B/OSS' Top 10 Stories of 2012

By Craig Galbraith Comments

It's the time of year for making resolutions and looking ahead at what's to come, but it's also a time for reflection.

We tallied the results from our weekly B/OSS newsletters – what you, our readers, clicked on the most – to come up with the top 10 billing/OSS stories of the year. (Click on the links below to read the full stories.) So without further adieu:

#10: Call Centers Shut Down: Despite the growth of mobile phones and services, Verizon Wireless announced plans in March to close three U.S. call centers. Those getting the ax were in Houston, Bellevue, Wash.; and Southfield, Mich. America's largest wireless carrier said it wanted to use its existing facilities more effectively and actually hopes the move will improve customer service. Of the more than 3,000 employees impacted, those who are "in good standing" had the option of relocating to other call centers. Meantime, T-Mobile USA also revealed plans to consolidate its call centers and cut 1,900 jobs. The plan called for consolidating its call center operations from 24 to 17 facilities by the end of June.

#9: Bill Shock's Most Shocking Moments: We compiled a list of the most egregious cases of bill shock we'd ever heard of – and you were interested.

#8: Apple Wireless? Might AT&T and Verizon Wireless might be in for some cutthroat competition from one of its partners? An analyst's prediction had you sit up and take notice in May. Industry strategist Whitey Bluestein said the iPhone maker would soon begin providing mobile-phone services directly to its vast customer base. "Soon" must have a different meaning to Whitey than it does to the rest of us.

#7: Verizon Cramming Lawsuit: Big Red agreed to make specific changes to its billing practices as part of a proposed settlement of a class-action lawsuit that accused the telecommunications titan of billing its landline phone customers for third-party charges that subscribers didn't authorize. A federal judge approved a settlement that made it possible for Verizon customers across the U.S. to receive a full refund for unauthorized third-party charges, a practice often referred to known as "cramming."

#6: Former Comcast Worker Arrested for Billing Crimes: The alleged ringleader of a criminal enterprise was arrested – along with his underlings – in Pennsylvania after Comcast learned that customers were getting discounted services that the cable giant didn't authorize. The man constructed a sophisticated scheme through which customers paid him and his associates a one-time fee ranging from $100 to $200. Nearly 6,000 accounts were impacted over the course of a year, resulting in a loss to Comcast Cable of $2.4 million.

#5: Oracle Buys Taleo: In a deal worth nearly $2 billion, Oracle bought Taleo Corp., a provider of cloud-based talent management to such companies as Abbot Laboratories and Credit Suisse Securities LLC. The February deal was called the largest in the enterprise software industry since November 2011 when HP acquired Autonomy Corp. for more than $10 billion.

#4: Redknee Buys NSN's BSS After Ericsson Rumors: Redknee of Canada announced in December that it was the winner of the Nokia Siemens Networks BSS sweepstakes, purchasing the unit just two days after NSN agreed to sell of its optical networking biz. Nokia Siemens' BSS business provides real-time charging, rating, policy, and customer-care solutions to more than 130 communication service providers. Just three months earlier, sources said Ericsson was the front-runner, and Amdocs was also a potential suitor.

#3: AT&T Angers Entire Town: In February, Sussex, Wisc., city officials said they were fed up with trying to resolve billing disputes with AT&T that had been going on for months. Administrators of the small town near Milwaukee said staff members were wasting valuable time contacting a customer-service team that "isn't helpful." AT&T said it planned to resolve the problem.

#2: NEC Acquires Convergys Unit: In March, NEC announced it would acquire Convergys' Information Management Business Unit for $449 million. The move puts NEC in the ranks of the top full-service telecom IT vendors.

And B/OSS' most-read newsletter story of the year was  ... (see next page)

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