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The role of COBOL in the telecommunications industry

In the telecommunication industry, innovation has long been the name of the game. With this in mind, the presence of a language as old as COBOL (Common Business-Oriented Language) might seem surprising. COBOL data has been and continues to be a backbone for many critical telecom infrastructures. For more insight, here’s an outlook on the history and application of COBOL modernization within the telecommunications industry and how executives, COBOL developers, and chief data architects can exponentially scale the value of COBOL data with FairCom RTG.

The history of COBOL in the telecommunications industry

COBOL was developed in 1959 as a portable programming language for data processing. It quickly became a staple in industries requiring robust data handling and transaction processing, including telecommunications. By the 1970s and 1980s, telecom companies heavily relied on COBOL files to manage their growing data needs, from billing systems to customer service applications.

The enduring value of COBOL in supporting critical telecom infrastructure

Even today, COBOL modernization remains invaluable to the telecom sector. Its longevity stems from several factors:

  • Reliability and Stability: COBOL has proven its reliability over decades. In an industry where downtime can result in massive financial losses and customer dissatisfaction, the stability of COBOL systems is a significant advantage.
  • Scalability: COBOL systems are designed to handle large volumes of transactions, making them ideal for telecom operations that deal with vast amounts of data daily.
  • Compatibility: Many legacy systems in telecom are built on COBOL. Rewriting these systems in a new programming language is often cost-prohibitive and risky.

Applications of COBOL in telecom company data management

Billing Systems

Billing is a critical function in telecommunications, where accuracy and timeliness are paramount. COBOL modernization applications manage complex billing cycles, apply rates, calculate charges, and generate invoices efficiently. In fact, 43% of banking systems trust COBOL code as their driving force.

Network Management

COBOL is used in network management systems to ensure seamless operation and maintenance of telecom database infrastructure. These systems monitor network performance, detect faults, and facilitate timely interventions.

Customer Service

Customer service applications in telecom rely on COBOL applications for managing customer records, handling queries, and processing service requests. Its ability to process transactions quickly ensures high levels of customer satisfaction.

Challenges and opportunities in modernizing COBOL systems in telecom databases

While COBOL's advantages are clear, the industry also faces challenges in maintaining and modernizing these systems:

  • Aging Workforce: Many COBOL developers are nearing retirement, creating a skills gap.
  • Integration with Modern Technologies: Integrating COBOL with modern frameworks and technologies can be challenging.

However, COBOL modernization solutions offer significant opportunities:

  • Enhanced Performance: Modernization can improve system performance and scalability.
  • Cost Savings: Streamlining and updating COBOL systems can reduce maintenance costs.
  • Future-Proofing: Modernized systems are better equipped to handle future demands.

FairCom RTG: Modernize COBOL and reinforce telecom customer data security

RTG Product Features

FairCom RTG’s COBOL and Legacy Application modernization technology offers a comprehensive solution for telecom companies looking to modernize their outdated systems:

  • Seamless Integration: FairCom RTG cohesively integrates COBOL applications with modern databases and technologies.
  • Improved Efficiency: Enhanced performance and scalability enable telecom companies to handle increasing data volumes and transaction loads.
  • Data corruption-free transactions: ACID-compliant transactions ensure data corruption-free operations by protecting telecom customer data with hot backups and automatic recoveries in the event of a system failure.
  • Reduced Downtime: Reliable and efficient COBOL modernization minimizes downtime during transitions.

FairCom RTG use cases

Computer Associates

FairCom successfully modernized Computer Associates' COBOL-based systems, enhancing performance and reducing operational costs. This project demonstrated the potential of FairCom RTG to rejuvenate legacy systems without disrupting operations.

Explore Computer Associates’ FairCom success story for more details.


InfoTrax leveraged FairCom RTG’s COBOL modernization technology to scale its operations to millions of transactions each hour. The modernization led to faster processing times and improved accuracy.

Explore InfoTrax’s FairCom case study for more details.

Future trends for COBOL in the telecommunications industry

The future of COBOL in telecom will likely involve a hybrid approach, combining existing COBOL systems with modern technologies. Trends to watch include:

  • Increased Use of AI and Machine Learning: Integrating COBOL systems with AI and ML technologies to enhance data analysis and decision-making.
  • Cloud Integration: Moving COBOL applications to the cloud for improved scalability and flexibility.
  • Continued Modernization: Ongoing efforts to modernize and optimize COBOL applications will ensure their relevance in the evolving telecom landscape.

Expert insights on the importance of COBOL for the industry's stability

Industry database technology experts emphasize that while new technologies emerge, the foundational role of COBOL is vital to the telecom industry. Its reliability, scalability, and compatibility with legacy systems make it an indispensable tool for maintaining stability.

FairCom RTG provides modern telecom data solutions

COBOL plays a crucial role in the telecommunications industry, supporting critical infrastructure and ensuring smooth telecom database operations. While modernization presents challenges, it also offers significant opportunities for enhanced performance and cost savings.

The COBOL modernization technology of FairCom RTG provides a viable solution for telecom companies looking to future-proof their systems. For more information on how FairCom can help modernize your COBOL systems, schedule a FairCom product demo with an expert developer today.

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Last Update:
July 15, 2024
COBOL Modernization
FairCom RTG