Negotiating Favorable Telecom Contracts Is Key to Reduced Costs and Good Service

Telecom Contract NegotiationA telecommunications audit at any business or organization will typically find significant savings and potential savings. From overbilling and other invoicing mistakes to the discovery of unused services that can be eliminated altogether, a thorough telecom audit can recover thousands of dollars in overpayments and reduce costs going forward anywhere from 20 to 60 percent.

But the real opportunity for telecom cost savings starts before a single circuit has been installed or a single bill has been sent out. One of the most important parts of telecom management is negotiating with the carriers to arrive at a contract that secures good telecom and IT service at good rates for your organization.

Telecom carriers are in business to make money, and every telco would like to lock you into a contract that commits as much of your telecom spending to their company for as long as possible, with provisions that make it hard to terminate the contract early, enforce penalties for poor service or make your own decisions about equipment upgrades and other changes.

Telecom contract negotiation can be an unpleasant and complex task, one in which you can easily feel outmatched by the greater knowledge and experience of the telco representatives. Here are some guidelines for negotiating with them:

Begin the telecom procurement process about a year before your current contract expires – Don’t put it off for so long that time limitations place you in a bad bargaining position with your incumbent carrier. The reality is that switching telecom carriers is a complex process that takes time. Don’t be forced into sticking with your current carrier if there might be a better deal and a better fit out there.

Go in prepared – Know your current telecom usage and equipment needs, and to the extent that it’s possible in the fast-changing worlds of business and technology, develop a projection of your future needs.

Interview several carriers – Make sure you’ve explored all of your options for providers of each type of service you need. It should be clear to each carrier’s rep that they’re competing for your telecom spending dollars. Your current carrier should see that you are more than willing to make a change depending on the contract terms that are offered.

Don’t agree to commit too much of your spending to a single carrier – Exclusivity clauses should never be accepted. You must be able to take your business to any other vendor if they can best serve a particular telecom need that arises. If a carrier is seeking a Minimum Annual Revenue Commitment (MARC) from you, don’t assume that a higher MARC is getting you a better deal, and don’t underestimate the value of the flexibility that a lower MARC affords you. Any MARC that you do agree to should apply to your spending as a whole; there should not be a separate MARC for each service line, because that will also limit your flexibility as technology changes.

Don’t commit to a contract term that’s too long – Resist promises of a supposedly better deal in exchange for an overly long commitment. Again, things change quickly, both in the realm of telecom and IT technology and in the business climate. Try to keep the term at 3 years or less.

Make clear the level of service that’s expected, and the consequences for the carrier if it doesn’t deliver – Meaningful metrics to measure service should be spelled out as clearly as possible in the Service Level Agreement (SLA) of any contract, as well as any resulting consequences for the carrier. Ultimately, the contract must give you the right to terminate the contract with no penalties for serious violations of the SLA.

List contingencies under which renegotiation of the contract is permitted – If either your company or the telco undergoes a substantial change in business organization such as a merger or acquisition, you should have the right to re-examine your telecommunications needs and renegotiate your contract.

Telanalysis is an experienced telecommunications consulting firm that can help you in the procurement phase with telecom contract negotiations. Telanalysis has no affiliation to any telecom carrier, so we are free to serve only your interests and nothing else. We’ve been serving clients since 1985 by helping them to lower their telecom expenditures. Call Telanalysis toll-free today at 866-300-6999.

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Monthly Monitoring of Telecom Bills Is a Money-Saving Must for Business

Of all the monthly invoices your company receives for payment, telecommunications invoices are the ones that you should perhaps pay the closest attention to. Landline and wireless phone bills should never be paid automatically, without close inspection, because 18 percent of all telecom bills contain mischarges. Corporate phone bill audits typically reveal overcharges going back months or years.

The savings to be found – and the overspending that can be avoided – can be significant. Admittedly, your company, or any other organization for that matter, is highly unlikely to unquestioningly pay a phone invoice like the record one sent to a Malaysian man in 2006 for $218 trillion (it was for a supposedly disconnected line that the man’s deceased father had left behind with a $23 balance). But many much smaller telecom billing mistakes that trickle through unnoticed can add up quickly. Ongoing telecom spending can be lowered by as much as 60 percent once the chronic issues that result in regular overcharging by the telecom carriers are resolved.

