Zamtel Launches Converged Billing

Zamtel-Billboard NdolaZamtel, the State-run, Fixed and Mobile Operator in Zambia, launched a new billing platform, that allows for converged Service Offering: Billing, Customer Care and Airtime Distribution. The Online Convergent Billing Platform, supplied by ZTE of China, is called Zsmart.

According to The Daily Mail Online, the event was graced by the Minister of of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication – Yamfwa Mukanga, said the new Platform will enhance efficiency of its mobile, fixed and data network.

The new platform is expected to double the capacity to five million subscribers and will process over 2,000 call attempts per second. The system was deployed after extensive training of Zamtel staff across many functions in China and locally.  Insiders say the deployment is on a large scale and will see training until up to May, and will include business units such as IT, Revenue Assurance and Customer Service.

A single customer management and billing platform entails customers can now have a single bill or prepaid package for their voice, SMS, data and other value-added services. This should be the first and only convergent platfomr for fixed and mobile communications in the industry if it shall work as said by the Minister.

Other capabilities include additional channels for airtime distribution and more advanced configurable offers and promotions. Mr Mukanga said he is optimistic that this will improve and enhance operational efficiency of the company. “This development will make it possible for Zamtel to charge for products and services using a single unified platform,” Mr Mukanga said.

Zamtel chairperson Lawrence Mwinga said the company remains committed to providing quality services to its customers. If this is so, we hope the on-going network expansion, will translate in improved customer experience and customer service shall improve by investing in this new billing platform.

We question the decision to invest in an outright purchase of the ZTE Online Convergent Billing System, in an era when many products and software solutions are rented, with on-site support (for daily Operations and Maintenance) and additional off-site tech support when issues arise. Given, Zamtel is the only Operator without much of its operations outsourced, we hope this improvement in technology will translate to better customer experience on calls, wider service offerings, and deeper integration of the business (fixed and mobile).

On the other hand, Zsmart was regarded by the world-famous telecom consulting company Ovum as next generation technology back in 2008 from multiple aspects such as cost reduction, quick market reaction, and network and business convergence. Scoring a big contract like Zamtel is a plus for ZTE, who are one of the least-cost Suppliers in the Telecoms space.