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US5440621: Apparatus for prepayment of telecommunication connections in a telecommunication switching network without utilization of rate schedules and call cost computations

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Filing Information

Inventor(s) Peter D. Castro ·
Assignee(s) International Integrated Communications, Ltd. ·
Attorney/Agent(s) Hopgood, Calimafde, Kalil & Judlowe ·
Primary Examiner Stephen Chin ·
Assistant Examiner Paul Loomis ·
Application Number US8155732
Filing date 11/22/1993
Issue date 08/08/1995
Predicted expiration date 07/31/2011
U.S. Classifications 379/112  · 379/114  ·
International Classifications H04M 1518  ·
Kind CodeA
International Classifications 379111;112;114;130;131;132;143;149;155 ·
Related U.S. Application DataRELATED CASE
This is a Continuation of application Ser. No. 07/738,577 entitled "METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR PREPAYMENT OF TELECOMMUNICATION CONNECTIONS IN A TELECOMMUNICATION SWITCHING NETWORK," filed on Jul. 31, 1991, which is now U.S. Pat. No. 5,265,155; issued on Nov. 23, 1993.
36 Claims, No Drawings


Abstract

The present invention provides a method and apparatus for prepayment of telecommunication connections between first and second telecommunication devices operably associatable with the telecommunication lines of a telecommunication switching network. In general, the method involves storing telecommunication-time data representative of a prepurchased amount of telecommunication-time available for payment of telecommunication connections in the telecommunication switching network. At the initiation of the first telecommunication device, a telecommunication connection is established between the first and second telecommunication devices so that a telecommunication process can be conducted therebetween. The telecommunication connection between the first and second telecommunication devices is terminated in response to termination of the telecommunication process. The time duration of the telecommunication connection is measured. The stored telecommunication-time data is processed to indicate a decrement in the available telecommunication-time, which is essentially equal to the measured time duration of the telecommunication connection. Various embodiments of telecommunication-time metering apparatus are provided for carrying out the method of the present invention.

Independent Claims | See all claims (36)