Telecom audits, when they are performed, routinely uncover money wasters that can run into many thousands of dollars for larger organizations. But straightening out your firm’s telecom expenditures isn’t a one-time thing. While phone bill audits are a great way to start the process of reining in your telecom overspending, it’s important to continually monitor your telecom invoices to make sure that mistakes and bogus charges don’t keep cropping up.

Unfortunately, experience shows that they will, and your only defense against paying too much for your telecom services is to keep an eagle eye on those invoices every single month, and to work with your telecom carriers to get their mistakes fixed. Some common recurring provider mistakes on telecom bills include tax rate errors, double-billing some line items, billing for other users’ charges, charging rates that are at variance with the contract and billing for equipment and lines that are not actually part of the customer’s inventory. Even if these issues are caught and sorted out, it’s common for promised credits from a telecom carrier to fail to appear on the next invoice.

Wireless billing is the source of some of the most egregious telecom overcharges. Stories of wireless invoices running into the tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars – or even more – appear in the news regularly. With so much confusion over what is and isn’t included in each wireless plan, particularly when it comes to roaming charges and international calls and texts, and with the exorbitant rates often charged by wireless carriers for such services out-of-plan, this problem is unlikely go away soon. A recently begun voluntary effort by wireless carriers to automatically alert users who are approaching their plan limits may help, however.

Another source of telecom overcharges to look out for are two fraudulent practices discussed in earlier blog posts – slamming and cramming. Slamming is the practice of changing your telecom provider without your permission, and cramming is the addition of fees to your phone invoice on behalf of third-party vendors for services you didn’t order and probably don’t want.

Staying vigilant for the many kinds of telco overcharging that can occur means investing a considerable amount of your staff’s time and effort. Even then, regular office staff may miss some of the more subtle telecom billing mistakes that can occur. The alternative is to hire a specialist – a telecom management company like Telanalysis.

Telanalysis has been saving companies and institutional telecom customers money since 1985. Telanalysis can not only audit your past telecom spending and handle telecom contract negotiations on your behalf, we can also manage your telecom invoices and keep a watchful eye out for costly errors. Call Telanalysis today at 866-300-6999 to find out all the ways we can bring down your firm’s telecom spending.


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“DON’T Put It on My Bill!”: ‘Cramming’ Sticks Telecom Users With Fraudulent Charges

Ever seen a mysterious charge on your phone bill for a service that you don’t remember ordering? You wouldn’t be the only one. Each year, 15 to 20 million U.S. households find unauthorized telecom charges on their landline, wireless or VOIP phone bill, according to statistics from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). These households have been the victims of a practice known as “cramming.”

Cramming occurs when unauthorized charges are tacked on to a customer’s phone bill, most often by a third party rather than by the telecom carrier itself. The charges are for supposed services that may carry a very vague description on the bill or invoice such as “MISCELLANEOUS” or just “MONTHLY SERVICE FEE.”

Often the charges are for such small amounts that they go unnoticed or unchallenged. Crammers are counting on the fact that many residential customers won’t find it worth their time to question a mysterious charge of a few dollars, at least not right away. Corporate telecom customers who don’t do regular a phone bill audit may let such charges slip through the bureaucratic cracks of their own complex telecom invoice approval processes. In any case, it works. The FCC cites a survey that showed that one cramming company’s charges were noticed by only 5 percent of its victims.

Some common services “sold” through cramming schemes include:

  • Toll-free 800 service lines
  • Text messaging services for daily horoscopes or celebrity news
  • “Psychic” hotline services
  • Web design or web hosting services
  • Credit protection plans

Even by inserting bogus charges as low as $2 a month, crammers stand to earn millions from their fraudulent practices. And sometimes the monthly charges can be much higher – up to $20, according to the FCC. Telecom carriers are complicit in cramming because even though the charges don’t originate with them, they get a cut from the crammers for handling the billing charges. The telecom carriers collect the money on behalf of the third-party vendor but don’t feel obligated to issue refunds if the charges are challenged. Perhaps not surprisingly, the third-party vendors customers get referred to are often very unresponsive.

