Saturday, April 02, 2011

Cell phone companies should bill employers directly for associate business use; but no system knows how to do it

Telecommunications carriers should develop systems to bill separately employer use of associate’s home landline or cellular phone service.

Cellular phone service presents an issue because it typically is based on a maximum minutes allowance during peak hours, and excepts calls made to mobile phones for the same company. If a large number of minutes are used during peak weekday hours for work, the minutes allowance be exceeded.  Landline service billing is often simpler, but in some cities message units limits are present and more area codes are considered long distance.

A work related call could be made with a pin code that tells the telecommunications carrier to bill the employer separately to a different account with fees as negotiated in advance  with the employer for business use.  This is somewhat the “opposite” of the usual workplace problem; here, it’s business use of personal resources.

Architecturally, such a system could have a large mainframe component and could be similar to billing systems I worked on in the past (daily and monthly and consolidated billing for a credit reporting company in the 1980s; salary deduction billing for a life insurance company in the 1990s). I’m surprised I haven’t heard of such a system having been developed by an EDS, IBM, etc for the telecommunications industry to use. 

For readers who remember me working in ALC at Chilton in Dallas in the 1980s (and "coding out of addressability" using R15), the program name "BA165" was a private joke.  A coworker even had a dream about getting fired (or a "pink slip") over it.  

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