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March 21, 2006
By Paula Bernier
The TV will be service providers’ main interface to the customers, so telcos should use that screen to deliver billing and account information in addition to providing programming. That’s the word from Intec Telecom Systems, which at TelecomNEXT this week is running an IPTV billing demo in its booth.
Making billing information accessible to the consumer through the TV interface can both lower service provider costs, by answering questions that would otherwise have to be supported by the call center, and increase customer services, says Thomas B. Pedersen, director of IP business lines for Intec.
Service providers can add to their services’ appeal by enabling customers to create different accounts for adults and children, for example, with preset spending limits on each for on-demand content purchases, he says. A service provider could even offer a “buddy list” type of feature that would allow individuals, such as babysitters, to have on-demand content billed to their own accounts while away from home, he adds. A third creative billing feature service providers should consider is allowing customers to provide gift certificates to others for spending on network-based services, he says. “The more payment options you have, the more likely you are to make a payment,” Pedersen says.
The Intec solution, which has been available for about six months, also allows service providers to offer their customers a TV-based electronic interface for billing disputes. And a package management feature can be employed by service providers to let consumers try a new service, such as HBO, for a limited amount of time, such as a weekend, Pedersen explains.
Intec Telecom Systems www.intecbilling.com
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