How might charges get placed on your phone bill? Sometimes it’s out-and-out fraud, or “phantom billing.” The fact is, having your phone number fall into in the wrong hands can be almost as bad as having your credit card number stolen. Crammers who get ahold of your phone number can send billing information to your telecom carrier even if they’ve never made the pretense of trying to sell you their service.

Other times charges are tacked on after a customer gives verbal “approval” in response to a misleading phone sales pitch. A customer may assent to receive something for free or to enroll in a free trial offer without realizing that they’re also being automatically signed up for an ongoing service that will incur a monthly fee. Crammers can actually record their sales calls and use recordings of customers saying “yes” to the freebie as proof that he or she agreed to the whole package deal. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), other methods used to get people to unwittingly sign up for or use services that will be tacked onto their phone bills include:

  • Contest or sweepstakes entries that contain fine-print language stating that your entry constitutes permission to sign you up for a certain service. Be careful when any such entry asks for your phone number; again, the best rule of thumb is to guard it like you would your credit card numbers.
  • Clubs that you join by calling a toll-free number. The ads for these cramming clubs are purposely confusing. It may sound at first like the membership is free, when a closer look reveals that actually only the 800-number call to join is free. The membership itself incurs a monthly charge, which of course appears on your phone bill.
  • Free prizes that you claim by calling a 900 number. The “prize” is likely some cheap or worthless item on which you may even have to pay exorbitant shipping and handling charges. It’s not a value, only an inducement to get you to call the 900 number. Remember, 900 numbers aren’t free; in fact they’re “premium” service numbers that will cost you dearly for each minute you’re connected. In this cramming scheme, you will most likely be purposely left on hold for a while, breathlessly waiting to hear about your prize, in order to let the toll charges rack up.

The telecom companies are not too motivated to verify the legitimacy of third-party charges because they profit from them, too. The FCC estimates that just the “Big 3” telecom companies – AT&T, Qwest/CenturyLink and Verizon – have taken in well over $100 million per year as a result of cramming since 2006. That’s their cut of the estimated $2 billion collected annually by crammers.

Congress began looking into cracking down on cramming again this summer because the telecom carriers’ self-policing efforts over the past 15 years have failed miserably. Cramming has also been slowly changing from a landline-only phenomenon to a problem that also affects wireless and VOIP accounts. Today, cramming cases involve wireless or VOIP 18 percent of the time.

Federal regulations in the works would fight cramming by requiring that:

  • Telecom carriers must offer customers the ability to block third-party charges to their accounts.
  • Third-party charges must be shown separately from phone company charges on phone bills, in order to avoid confusion as to the source of the charges.
  • Telecom carriers must print FCC contact information on each phone bill, so that customers can easily contact the FCC to file cramming complaints.

The most common-sense measures that you can take now to avoid being a cramming victim, without waiting for government regulations to go into effect, are

  • Have your telecom carrier block third-party charges to your account if possible
  • Carefully read the whole form, including the fine print, any time you sign up for anything, especially if you’re being asked for your phone number
  • Check every phone bill thoroughly, and ask questions if any of the charges don’t look right.

Telanalysis is an experienced telecommunications management company that has been saving its clients money since 1985. Telanalysis can handle your organization’s telecom bill payments and keep a watchful eye out for bogus charges from cramming or from any other sloppy or unethical practices by third-party vendors or telecom carriers. Call Telanalysis today at 866-300-6999 to find out all the ways we can bring down your firm’s telecom spending.

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Telecom Costs Could Be the Gentlest Cut for Schools and Governments

According to the non-profit Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, 42 out of the 50 states and the District of Columbia have projected revenue shortfalls for the 2012 fiscal year. The CBPP also reports that 23 states have made identifiable cuts in support for public schools. As state and local governments continue to face harsh fiscal realities in the current poor economy, officials all over the country are struggling to find the most painless ways to cut budgets. A wise move for them would be to hire telecom consultants, because telecommunications overspending is likely to be some of the lowest-hanging fruit in the cost-cutting game.

