Telecom’s Billing System Crashes

TELECOM Namibia’s new state-of-the-art billing system crashed, plunging the parastatal into seven months of chaos.

The Namibian understands that about 15 000 customers have been billed wrongly every month as a result of the chaos created by the new system.

Telecom Namibia spokesperson Oiva Angula confirmed that they were experiencing problems but said it was because the system was new.

The system, called the New Generation Business Support System or the ‘Calabash’, was bought from the Chinese technology company Huawei Technology last year. It was implemented in November and since then there have been technical glitches.

The Calabash comes with a customer relationship management, internet protocol contact centre, convergent billing system, partner relationship management, and mediation and provisioning.

“The system has not yet fully been implemented, hence the errors,” explained Angula, adding that communication was sent to clients explaining that there might be problems with the new system.

Angula also said they aised clients to report to the company should they experience any glitches because the Calabash is not expected to be implemented in a short period of time but gradually.

He could not, however, say how long it would take to complete the process. He said they were working on it.

“We have had several meetings with Huawei over the challenges and we are still working on them,” he said.

The Namibian also understands that a group of Chinese experts were brought in to work on the system, but without success.

Although some sources told The Namibian that the system cost more than N$100 million, Angula disputed the figure saying they bought it for N$40 million last year.

Huawei representative in Namibia, Elton Katangolo declined to comment, referring The Namibian to managers in South Africa.

A frustrated client, who declined to be named, described the system as “messed-up”, saying that she has been enquiring about her bill since January but received no satisfactory response from the company.

“All I was told was that there is a problem with the new billing system with no further explanation given,” she said, adding that as a result, she has also been cut off from the internet since the new system was introduced last year. “I’ve had to look for other alternatives. Maybe the best thing is to close my account,” she said.

Some clients also said they were not properly integrated and informed about the new system but were simply ushered into it without communication.

Source : The Namibian