, the info about the assigned service policy is provisioned to PCRF via the External system provisioning framework (ESPF). The account’s service policy is matched to the corresponding policy in PCRF. When the user connects to the Internet, access is provided according to the parameters (i.e., bandwidth values) set in the PCRF policy.

Configuration overview

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  1. Setup on the Configuration server web interface
  2. Enable the external systems provisioning framework
  3. Create the LTE service
  4. Create a node
  5. Create a service policy
  6. Configure MNO as a vendor:
  7. Set up the service package:
  8. Add SIM cards into SIM inventory
  9. Configure a mobile Internet subscriber:

1. Setup on the Configuration server web interface

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To set up LTE service, you first need to enable the NetAccess service type in the system and allow the PortaBilling server and gateway to exchange packages via the Diameter (Gy) protocol.

For this, log in to the Configuration server web interface and perform the following steps:

1.1 To enable the NetAccess service type, set the BillingEngine.NetAccess.Enabled option to Yes.

Enabling the NetAccess service type

1.2 To allow billing via the Diameter (Gy) protocol, go to BillingEngine > Diameter group and configure the following global options:

  • Enabled – set to Yes
  • Origin_Host – specify the “host” value that is configured as your system identifier on the MNO’s network equipment, e.g., (on the MNO’s side, it’s the Destination-Host value).
  • Origin_Realm – specify the “realm” value that is configured as your system identifier on the MNO’s network equipment, e.g., (on the MNO’s side, it’s the Destination-Realm value).

Leave the default values for other fields.

Allowing billing via the Diameter (Gy) protocol,

2. Enable the External Systems Provisioning Framework

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PortaBilling uses the External Systems Provisioning Framework (ESPF) to automatically notify the mobile core network when a new SIM card should be activated for a specific account and which policy rule to apply. The ESPF captures changes in the account configuration within PortaBilling and sends provisioning events, such as “SIM card has been assigned to an account” or “account product has changed,” to the mobile core network. Then, a code written by PortaOne or a third party translates those events into changes in the mobile core network, such as creation of a new record representing a SIM card with a specific IMSI in HLR/HSS.

For the step-by-step instruction on how to configure ESPF handlers and enable sending the needed events to the mobile core network, refer to the ESPF configuration handbook.

You can find the list of supported events for the Huawei equipment here.

If you need to integrate your system with other equipment, the handlers can be individually developed for you. For assistance, please contact our support team by submitting a request to and provide the corresponding documentation.

3. Create the LTE service

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In PortaBilling, a service defines how charges are calculated (e.g., whether customers are charged based on the time they stay online or by the amount of data transferred) and how the service is presented on self-care portals such as Mobile Account Self-Care Portal.

To add a new service:

3.1 Navigate to Service catalog > Services.

3.2 Click Add and fill in the details:

  • Name – specify a short descriptive name for this service that will be used in select menus and shown on the self-care portal (e.g., “LTE”)
  • Type – select Internet access
  • Rating base – select upload+download (kilobytes)
  • Base unit – specify kilobyte
  • Billing unit – specify megabyte
  • Base ratio – specify 1024
  • Usage charge – select Yes
  • Tax code – select the needed tax code for the LTE service

    Create service

  • Click Save.

4. Create a node

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If you haven't previously configured the equipment that allows access to the Internet, such as EPC for 4G LTE or similar, you need to add it as a node to enable it to exchange charging requests with PortaBilling.

4.1 To add a node for the HuaweiUGW9811 equipment:

  • Navigate to Infrastructure > Nodes
  • Click Add and fill in the node details:
    • Name – a short descriptive name for this node (e.g., “LTE Node”).
    • Node ID – specify the “host” value identifying the MNO’s network P-GW (on the MNO’s side it’s specified in the Origin-Host AVP, e.g.,
    • IP – specify the IP address of the MNO’s P-GW. Since the node will be identified solely by the Node ID, PortaBilling will not use the specified IP address, so you can specify a “dummy” value.
    • Manufacturer – select Huawei.
    • Type – select UGW9811.
      If the LTE network is built based on other equipment communicating via the Diameter protocol, select “PortaOne” as the Manufacturer and “Generic” as Type to configure it as a node.


