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Cell firms roll up sleeves to fix underbilling

26-July-2004
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Cell firms roll up sleeves to fix underbilling

A recent study by PriceWaterhouse Coopers has indicated that cellular operators across the Asia Pacific region are underbilling their customers by 4 per cent to 12 per cent. The exact quantum of underbilling in India is not available.

In an attempt to cut losses due to underbilling, cellular services firms Bharti and Hutch have tied up with NCR Corporation’s Teradata, a data warehousing firm, to detect and plug the data loss between various points of billing process that leads to underbilling.

Underbilling can occur at various stages as billing is still largely a manual process. Factors such as non-transfer of information from one switch to another or an erroneous billing system go undetected for a long period of time.

Teradata has been assigned the task of detecting these data leakage points and plugging them to optimise per-customer billing.

“In the next six months we will come up with a report on where and how the data loss occurs. Then we will work towards plugging these leakages,” said Julian Beavis, vice president, Teradata.

Teradata will also help the cellular firms reduce their customer churn, which has emerged as another serious threat for the industry that is facing intense competition.

Bharti and Hutch have set up revenue assurance departments to deal with the underbilling problem. These departments have twin objectives of reducing customer churn and ensuring that they make the most of every customer through proper billing.

“Dealing with underbilling will enable us to design and deliver personalised services to customers, despite the size of our subscriber base,” said Sandip Das, executive director, Hutchison.

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