Just like every business today, every government entity needs telecom services, and like most business, they are probably overpaying for them. In fact, an estimated 15-18 percent of all telecom bills have incorrect charges on them. An incredible 95 percent of organizational telecom audits uncover some kind of significant billing error on the part of the telecom carriers. In addition, many institutional telecom customers are also paying for services that they never use or are no longer using. But telecom management is so complex today that overworked staffs don’t have time – and often don’t have the expertise – to properly check and analyze telecom contracts and bills.

By sniffing out telecom carriers’ mistakes and identifying unused telecom services, a good telecom audit firm can identify saving opportunities for a government department or school district that come with no sacrifice whatsoever. Money can be saved with no reduction in necessary telecom infrastructure and no service cuts to constituents or customer. The best part is that the audit itself is essentially pays for itself, because the best telecommunications consulting companies work on a contingency basis. The audit company is paid nothing up front and is compensated with a percentage of whatever savings they can ferret out. This contingency arrangement is a true win-win concept that makes the audit firm highly motivated to identify savings while taking all risk off of the client.

For more than 25 years, Telanalysis has performed telecommunications consulting and IT consulting for a wide variety of clients. Our expert telecom auditors can identify savings that will help your organization meet its budget goals, whether it’s a government entity or agency, quasi-governmental agency, institute of higher education, school administrative district or non-profit or for-profit corporation. We can also use our experience in the industry to negotiate for and procure the best telecom services deal on your behalf. Call Telanalysis for a risk-free consultation at 866-300-6999.


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Is Your Current Wireless Plan Really the Best Choice for Your Company?

One business information expert has called cell phones one of the top five business tools today. Not coincidentally, another study showed that telecommunications costs – including wireless charges – are now among the top five line item expenses for a typical company. Cell phones are clearly indispensable for most organizations, from the largest down to the smallest, but to a business owner or manager it can be a lot less clear whether the company is getting the best value for its wireless expenditures. Large corporations that have done wireless phone bill audits have sometimes been surprised to find thousands of dollars, if not tens of thousands, in potential savings. But many companies have never made a concerted attempt at cell phone bill management simply because time constraints and other priorities discourage such a complicated undertaking.

Choosing the cell phone service provider and plan that best suit your company’s needs should begin with an analysis of your current cell phone usage. If yours is a smaller organization that hasn’t made the jump to mobile until now, examining your current landline usage patterns can still help you to determine your cell phone needs.

The answer to the following questions can guide your decisions and choices:

Who in your company really needs a cell phone? – Rarely does every single employee at a company require a cell phone. Current usage patterns will show you which employees if any underutilize their cell phones and thus may not really need them. Conversely, you might find employees whose heavy long-distance landline usage or placement of collect calls would indicate a need for a mobile phone.

Do your employees regularly make international calls? – If you do business internationally, look for a cell phone plan that includes low-cost calling to numbers outside the U.S., or even one that includes international calls at no extra charge.

What geographical coverage do you need? – Each cell phone company’s coverage map can be found on its website or in its literature. Make sure coverage is good in the cities or regions of the country where you do business. Roaming charges for calls or data services outside of covered areas can be very expensive. On the other hand, if yours is a local or regional business, you may be able to get a better deal from a smaller wireless carrier that covers just the area you need than from one of the big national cell phone companies.

Do you need a texting plan? – Texting long ago ceased to be just a social toy for teenagers. Texting can be a very useful business communication tool, although it’s essential to have a strong company policy in place outlining acceptable texting practices (such as no texting while driving). Unlimited texting plans are continually getting cheaper and may be the best choice if you determine that your employees will use text messages frequently to communicate with clients, vendors and each other.

