NetOne’s Acting Chief Executive, Nkosinathi Ncube, is calling it NetOne’s most ambitious project but it’s yet to be seen if this new shift will finally turn NetOne into a profitable company. From October, NetOne will deploy a new billing and business support system.
Mr Ncube sounded pretty optimistic when speaking about the billing:
To complete the transformation pillars, the state-owned mobile operator will this October launch its most ambitious project which will entail the scrapping of its antiquated and inefficient billing system, replacing it with a state of the art converged billing and business support system.
So what’s all the fuss about?
A converged billing system allows network operators to control services and manage balances in real-time under the assumption that the operator is offering different types of services (data, voice, broadband, prepaid or postpaid etc).
This means subscriber balances can be checked before service provision and it also increases the accuracy of notifications once the account balance threshold is reached. If you use Econet, you may have noticed that at times you get a notification informing you that you have exhausted your data bundles but you can still open web pages and send messages. This is because Econet doesn’t seem to employ real-time billing.
Truly Convergent Billing systems should be able to consolidate any number and combination of products and services onto a single bill, regardless of the type of product and market segment, i.e., prepaid and postpaid services.
What could be the benefits to NetOne?
- The move to converged billing could lead to increased revenues. If data offerings are tracked in real-time there will be a reduction in revenue leakage. As cited before in the case of Econet; every time a user gets notified that their bundle has expired but they continue accessing the internet, there is a loss of revenue.
- NetOne could cut their costs by running a single billing platform, rather than multiple ones.
- It also allows NetOne to offer new services under the same platform. For instance, if NetOne is to launch a Kwese iflix competitor they won’t have to develop a billing system for that separately.
What could be the benefits to customers?
- A unified bill enables cross-service discounts so that customers who order multiple services can receive preferential pricing.
With the converged billing system going live in October, will be interesting to see whether or not this finally makes NetOne a profitable company.
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