ADC Bags Big Billing Contract

Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) is to replace a number of existing billing systems currently used in its domestic market with a single product from ADC Telecommunications Inc. (Nasdaq: ADCT) (see ADC Wins DT Billing Contract).

ADC's Singl.eView billing and customer relationship management (CRM) system will initially be used by the carrier in its home market for the rating and billing of content and services from IP portals, as well as for unspecified consumer IP services, according to Rudi Baumann, VP of sales in central and eastern Europe at ADC.

The software will replace legacy systems, some of which were developed in-house and others sourced from billing companies that Baumann suggested have gone out of business.

Financial details were not disclosed, and Deutsche Telekom had not responded to requests for further details at press time.

Replacing legacy software is a tricky business. Many billing modules are "bolted on" to existing systems, so ADC's own professional services group is working with third-party systems integrators and Telekom's IT and integration business, T-Systems International GmbH to manage the transition.

ADC has the capacity to manage such a process and meet Deutsche Telekom's needs, believes Mark Basham, director, OSS, at consultancy RHK Inc. "If ADC is replacing an existing system for billing IP services, then that system must be quite new and must have failed to make the grade," he says.

It's very possible that some of the software being replaced came from former billing system supplier TelesensKSCL, which announced back in March 2001 that it had been awarded a contract to develop a single billing platform for all of DT's IP services. TelesensKSCL was broken up last July when billing vendor Convergys Corp. (NYSE: CVG) effectively bought the KSCL part of the company for a sum believed to be as low as $10 million. The Telesens part of the business, which had Deutsche Telekom as one of its few customers, was renamed Billing Components.

Basham believes the German carrier would have been reviewing its systems as long ago as last summer and that ADC would have been one of the few that could offer a converged system that could handle both voice and data traffic. Other vendors with such systems are Amdocs Ltd. (NYSE: DOX), Convergys, CSG Systems International Inc. (Nasdaq: CSGS), and SchlumbergerSema, and these are the companies the RHK man expects to dominate the billing scene in the coming years.

ADC says this deployment is the result of a 10-year "framework" agreement with the German operator, and Baumann says that, as Telekom has a policy to reduce the number of billing systems it uses globally, there "is great potential for our system to be used outside Germany" to bill for any type of service.

— Ray Le Maistre, Editor, Boardwatch

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