Should you get a data plan? If so, which plan will you need? – If your company’s current cell phone plan doesn’t include data services and you have no data usage history to guide you, anticipating what level of service to buy can be tricky. An IT consultant could be helpful in analyzing your mobile data needs and then translating that information into a projection of approximate data usage levels expressed in megabytes (MB). Data plan pricing usually is tiered based on MB of data transmitted in a month.

The answers to these questions will help you to compare the cell phone business plans offered by the various wireless carriers. However, keep in mind that no matter what you see in the carriers’ published rate scheme, it may be possible to negotiate a special deal that’s even more tailored to your company’s particular needs than one of the standard plans. If a carrier wants your business badly enough, they will be willing to negotiate. Make it clear that your firm is considering other wireless carriers who may be willing to accommodate you.

Telanalysis’s expert telecom management services include wireless phone bill audits to ensure that your company isn’t paying too much for wireless service. Telanalysis can also use its experience to analyze, negotiate and procure cell phone services on your company’s behalf. For more than 25 years, Telanalysis has provided all kinds of IT and telecommunications consulting services for a wide variety of private, government and non-profit clients. Call Telanalysis for a consultation at 866-300-6999, and make sure that your organization is getting the most for its wireless and other telecom expenditures.

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What to Look for When Hiring an IT Consultant

Information and data have become the lifeblood of businesses in the post-industrial age. It follows then that the information technology (IT) infrastructure that makes it possible for data to be distributed and shared quickly is as critical to a business as the circulatory system is to the human body. Unlike the body, however, IT systems don’t do such a good job of growing or healing themselves. In many companies, the jobs of repairing and expanding IT systems fall to outside IT consultants. Even in many businesses that employ in-house IT staff, specialized consultants are sometimes brought in as needed to handle specific projects or to perform an independent IT audit. Services provided by consultants can include:

  • Analyzing IT user requirements and developing cost-effective solutions
  • Recommending software or hardware products that will add the most value to the company
  • Managing large IT projects
  • Providing training for users of new software or systems
  • Designing and/or managing networks
  • Installing or upgrading network security systems

Finding an IT consultant isn’t difficult, but finding one who will bring the right skills to the table and provide you with excellent customer service is a little more work. You should conduct an initial interview with any prospective independent IT consultant or IT consulting firm to determine how well their areas of expertise and experience match your needs, and to get some idea of their style of working and serving their customers. Some things to ask about and consider when making your choice include:

  • Word-of-mouth recommendations from other clients, especially ones with businesses similar to yours
  • Guaranteed response time – if any – in the event of an emergency call
  • Vendor certifications held by the consultant or by employees of the firm
  • Assignment of a dedication technician to your account, so that you deal with the same person each time who is knowledgeable about your business
  • Ability to communicate and explain issues in clear language without tech-speak
  • Rate structure for services – is a flat-fee remote monitoring and maintenance package available?
  • Awareness of emerging technologies such as VOIP and cloud computing; ability to determine cost-saving potentials through an IT bill audit

Telanalysis is an experienced IT service audit and telecom management firm that has served private businesses, educational institutions and government agencies at all levels for more than 25 years. Call Telanalysis at 866-300-6999 and let us help you get the most out of your organization’s telecommunications and IT expenditures.

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Time Really Is Money: Telecom Invoice Late Fees

Paying a vendor and getting nothing of value in return makes no business sense, but that’s essentially what your enterprise is doing every time it’s forced to remit a late payment fee to a telecommunications company. Like banks today, telecom companies have a reputation for making a significant portion of their income from various fees that they hope go mostly under the customer’s radar. If you were to conduct a quick, informal phone bill audit at your company, you might be shocked to see what telecom late fees and penalties have cost over time.

When you consider that telecommunications companies provide services that take place at virtually the speed of light, it’s ironic that telecom billing can be so slow and archaic. Paper invoices sent by snail mail are antithetical to the image of “ultra-techness” that telco providers cultivate, but that’s the accounts payable reality that many telecom customers still deal with. It’s common for the payment clock to start ticking from the date that a telecom vendor generates an invoice, meaning that days can pass before your telecom services bill gets out the vendor’s door, through the postal system and into your mailroom. Tack on some time for internal mail routing, and a nominal 30-day payment window can quickly collapse to 20 days. For telecom invoices, which are complex and notoriously difficult to process, that’s not necessarily a lot of time.

