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Vodafone billing woes continue

While EDS contractors are left with their feet up

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Vodafone's billing system continues to throw out random invoices, while denying customers access to their online billing.

What is more, even the simple matter of issuing paper-based bills has become impossible as the firm's contractor, Amdocs, continues to struggle to implement a working billing system.

Voda coughed to billing problems earlier this month, though it was coy on where responsibility for the problems lay. The company has three major outsourcing partners, IBM, EDS and Amdocs.

It now appears that Amdocs is responsible for a much-heralded replacement billing system for the UK, originally intended for launch over the May bank holiday earlier this year. While the problem seems to lie with Amdocs, the exact nature of the problem - or problems - is not clear.

Meanwhile, the word from Vodafone's headquarters in Newbury is that since becoming IT director in July Phil Jordan has been busy winding up IT projects in an attempt to impose some coherence on the telco's IT contract strategy.

The cull has seen fellow contractor EDS left with no projects at all. Despite signing up to run 60 per cent of Vodafone's projects in the UK, the company has had little more than housekeeping to do, leaving its engineers sitting around doing nothing all day.

All large telecommunications companies are taking a long, hard look at their billing systems, which generally resemble a Salvador Dalí rendition of spaghetti junction, if they are documented well enough to allow visualisation.

Amdocs was unavailable to comment. Vodafone wasn't available to update us on its progress, but the message is loud and clear. If you're a Vodafone customer, read your bills carefully. ®

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