  1. 1. Apparatus for prepayment of telecommunication connections between first and second telecommunication devices, each said telecommunication device being operably associatable with telecommunication lines of a telecommunication switching network having a billing system utilizing rates and the duration of telecommunication connections to compute the cost of telecommunication connections in said telecommunication switching network, said apparatus being operably associatable with said first telecommunication device and comprises:data storage means for storing telecommunication-time data representative of a prepurchased amount of telecommunication time available for prepayment of telecommunication connections in said telecommunication switching network;insertion means for insertion along the telecommunication line between said first telecommunication device and said telecommunication switching network, and permitting a dialing signal generated from said first communication device to be transmitted to said telecommunication switching network and initiate a telecommunication connection between said first and second telecommunication devices;time measuring means for measuring the time duration of said telecommunication connection between said first and second telecommunication devices;data processing means for processing said stored telecommunication-time data so as to indicate at least one decrement in said prepurchased amount of telecommunication-time, said at least one decrement being essentially equal to the measured time duration of said telecommunication connection; anddisabling signal generation means for generating a rate-disabling signal so as to disable the utilization of rates in said billing system for computing the cost of said telecommunication connection.
  2. 7. A telecommunication device for use in prepayment of telecommunication connections with one or more compatible devices, each said device being operably associatable with telecommunication lines of a telecommunication switching network including a billing system utilizing rates and the duration of telecommunication connections to compute the cost of telecommunication connections in said telecommunication switching network, said telecommunication device comprising:dialing signal generation means for generating a dialing signal to be transmitted to said telecommunication switching network so as to initiate a telecommunication connection between said telecommunication device and one or more of said compatible devices;data storage means for storing telecommunication-time data, representative of a prepurchased amount of telecommunication-time available for prepayment of telecommunication connections in said telecommunication switching network;time measuring means for measuring the time duration of said telecommunication connection between said telecommunication device and said compatible device; anddata processing means for processing said stored telecommunication-time data so as to indicate decrements in said prepurchased amount of telecommunication-time, said decrements being essentially equal to the measured time duration of said telecommunication connection; andrate-disabling signal generation means for generating a rate-disabling signal so as to disable the utilization of rates in said billing system to compute the cost of said telecommunication connection.
  3. 15. A telecommunication device for use in prepayment of telecommunication connections with one or more compatible devices, each said device being in operably associatable with telecommunication lines of a telecommunication switching network having a billing system utilizing rates and the duration of telecommunication connections to compute the cost of telecommunication connections effect on said telecommunication switching network, said telecommunication device comprising:dialing signal generation means for generating a dialing signal to be transmitted to said telecommunication switching network so as to initiate a telecommunication connection between said telecommunication device and one or more said compatible devices;time measuring means for measuring the time duration of said telecommunication connection between said telecommunication device and at least one said compatible device;data reading/writing means for reading telecommunication-time data stored in a portable data storage device and for writing processed telecommunication-time data therein, said stored telecommunication-time data being representative of a prepurchased amount of telecommunication time available for prepayment of telecommunication connections in said telecommunication switching network;data processing means for processing telecommunication-time data read from said portable data storage device, so as to produce processed telecommunication-time data which reflects at least one decrement in said prepurchased amount of telecommunication-time, said at least one decrement being essentially equal to the measured time duration of said telecommunication connection; andrate disabling signal generation means for generating a rate-disabling signal so as to disable the utilization of rates in said billing system to compute the cost of said telecommunication connection.
  4. 22. A portable data storage device for prepayment of telecommunication connections between first and second telecommunication devices, each said telecommunication device being in operable association with telecommunication lines of a telecommunication switching network having a billing system utilizing rates and the duration of telecommunication connections to compute the cost of telecommunication connections in said telecommunication switching network, said portable data storage device comprising:a hand-holdable substrate; anda data storage medium disposed on said substrate for storing telecommunication-time data representative of a prepurchased amount of telecommunication time,said telecommunication-time data being utilizable to procure said telecommunication connection at a cost computed by (a) measuring the time duration of said telecommunication connection and (b) processing said stored telecommunication-time data to indicate a decrement in said prepurchased amount of telecommunication-time, said decrement being essentially equal to said measured time duration of said telecommunication connection, andsaid telecommunication-time data being further utilizable to disable the utilization of rates and said measured time duration in said billing system to compute the cost of said telecommunication connection.
  5. 23. Apparatus for prepayment of telecommunication connections between first and second telecommunication devices, each being operably associatable with telecommunication lines of a telecommunication switching network, said apparatus comprising:central storage means or storing telecommunication-time data representative of a prepurchased amount of telecommunication-time available for prepayment of telecommunication connections in said telecommunication switching network;measuring means for measuring the time duration of a telecommunication connection established between said first and second telecommunication devices so that a telecommunication process can be conducted therebetween, said telecommunication connection being initiated by said first telecommunication device; andprocessing means for processing said stored telecommunication-time data so as to reflect a decrement in said available telecommunication-time, which is essentially equal to said measured time duration of said telecommunication connection, anda register means for registering a group of telecommunication-lines within said telecommunication switching network, wherein each said telecommunication line in said group has access to a bulk amount of prepurchased telecommunication-time represented by telecommunication-time data stored in said central storage means.
  6. 28. Apparatus for repayment of telecommunication connections between first and second telecommunication devices, each being operably associatable with telecommunication lines of a telecommunication switching network, said apparatus comprising:storage means for storing telecommunication-time data representative of a prepurchased amount of telecommunication-time available for prepayment of telecommunication connections in said telecommunication switching network;measuring means for measuring the time duration of a telecommunication connection established between said first and second telecommunication devices so that at telecommunication process can be conducted therebetween, said telecommunication connection being initiated by said first telecommunication device; andprocessing means for processing said stored telecommunication-time data so as to reflect a decrement in said available telecommunication-time, which is essentially equal to said measured time duration of said telecommunication connection; anda register means for registering a group of telecommunication lines within said telecommunication switching network, wherein each said telecommunication-line in said group has access to a bulk amount of prepurchased telecommunication-time represented by telecommunication-time data stored in said storage means.
  7. 33. System for prepayment of telecommunication connections between first and second telecommunication devices, each being operably associable with telecommunication lines of a telecommunication switching network, said system comprising:a central storage device for storing telecommunication-time data representative of a prepurchased amount of telecommunication-time available for prepayment of telecommunication connections in said telecommunication switching network;measuring means for measuring the time duration of a telecommunication connection established between said first and second telecommunication devices so that a telecommunication process can be conducted therebetween, said telecommunication connection being initiated by said first telecommunication device;processing means for processing said stored telecommunication-time data so as to reflect a decrement in said available telecommunication-time, which is essentially equal to said measured time duration of said telecommunication connection; anda register means for registering a group of subscriber numbers within said telecommunication switching network, wherein each said subscriber number in said registered group has access to a bulk amount of prepurchased telecommunication-time represented by telecommunication-time data stored in said central data storage device.

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