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StarHub Grappling with Billing Delays

After 3 months of service, half its customers have not received their first bill

By Teh Hooi Ling


Singapore's new telecom operator, StarHub, appears to be having problems with its billing system. After three months of service, half of its customers have yet to receive their first bill.

Not that its customers are complaining. BT understands that a number of StarHub's mobile phone trialists who took up the service in April have not been billed even once.

The company signed up 51,700 mobile customers and handled some four million international call-minutes in April this year.

When contacted, StarHub's vice-president for information technology Ho Duan Meng said: "To date, StarHub has issued bills to approximately 30,000 mobile and IDD customers. The next billing cycle is planned for July 3, 2000. We anticipate that most of our remaining customers will receive their first bill by next week."

She said it was common for initial services to have some "teething problems" with billing systems. "In fact, we anticipated it. We believe these issues have been resolved," she said.

"To ensure that all bills are generated properly and accurately, we are making a visual inspection of each bill for the first three to five cycles and this will obviously take some time." She added that StarHub values and appreciates the feedback received from customers. "We believe this is helpful and important for the enhancement of our business processes."

But the glitches in StarHub seem to go beyond billing. A reader, Mrs P Tan, told BT that she registered for StarHub's mobile phone service on May 6. On Tuesday, a message which said "SIM registration fails" appeared on her phone. And she has been unable to use the phone since then.

When she called up StarHub, she was told that there was no trace of her ever registering. She was asked to show proof of her registration and payment before StarHub would reactivate her line.

StarHub's billing system was provided by Europe's largest information technology consulting group, Cap Gemini. The group clinched a contract worth about $100 million from StarHub last year for systems integration and IT services.

The deal -- the largest systems integration project in Asia at the time -- covers implementation, integration and maintenance of 12 of StarHub's systems, including billing, customer care, trouble-shooting and inter-carrier settlements. Cap Gemini did not return BT's call yesterday.

StarHub's Ms Ho said: "StarHub has a good relationship with Cap Gemini and are working well with them, particularly on future billing enhancements."

-- (, June 29, 2000

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