      Create node

4.2 Enable the communication with PortaBilling via the Diameter protocol:

  • Go to Node > Communication with billing
  • Turn on the Enable the communication with billing toggle
  • Fill in the details:
    • Client protocol – select Diameter
    • Realm – specify the “realm” value identifying the MNO’s network P-GW (on the MNO’s side it’s the Origin-Realm value, e.g.,
    • Use Re-Auth-Request – turn on the toggle for the system to send a “Re-Authorization Request” (RAR) to the mobile core if an account runs out of balance, exceeds its data transfer limit, or expires. This will initiate account re-authorization, resulting in the termination of LTE session(s) associated with this account.

      Communication with billing

  • Click Save.

5. Create a service policy

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In the given example, bandwidth limits of 10 Mbps and 20 Mbps should be applied during peak and off-peak times, respectively. As these values are configured on the PCRF (refer to the Preparation section), you just need to create a PortaBilling service policy pointing to the specific set of values on the PCRF.

To create an internet access policy in PortaBilling, follow these steps:

5.1 Navigate to Service catalog > Service policies.

5.2 Click Add and fill in the details:

  • Name – specify a descriptive name (can be any)
  • Service type – select “Internet access.”
  • Managed by – choose Administrator only

    Create service policy

5.3 Go to Service policy > Attributes to specify the PCRF parameters:

  • HSS Subscriber Template ID – specify the ID of the HSS Subscriber Template (the identifier of the policy rule that defines the bandwidth limits in PCRF) received from MNO
  • PCRF service – specify the service name for PCRF provisioning received from MNO.

    Service policy attributes

5.4 Optionally, go to Service policy > Hotlining to define conditions for which your users will be redirected to your hotline portal:

  • If account is out of funds – select this checkbox to redirect end users if their internet quota or balance are insufficient for accessing the internet.
  • If account is suspended or blocked – select this checkbox to redirect end users whose accounts are blocked, suspended or expired.
  • Captive portal URL – specify your hotline portal URL or IP address.


  • Click Save.

6. Configure MNO as a vendor

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In the PortaBilling system, the MNO is configured as a “vendor.” A tariff needs to be specified for a vendor to calculate the costs incurred for utilizing the MNO's network resources and store the corresponding xDRs (extended Detail Records) for reconciliation purposes. If you don’t intend to calculate costs, specify zero “0” rate for the vendor tariff.

6.1 Create a vendor tariff

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  1. Navigate to Service catalog > Tariff
  2. Click Add and fill in the tariff details:
    • Name – specify a descriptive name for the tariff, e.g., “Vendor LTE tariff,” which will be used within the system.
    • Currency – choose the currency in which the vendor charges you.
      The currency for the tariff may be chosen only once and cannot be changed later.
    • Service – select the service “LTE service” created at step 3.
    • Applied to – choose Vendor.

      Create vendor tariff

Add rates for the vendor tariff:

    1. Open the “Vendor LTE tariff” > Rates.
    2. On the Add rate panel, fill in the rate details:
    3. Click Save.

6.2. Create a vendor

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This step is only required if you have not entered vendor information in the system before.

  1. Navigate to Infrastructure > Vendors.
  2. Click Add and fill in the vendor details:
    • Name – specify a descriptive name for the vendor (e.g., “LTE Vendor”).
    • Currency – leave the base currency.
    • Opening balance – this option is usually used when you migrate a vendor from a legacy system to PortaSwitch. Leave “0” here.
    • Billing period – choose a billing period for the vendor. A billing period defines how often the vendor will bill you, e.g., monthly.

      Create vendor

  3. Click Save.

6.3 Define a vendor connection

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  1. Open Vendor > Connections.
  2. Click Add and fill in the connection details:
    • Description – type in a short description for this connection (e.g., “LTE”).
    • Service type – select “Internet access”.
    • Tariff – select the vendor tariff that you created at step 6.1.
    • Node – select the LTE node that you created at step 4.
    • Capacity – specify the maximum number of sessions you anticipate handling on this gateway in the near future. This parameter is only used for correctly scaling the load graph for the connection.

      Create connection

  3. Click Save.

7. Set up the service package

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To provide LTE service to your customers as described in the example, you need to create a Product that includes:

  • A Tariff with at least one rate, as it should always be included in any main product in PortaBilling.
  • A Bundle with the internet quota 5 GB
  • A Subscription to charge the customers a monthly fee of $10

7.1. Create a customer tariff

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  1. Navigate to Service catalog > Tariffs.
  2. Click Add and fill in the tariff details:
    • Name – type in a short name for the customer tariff; this name will be shown within the system.
    • Currency – select the currency in which you will charge your customers.
    • Service – select the service created at step 3 (“LTE”).
    • Applied to – select Customer as this tariff will be used to charge your customers.
    • Managed by – select Administrator only here.

