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back to article The challenges of mobile billing

Managing mobile costs is one of those meaty issues that most people can share more than a few stories about. Whether it is the PA in HR who was running up bills of £500 a month calling her aunty in Australia, or the guy in sales who though it was OK to download a few episodes of Top Gear to pass some time while he was trying to …

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Anonymous Coward

If people would just do as they are told

there wouldnt be a problem. But you cant tell an englishman to not use his phone for personal use, and expect them to not use their phone for personal use. I dont think that they are capable of simple intruction.

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One organisation I know...

.. has an arrangement where you dial a prefix for personal calls, which are then charged to you.

Anyone found making personal calls without using the prefix had better start sprucing up their CV.

The handsets I've seen staff using are not smartphones, so I assume it's done on the network end by the telco.

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Silver badge
FAIL

Sloppy thinking

"But, at the end of the day, we have to export the information to Excel and do the analysis ourselves."

No you don't. Get the data into a CSV file, or (better) an SQL database, and you can use half a page of Perl code to do the analysis for you.

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FAIL

Pointless

The use of a mobile phone for personal use (as long as only one mobile phone is issued) is no longer a taxable benefit, so it's pointless.

I worked in a company where you were told to add a * at the end of the dialled number and then you'd have the cost deducted from your pay. I think it took 18 months of working with Vodafone and internal IT to make this happen - this was when HMRC announced that using a mobile for personal use would mean £200 in taxable benefit.

It's no longer worth it. If you use a manual process to look at 10% of the highest bills every month, this will send out a message that people need to be sensible.

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Unpossible task...

Unfortunately being able to separate business from personal calls via a bill is nigh-on impossible and pretty unenforceable, certainly within my company. With a 24/7 workforce who have to deal with many external suppliers, subcontractors and other 3rd parties, being able to reconcile this correlation of personal vs private usage based simply on a phone number is simply impossible. And asking staff to identify which is which themselves is OK, but needs to be incentivised to encourage its use, and I've yet to see any mobile supplier offer anything to support this.

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Definately not impossible!!

I work for a company that provides this service. My earlier post must have been blocked because I inluded a phone number and link to our site.

Our software accessable via a web portal, uses suppliers CSV call data to produce itemised billing. Users can log on and tag their calls as personal or business. The calls can default to personal or business depending on customer preference, time of day or any other criteria.

The system also includes a method to allow mangers to approve personal calls and a method for administrators to manage the payment for these personal calls.

This process has saved some of our customers tens of thousands of pounds a year.

It is possible and it is worthwhile.

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Anonymous Coward

billing holes

Its worse than that Jim... telecoms billing has a long established tradition of hole filling.

This is where when data for a period is lost (it happens a lot!) the billing management team take call data for a similar period and use this to "fill the hole" and hope the client(s) are too stupid to notice. If you catch them out they refund the call charges but you really need itemised billing and some nice software to do detect this.

And yes we do this as a service for *some* customers :-)

Also it is worth running standard telco reporting software on your phone logs - many years ago we were running said stats on our own phone system and caught a contractor working for us calling his family in SAfrica for hours instead of doing his work. His contract was not renewed and his reference from us was very carefully worded.

A report we ran for a large bank found one office phone made a long duration overseas call costing (then) thousands. The customer investigated and was happy with the "exception" report. Evidently the guy dealt with asian share prices and had the cleaner press auto dial on his phone every monday morning at 6am - until it connected - the speakerphone was left running an audio "ticker tape" until he finished his weeks work because if he hung up it was hell getting reconnected.

IMHO Telco billing is seriously fun stuff.

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Big Brother

employee care

How about companies stop being miserly gits and actually focus on improving the lives of their employees such as not pestering them about making a couple of calls.

Soon as I get my megacorp of the ground its going to be Arcologies all round, structured exercise activities, relaxation time and matchmaking services.

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