What is a CDR?

A CDR, or Call Detail Record, is a data record that documents the details of a telephone call or other telecommunications transaction, such as text messages, that passes through a telephone exchange or other telecommunications equipment. The record contains various attributes of the call, such as the time of the call, its duration, the calling phone number, and the called phone number.

Billing and Accounting

CDRs are important for a number of reasons. Firstly, they are used for billing and accounting purposes. The information contained in a CDR is used to determine the charges for a call. This information includes the time of the call, its duration, and the numbers involved in the call, among other things. This information is then used by telecommunications companies to generate bills for their customers.

Network Operations

CDRs are also important for network operations and management. They provide valuable information on call volume, network usage patterns, and possible network issues. This information can be used to identify and resolve network problems, improve network efficiency, and plan for future network capacity needs. For example, if a network experiences a high volume of calls during peak hours, this could indicate a need for additional network capacity in that area.


In addition to their use in billing and network management, CDRs can also be used for law enforcement and intelligence purposes. They can provide important information on the calling and called parties, as well as the time and duration of their communications. This information can be used to track and investigate criminal activity, as well as to identify and disrupt terrorist networks. In 2015, Australia amended the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act 1979 with additional legislation regarding Data Retention. You can read more about that here.

Data Insights

Moreover, CDR data can also be used for data analytics for market research, customer insights, customer retention and acquisition. It can be used to understand customer behavior and preferences, and thus, businesses can design services and marketing campaigns that target specific segments. For instance, if a call detail record shows that most of the calls are made in a particular region during a specific time, it could indicate that there is a high demand for a specific service or product in that region and at that time.

Toll Fraud Management

Furthermore, CDRs can also be used in fraud detection and risk management. Fraudulent calls can be identified by analyzing the records of calls, such as detecting patterns of calling, uncharacteristic high call volume, or calls made to known fraud numbers.

In summary, CDRs are an important part of the telecommunications infrastructure, providing essential information for billing, network management, law enforcement, intelligence, market research and customer insights, fraud detection, and risk management. The data they provide is critical for the efficient operation of telecommunications systems and the protection of consumers and national security.

If you’d like to see if PracBill integrates with your preferred wholesale CDR provider, click here to learn more

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