AOL, EchoStar Ink Billing Deals


One billing-software vendor inked a large deal with the world's largest
Internet-service provider Monday, while another was granted an extension with
the second-largest direct-broadcast satellite company in the United States.

In the first deal, Portal Software Inc. signed a 'multimillion-dollar,
multiyear' contract with America Online Inc.

AOL said it will use Portal's 'Infranet' software platform to bill for
existing and future services. Infranet allows service providers to ramp up new
services and to bill customers based on specific business models and price
plans, the companies said.

Portal's other customers include Qwest Communications International Inc.,
Sprint Corp., Deutsche Telekom AG and France Telecom.

And in the second deal, after losing AT&T Broadband's
cable-telephony-billing business to rival Convergys Corp., CSG Systems
International Inc. rebounded when EchoStar Communications Corp. reupped with the
company, naming it the DBS provider's exclusive provider of customer-care and
billing services for its video and high-speed Internet services through 2004.
Financial terms were not disclosed.

As part of the re-signing, EchoStar will employ CSG's software to provide
data to its customer-service centers, field services and third-party