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Billing solution boosts viability of small telecoms providers

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South Africa’s Tellumat has partnered with India-based SunTec Business Solutions to offer an innovative billing solution for small and start-up telecommunications providers in southern Africa.

“For any telecommunications network, its billing system is absolutely critical,” says Tellumat’s Geoff Carey. “But keeping an accurate record of calls made and billing them to the right customer is not an easy task, all the more so as operators introduce more diverse and complex services.”
Until now, adds Carey, “telecommunications billing systems have been expensive and are not viable for networks with fewer than about 100,000 subscribers. That’s been one of the barriers to new entrants into the market such as the under-serviced area licensees, many of whom have been struggling to create viable businesses based on much lower subscriber numbers. There are also many municipalities, companies with private networks and emerging Voice over IP (VoIP) providers who need flexible, reliable billing systems.”
Tellumat, which has provided services to South Africa’s telco operators for many years, saw the opportunity for a hosted billing solution that would lower the barriers. “The hosted solution means we can sustainably offer services to networks with just a few thousand subscribers,” says Carey.
Technology partner SunTec, based in India with offices in the US, UK, Germany and Singapore has provided transaction billing services for the telecoms and financial services industries since 1990. It serves several of the world’s top telecoms providers including Comcast and Cable One in the USA as well as BSNL, VSNL and MTNL, India’s largest telecommunications providers. It also provides systems to many banks including the HSBC Group, Lloyds TSB and ING Bank.
Tellumat chose to partner with SunTec based upon their ability to provide technology that can be configured to meet all user solution requirements. The suite of software products not only covers the current requirements of telecoms operators but is adaptable to meet new service requirements being introduced such as IPTV, WiMax and convergent billing for different services on a single bill.
“We are very happy to be partnering with Tellumat to set up this billing bureau. This strategic alliance has opened for SunTec, the doors to South Africa’s billing market. We consider establishing this billing bureau as a great opportunity to showcase the capability of our product, for our clients and prospects, on this continent,” says SunTec CEO K Nanda Kumar.
“It’s a completely different way of doing things,” adds Carey. “We hope that by providing an affordable and flexible hosted billing solution, we can help enable many new market entrants who would otherwise be excluded. It’s that kind of increased competition that will lead to better, more diverse services and lower prices for all.”