In separate, major transactions, two billing and customer
management technology firms strengthened themselves recently by expanding their customer
bases or forming strategic partnerships to improve data platforms.
CSG Systems Inc., of Englewood, Colo., announced it signed
a contract with neighboring EchoStar Communications Corp. in Littleton. CSG will provide
the direct-broadcast satellite company's Dish Network with customer care and billing
The terms of the three-year deal were not disclosed.
EchoStar will implement several of CSG's call-center applications, such as the Advanced
Customer Service Representative, a graphical user interface which allows CSRs
point-and-click access to services from a desktop; and CSG Statement Express, which allows
customer service representatives to retrieve and print subscriber statements from their
Dish Network currently serves 2.3 million customers.
Janco Partners analysts last week also noted that AT&T
Corp.'s acquisition of MediaOne Group Inc. could be good news for CSG, which currently
serves around 20 percent of MediaOne's cable customer base, or about 1 million
subscribers. CSG is the billing provider for AT&T Broadband & Internet Services.
Janco recommends CSG's stock.
Separately, Kenan Systems Corp., a potential competitor in
the converged billing market, last week allied itself with Cap Gemini Group, a European
management consulting and systems integration company. Cap Gemini will offer solutions
based on Kenan's Arbor product suite for users supplying fixed-line and mobile telephony,
broadband, data and cable services.
The partnership will help Kenan create new product and
service bundles to attract and retain customers. Kenan, which was recently acquired by
Lucent Technologies, serves telecom customers around the world, including @Home Networks,
AT&T Corp., GTE Corp. and MCI-WorldCom Inc. Executives say they want to expand
deployment among domestic cable companies.
Kenan also signed a contract to provide billing support to
500,000 subscribers served by CTBC Telecom, a private telephony firm in Uberlandia,
Brazil. The South American company will use Arbor to support wireline and wireless
telephony, Internet services and cable, providing users with a single bill.
Another expanding firm, Proxima Systems of Quebec, has just
installed its convergence product, Pro-Cable, to serve the customers of Look
Look operates the largest digital multichannel, multipoint
distribution system (MMDS) network in Canada. Pro-Cable will service the customers in a
system to be launched in Ontario and Quebec. Initially, the software will bill 12,000
wireless cable clients in Southern Ontario and greater Montreal. The software can also
handle pay-per-view, telephony and Internet services.