      Cteate customer tariff

  3. Open the "Customer LTE tariff" and click Rates.
    To add a rate, you need a destination. For the LTE service, use a symbolic NETACCESS destination. Make sure that the NETACCESS destination has been added to the system (special destinations are included in a default destination set provided by PortaOne). See more detail on how to create destinations in the Initial configuration of PortaBilling handbook.
  4. On the Add rate panel, fill in the rate details:
    • Rate code – type in the NETACCESS destination directly or select it from the list.
    • Rating mode – select Flat rate here.
    • Rounding – leave the default value of “1” for this example. See more info on the Rounding option in the UI help.
    • Unit price – specify price per billing unit (in this example, per megabyte). If you do not plan to offer pay-as-you-go access beyond the consumed quota, you can specify the unit price as "0."

      Add rate

  5. Click Save.

7.2. Create a destination group set and a destination group

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In PortaBilling, a bundle (step 7.3) always incorporates a destination group set, which must consist of at least one destination group. A destination group may include phone prefixes (e.g., 1206) and/or special destinations (e.g., NETACCESS) used for the services provided within the bundle. Since in the given example the customers are granted internet service access, only the NETACCESS destination should be included. To create a destination group set and a destination group:

  1. Navigate to Service catalog > Destination group sets

    Destination group sets

  2. Click Add and fill in the required information:
    • Name – type in a descriptive name for the destination group set (e.g., Internet Access).
    • Type – leave the default type Regular.

      Create destination group set

  3. Open the created Destination group set
  4. Click Add and fill in the Destination group name and description, e.g., “Internet access”.

    Create destination group

  5. Click Save to save the destination group.
  6. To add the NETACCESS destination to the created destination group:
    • On the Destination group page, click the default All destinations group.

      Add destination

    • On the Destination search panel, specify the parameters (e.g., format, prefix, country) to find the required destination in the list and click Apply filters.

      Destination search

    • On the Destination list panel select the prefix you want to include (NETACCESS) in the destination group and click Assign to group.

      Assign destination to group

    • Select the destination group (Internet Access) and click Assign. The selected prefixes will be added automatically to the destination group.


    • Click Save.

7.3 Create a bundle and define the internet quota

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The internet quota (e.g., 5 GB) that has auto-renewal for a defined renewal fee (e.g., $10) can be provided within a prepaid bundle. To configure a bundle with the quota:

  1. Navigate to Service catalog > Bundles

    Service catalog - Bundles

  2. Click Add and fill in the bundle details:
    • Name – specify a unique bundle name (e.g., “LTE bundle”)
    • Currency – select the currency in which you charge your customers
    • Destination group set – select the destination group set created at step 7.2
    • Managed by – select “Administrator only”
    • Apply bundle if a destination is found that – leave the default option “Matches the rate exactly”
    • Bundle type – select “Repeated use with renewal”
    • Automatic renewal – select “On sufficient fund” to automatically renew the bundle if the customer has enough ($10) on their balance
    • Bundle lifetime, days – specify 30 days
    • Renewal fee – specify $10
    • Description – optionally, you can add a short description for this bundle

      Add a bundle

  3. Click Save
  4. Open the created Bundle and go to Bundle items
  5. Click Add and fill in the bundle item details:
    • Service – select the “LTE” service created at step 3
    • Destination group – select the destination group configured at step 7.2
    • Measured as – select Service used
    • Service volume  – specify 5120 MB (since the billing unit for the LTE service is megabytes, 5 GB should be converted into megabytes)

      Add bundle item

  6. Click Save (you will be redirected to the Bundle item panel).
  7. Go to Bundle item > Configuration and set up the bundle item according to the given example:
    • Set “Block the service” within the If the volume is used up option. This way, the service will become unavailable when the allocated 5 GB are used up.
    • Turn the Allow rollovers toggle to allow rolling over the unused volume to the next 30-day cycle.

