Vodafone billing back in Kiwi hands

Sharing information with Vodafone Hutchison Australia is 'no longer appropriate'

Vodafone says it has repatriated its billing and customer management systems to New Zealand, three years after merging them with those of Vodafone Australia in a problem-plagued trans-Tasman project rumoured to have cost at least $300 million.

Spokesman Paul Brislen says the decision was made following last year's merger of Vodafone Australia with former rival mobile network operator Hutchison.

"The newly merged entity, VHA (Vodafone Hutchison Australia), will operate its own billing system and Vodafone New Zealand will operate its own billing system.

"Basically, they're the same system.

"However, sharing information between the two companies is no longer appropriate."

Brislen says the change gives Vodafone New Zealand "greater redundancy and more control over the systems as we'll have access to them directly".

The switch took place over Easter, with a planned outage during the middle of the night, he says.

Vodafone picked IBM to provide a merged CRM, billing and provisioning system to its subsidiaries in Australia, New Zealand and Fiji in 2003.

The seemingly smooth unravelling of the merged system was in marked contrast to a series of glitches when Vodafone switched to the shared trans-Tasman system in 2007.

Vodafone on-account customers were unable to check their account balances for six weeks and 700 customers could not receive calls when the system failed to recognise that their bills had been paid.

Some of the problems then stemmed from accounts that had been incorrectly configured in Vodafone's old billing system.

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