The fee or penalty charged by telecom companies for each late payment varies, but a charge of 1.5 percent of the overdue amount per month is common. Some quick math will tell you that works out to annual interest of 18 percent – at that rate, you might be better off paying phone bills by credit card! Telecom companies that charge a minimum late fee or that slap on a flat late payment penalty could be raking in an even higher percentage than that.

Telecom consultants can help stem the hemorrhage of late fees in two ways. First, a good telecom consulting firm can negotiate telecom contracts with terms more favorable to the customer, including greater leeway on payment time and a degree of leniency for the occasional late payment. Second, telecom consultants can actually manage telecom invoices for you. An experienced, dedicated company like Telanalysis can focus on remitting accurate, timely payments to your telecom providers in a way that your in-house AP staff doesn’t have time for. To consult with Telanalysis about our full range of services, and how we can save your company money, call us today at 866-300-6999.

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Understanding and Untangling Telecommunications Tariffs

Telecom providers pitching their services to your business would probably point out all the ways in which they can enhance your company’s ability to communicate. The telecom carriers themselves, however, are not necessarily such good communicators when it comes to giving their customers information on how their services are priced. Prime examples of this are the documents that telecom companies often must file with government regulatory agencies such as state utilities commissions. Called “tariffs,” these documents are meant to be public disclosures of the telecom companies’ rates and fees for each of their services. But because of their length and complexity, few busy executives or managers have the time to read and decipher telecom tariffs, although doing so can be a crucial part of good telecommunications management.

Government-mandated publication of telecom tariffs originated long ago when telephone providers were monopolies. Tariffs had to be approved by the Federal Communications Commission and by state regulators, and once approved, a company’s published tariff acted like an open contract with the public. Customers could read it and know in advance how much the phone company would charge them for each minute of local calling, each minute of intrastate or interstate calling, etc. Of course, phone bill management was much easier then because the technology did not exist to provide most of the complex telecom services that we take for granted today.

Ten years ago, after decades of technological and regulatory evolution in the telecom industry, the FCC declared that the market for interstate calling services had become fully competitive. Telco providers were no longer required to submit and publish tariffs for long-distance services with the federal government. However, in many states, tariffs are still required for intrastate telecom services. Because of the modern explosion in telecommunications technology, and the resulting variety of both voice and data services that are now available, tariff documents have grown into monstrosities that can run on for dozens and even hundreds of pages. Trying to read several companies’ tariffs in order to pick the one that would be the best value for your business’ telecom needs is obviously not a simple task.

The expertise to understand and compare tariffs is just one of the valuable skills that a good telecom consulting firm like Telanalysis can put to work for your business. Because Telanalysis focuses solely on the business telecom industry, we have the experience to understand tariffs and the time to keep up on the latest tariff updates and amendments from the telecom carriers. For more information on all the ways that Telanalysis can help you spend your company’s telecom dollars most efficiently, call us today at 866-300-6999.

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Are Your Telecom Carriers Looking Out for You?

Your enterprise has to keep an eye on the bottom line. After all, private companies exist to make a profit. Even non-profits and government entities have to control expenses carefully in order to make the most of limited resources. Good telecommunications management is one of the most important business cost controls today, because telecom expenses are such a large budget item for any 21st century organization.

Telecommunications companies have to look out for their bottom lines, too. In theory, telecom providers turn a profit by serving their customers well at a competitive price. But can your telecom carriers possibly be looking out for you just as much as they are for themselves? The short answer to that question is “No.” Although it may be far too cynical to assert that telecom companies don’t keep their clients’ interests in mind at all, clearly they try to tip the business scales in their favor. A telecommunications audit will invariably show a pattern of practices that pads the telecom company’s bottom line and takes away from the customer’s. For example, despite a recent declaration by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski that his agency will begin cracking down on them, junk fees are alive and well in the telecom industry.