      Bundle item configuration

  8. Go to Bundle item > Notifications to configure notifications that will be sent to customers:
    • Notify end users when remaining service volume – set a specific value to notify a customer when their remaining service volume drops, e.g., to 1 GB.
    • Service volume is depleted – turn on the toggle to notify customers when the allocated service volume (5 GB) is depleted

      Bundle item notification

  9. Click Save.

7.4 Create a product

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Create a product which will be assigned to accounts for service provisioning:

  1. Navigate to Service catalog > Products.
  2. Click Add and fill in the product details:
    • Name – type in a short name for the product; this name will be used within the system.
    • Name visible to end users – specify the name of this product that your customers will see on their self-care web interface.
    • Product type – select Main product here.
    • Currency – choose a currency the product will be priced in.
    • Managed by – select Administrator only here, since we are setting up a service without the involvement of resellers.
    • Account default ACL – choose an Access Control List (ACL) for accounts with this product assigned. ACLs control which objects end users can access and which actions they can perform.
    • Account role – select Mobile to associate this product with mobile subscribers.

      Create product

  3. Click Save.
  4. Go to Product > Services and click Add to select services included in the product. For this product, you need to include two services: Mobile network provisioning (the default one, used for provisioning) and the LTE service created at step 3. Services of product
  5. To configure the LTE service, click Internet Access and fill in the details:
    • Session limit – turn on the toggle if you need to define the limit for simultaneous sessions.
    • Access policy – turn on the toggle and select the service policy created at step 5.

      Internet access configuration

  6. Configure general info:
    • Go to Product > Charges > General info and fill in the details:
      • Overdraft protection – leave the toggle turned on (turning off the overdraft protection is not recommended for general use).
      • Default bundle – select the bundle created at step 7.3.
    • Click Save.
  7. Configure usage charges:

    The rating list has two functions: it defines permitted access points (nodes and access numbers) and specifies which tariff should be used for billing in each of these points.

    • On your product’s panel, click Charges, then click Usage charges.
    • On the Usage charges panel, click Add.
    • Fill in the required information:
      • Service – select LTE.
      • Node – select the LTE node.
      • Access code – leave this field empty.
      • Tariff – select the tariff that applies to your customers when they use the LTE service.
      • Overdraft protection – to configure overdraft protection for this product, consult the Overdraft protection configuration handbook. In short, overdraft protection locks a certain amount of resources, such as megabytes, for each session. This enables the simultaneous consumption of the same quota across different sessions on various devices. Although it's typically not a concern for basic LTE service, where customers generally use only one SIM card, it's a good practice to leave the overdraft protection turned on. This precaution may become important when billing involves multiple rating groups (e.g., general data and video streaming data).

        Usage charges

    • Click Save.

8. Add SIM cards into the SIM card inventory

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Refer to the Enter SIM Cards into the SIM Card Inventory section of the MVNO service provisioning handbook to find out how to add SIM cards into the SIM card inventory.

9. Configure a mobile Internet subscriber

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9.1 Create a customer

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A customer is an owner of accounts. Customer contact information is used for distributing account usage information, Internet access statistics, invoices, etc. You usually need to create one customer per each retail prepaid LTE user.

  1. On the navigation menu, select Sales, then select Customers.
  2. On the Create customer panel, fill in the customer details:
    • Name – type a short name for the customer object; this will be used on the web interface.
    • Balance control – select Prepaid in this field.
    • Currency – choose the currency in which this customer will be billed.
    • Available funds – the amount of funds available for the customer to spend on services (e.g., $10 for bundle activation). If the customer has a debit account, the account’s funds will be used.
    • Business model – a business model defines what type of service is to be provided to the customer. Select Mobile for this customer.
    • Customer class – customer class allows you to define a policy for automated payment collection. By choosing a specific class here the customer will automatically inherit all of the class properties (grace period, invoice template, etc.). Select the previously created customer class.
    • Billing period – choose a billing period for the customer.
    • Billing period time zone – choose a time zone in which the  customer’s billing period will be closed and invoices will be generated.

      Create customer

  3. Click Save.

9.2 Create an account

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Create an account for each device that has a unique SIM card.

  1. On your customer’s panel, click Accounts.
  2. On the Create an account panel, specify the account’s details:
    • ID – you can type in the user’s mobile phone number manually or provision it from the DID inventory.
    • Account role – select Mobile.
    • IMSI – click on IMSI icon IMSI icon and select one of the available SIM cards from the SIM Card Inventory dialog box.
    • Product – select the LTE Product here.
    • Activation date – the date from which the account is usable.
    • Type – select Credit.
    • Balance control – select Subordinate from the list (the account doesn’t have a separate balance – the customer’s prepaid balance will be used).

      Add account

  3. Click Save to create an account.

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