Others rely on their internal telecommunications employees who were conditioned to think like the phone company. It is important to understand that in the course of trying to improve its bottom line, the phone company might not be looking for ways to help you reduce your phone service costs. Can it be chance that 80% of invoicing errors favor the phone company?
In 1975, in response to public outrage about soaring utility bills and a phone company scandal, the Condition of Texas established the Public Utilities Commission to represent and protect people interest in regard to public utility rates, operations, and services. The Open public Utilities Commission regulates the phone company (and other utilities) through tariffs that define the functions of the utility, the services it can offer and the rates it is permitted to charge.
Until 1984, telecommunications was the exclusive domain of monopolies, though it was regulated in the State of Arizona by the PUC. The monopoly was so firmly held that companies had a phone room in their own buildings that was off limits to everyone but the phone company. Many organisations did not even own their own phones.
After the separation of AT&T in 1984, businesses had to take on a number of the duty of managing their telecoms internally. Businesses now had to acquire their own phone systems and integrate them with the available service from the regional Bell operating companies, who still maintained a monopoly on service. With no internal expertise available, the clear answer was to hire former telephone service employees to manage internal telecoms issues.
As complicated because the technology was, billing for phone service was even more complex. Though these previous phone service,telephone company, telephone service employees were, in fact, technicians, businesses increasingly (and unfairly) relied after these technicians to control not only their telecoms technology issues, but cell phone service billing issues as well. Ironically, it is often a company’s inner telecommunications mootools experts that prevent a company from getting the best possible rates for the services they use.
Business phone service is subject to two specific types of billing problems: 1) utilization errors using the volume and duration of calls, and 2) rate errors based on the costs and fees the telephone company is authorized to charge for phone service. Companies can themselves identify consumption errors, but because billing structures are so highly complex, companies need specialized assist to identify rate errors.
Tariff regulations are particularly complicated and are subject to frequent change. The current tariff schedule for SBC alone is made up of over 8, 000 pages, with some 250, 000 pages of retired tariffs no longer in effect. These rules are first interpreted by the phone companies and described into billing, operational and service policies that are interpreted another time by phone company employees employing the policies. With two levels of interpretation, there is absolutely no surprise that the rates businesses pay for cell phone service varies greatly from the language of the tariffs.
Tariff regulations are well away from knowledge and skill set of phone system, IT and MIS employees; and individuals with experience in telecommunications billing (usually former phone company employees) are usually trained to think like the phone company and rely on the phone company payment policies to fix billing issues. To summarize, telecommunications employees are simply not competent to handle tariff and rate issues. However, because most businesses rely on their telecommunications personnel to handle billing issues, some telecom managers may avoid bringing in outside help for fear that if long-standing large errors are found, they may get the blame.