One way that telecom and IT services differ from other business supplies and services is the inherent difficulty of switching vendors. Changing such an integral part of your basic business infrastructure is difficult and time-consuming. Not only that, but larger companies are almost always locked into long-term contracts with their telecom providers. Terminating a telecom services contract prematurely incurs significant penalties that must be taken into account when weighing the pros and cons of dumping your current telco provider. Obviously, telecom companies know all of this, which creates a large disincentive for them to provide you with the best service possible, if doing so deals too big a blow to their profit margins.

As for telecom company contracts themselves, they’re typically written to give the telco provider every advantage over the customer. Many incorporate, by reference, a so-called “service guide,” an online document that may be hard to find on the telecom company’s website, and that will likely be full of obscure and onerous provisions that further disadvantage the customer. In fact, the first step to effective telecom cost control is to plan a strategy in advance for your company’s telecom spend, and to negotiate carefully and assertively with telecom company reps before a contract is signed. Hiring an experienced telecom management firm during the sourcing and contracting phase can really pay off big in the long run, by stopping the worst forms of telecom provider malfeasance before they can start. For instance, a competent telecom consulting firm will know to insist on contract terms that mandate technology upgrades at a time of the customer’s choosing, rather than at the convenience of the provider.

Because of all this, choosing a telecommunications consultant who is truly independent is vital. Some telecom consulting firms have relationships with telecom providers, and some even carry quotas with them. Common sense should dictate that a consultant who you’re paying to represent your interests should be making provider recommendations to you with only your interests in mind, and never the sales interests of any telecom provider.

Telanalysis is just such an independent consultant. We are an experienced telecom consulting and telecom audit firm with no affiliation to any telecommunications carrier. We have been serving the interests of our clients – and only their interests – since 1985. Call Telanalysis toll-free today at 866-300-6999 to find out how we can uncover significant telecom savings for your business or organization.

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AT&T Sued on Behalf of iPhone and iPad Users for Alleged Data Services Overcharges

A class-action lawsuit filed in federal court earlier this year accuses AT&T of overcharging customers for data usage on iPhones and iPads subscribed to the AT&T wireless network. A telecom billing consultant firm hired by the plaintiff’s attorneys says it has demonstrated firsthand that AT&T routinely overstates data usage by the two devices.

The suit, Hendricks v. AT&T Mobility LLC, was filed by AT&T customer Patrick Hendricks on January 27 in the San Francisco office of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The suit alleges that AT&T routinely and systematically inflates the amount of data incoming to Apple iPhones and iPads by 7% to 14%, although in extreme cases it was asserted that the overstatement can be as much as 300%.

AT&T ended its unlimited data plan in June 2010 and introduced tiered data usage plans instead. AT&T charged Hendricks for exceeding his allotted 200 megabyte monthly data limit, an overage that Hendricks asserts only occurred because AT&T inaccurately stated his data usage in the first place.

The lawsuit gained additional attention in May after Hendricks’ lawyers hired an independent consultant to test the way data usage was logged on the AT&T wireless network. The results of the study, which were reported on NBC’s Today show, showed that AT&T inflated the usage on literally every data transaction on the iPhones and iPads purchased for the consultant’s test, according to the attorneys. A test was conducted on a brand-new iPhone, which was left idle for 10 days with no apps or data-consuming features running. At the end of the test period, Hendricks’ lawyers say a phone bill audit showed that AT&T billed the account for 35 data transactions totaling 2.3 MB of what the lawyers are calling “phantom” data usage.

The AT&T case represents a more publicized example of a problem that occurs regularly, but with much less fanfare, on other telecommunications networks all over the United States. Whether it be for voice or data services, wireless or landline, overbilling by telecommunications carriers can seem the rule rather than the exception. A typical business today uses such a complex combination of telecom services that it’s difficult for a non-specialist to make sure that telecom dollars are being spent efficiently and without waste. That’s why hiring a telecommunications management firm like Telanalysis, with years of expertise in telecom audit and management services, can literally pay for itself and continue to reduce a company’s operating costs into the future.

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