The following patent was granted last week:

9,911,106 B2 – System and Method for Charging Services Using Effective Quanta Units
Granted on 06 March 2018
Inventors: Rainer Schoenen, Halim Yanikomeroglu

Patent applications in China, EU, and PCT are pending for this invention as well. The first inventor, Dr. Rainer Schoenen, was a Research Associate at Carleton; he is now a professor at HAW-Hamburg, Germany.

The invention enables dynamic pricing of a broad range of differentiated classes of use-cases through a rather easy-to-understand (important to customer) and easy-to-implement (important to operator) algorithm. In today’s mobile tariffs, use-cases are often put in three classes (voice, data, and SMS) and priced differently, as the difficulty of delivery of each class of use-cases is different. As the use-cases diversify (connected vehicles, augmented/virtual reality, …), there will be more distinct classes of use-cases to be harmonized in a single bill. Moreover, the service provider may vary the tariff in real-time based on congestion level (today, the tariff variation happens in rather a static manner; for example, voice minutes are counted during the daytime but are free in the evenings & weekends). The ability of differentiation enables business models for new use-cases and delivery methods which results in a win-win situation for both customers and service providers (for instance, if a group of customers are willing to pay the price, the operator may provide broadband connectivity during a special event through an expensive aerial base-station). The invention also facilitates dynamic spectrum access and mobile virtual network  operators.

The key idea is that the number of delivered bits (or bytes) are counted in a weighted manner with different weights for different uses cases, service classes, congestion scenarios, etc; as such, each bit is converted to an e-bit (effective) bit. If the baseline weight for an e-bit is 1, a business customer in a crowded airport environment may be willing to accept an accelerated count with a weight 20 to have a super-high-quality video-conference for 10 minutes — a win-win scenario.