Everything billing teams need to know for 2025
The 2025 Switch Off has been the major focus of the channel for several years. While vendors and aggregators are focusing on upgrading end-users to fibre and UC solutions, we want to make sure billers are fully prepared for the transition.
What’s the ‘state of play’?
The channel is in the middle of the transition that started back in 2018!
From the beginning…
That’s when Openreach announced its plans to deactivate the PSTN and ISDN networks in favour of an All-IP future based on fibre.
Two trial areas, Salisbury and Mildenhall, were identified and their WLR exchanges were withdrawn in Dec 2020 and May 2021 respectively.
Since then, more and more exchanges have been removed from the WLR provisioning portal, preventing the sale of new lines, while ensuring tickets and vendor support is still available.
Stop sell areas are growing
Fast-forward to today and 251 exchanges have already been limited, with the last tranche of 69 withdrawn late April.
Now that many transitional challenges have been solved, Stop Sell tranches are getting larger and more frequent.
The final tranche of 14 exchanges still hasn’t been scheduled. But Openreach plans to launch the full National WLR Stop Sell in Sept 2023 – that’s not too long away!
Are you Ofcom compliant?
Towards the end of last year, Ofcom made significant changes to their General Conditions and the definitions of different-sized business customers:
- Resellers must now help consumers and Small Enterprise Customers manage their usage and spend on communications services. In addition, they must provide a way of monitoring and controlling their usage.
- Channel businesses should also give consumers and Small Enterprise customers timely information on tariff usage and notify customers when allowances have been used up.
- Those same consumers and Small Enterprise Customers should have the ability to set usage limits (either financial or volume-related).
Discover Ofcom’s new definitions by reading the full blog!
“We were shocked at the number of resellers who reached out to us after discovering their legacy billing solutions were non-compliant with the recent Ofcom updates.” Harry McKeever, Director
Thankfully, we’ve been integrating this level of flexibility and visibility to resellers and their end-users.
ZOEY ticks all these billing boxes:
- Automatically imports and rates usage hourly.
- End-users can access their portal to see current consumption as %, £, and duration.
- Customers can also set two stages of alerts at any percentage, cost or time threshold.
- ZOEY sends automated SMS and email alerts at these stages.
- Resellers can customise body text in alerts, including customer-specific placeholder values.
Being on the wrong side of these new guidelines won’t just expose your business to possible fines, but also risks your credibility and revenue. Indeed, customers are more likely to move to a competitor who remains compliant.
Want to see ZOEY’s self-serve functionality in action? Click to book a demo.
The Future of Billing
Before you can take advantage of future opportunities, you need to know where you are. That means a company-wide billing audit.
At a minimum, we’d recommend:
- Listing all your customers and services attributed to their accounts
- Matching customer services to contract end-dates
- Listing all services bought from suppliers
- Cross-referencing to ensure no services are missed
- Get feedback from customers and colleagues on their general pain points
Get a plan in place to address any issues you find along the way!
Want to discuss the finer detail of a telecoms billing audit? Click to contact the team.
Billing Opportunities – How to get the most from your billing now
If you’re considering running a full audit, now is also the perfect time to review your billing experience from the customer’s perspective.
Once you have a better understanding of all your services (via your audit), you can look to improve your whole billing experience. This includes combining multiple bills into a single invoice, simplifying the billing process and preventing customer confusion and missed payments!
Furthermore, new propositions like Connectivity-as-a-Service will create more bite-sized services that can be flexed up and down, depending on demand. These will continue to grow in popularity as budgets tighten in the shadow of a possible recession. This is where automated, real-time usage data imports into your billing platform can ensure accuracy and timely bill runs.
Another consideration in the customer experience is how you can make the transition seamless, for instance moving from an ISDN-based PBX to a hosted SIP Trunking solution. In this scenario, a biller is going to have to remove hundreds, if not thousands of lines from the billing platform, then re-add the new service. That’s a lot of opportunities for human error! However, if your billing platform could bulk-remove a given service and replace it with another – all in just a few clicks – you can take that human error out of the equation. This ensures accurate bills as soon as the new system is live.
In addition, as typical channel services – connectivity, voice, cloud – become even more commoditised or moved to subscription models, the user experience becomes the great differentiator. Offering single invoices, the ability to self-serve and visibility over usage and spend will all become increasingly important in the coming years.
Therefore, at a bare minimum, your billing platform should enable you to include everything from ‘as-a-Service’ products, managed services, call and data bundles, IoT services and more. It should also bulk manage those services so pricing or package edits don’t need to be made on an account level.
If that’s not possible on your platform, it’s probably time you look elsewhere.
How will SoGEA impact billing?
SoGEA, Openreach’s replacement for legacy combined PSTN and Broadband/Ethernet orders will accelerate service delivery. This is due to reduced complexity and only one line to install.
Inevitably however, this means less time to organise billing before lines go live. This is why it’s important that your billing platform can integrate with Openreach’s provisioning portal to ensure your services’ details are kept up to date and you’re able to bill as soon as the service is connected.
That’s why API integration is such a hot topic in the channel. Leveraging APIs in a meaningful way for the customer and the reseller allows them to offer a service delivery and customer experience that truly competes with leading networks!
Discover The Power of APIs and our view from a billing perspective by reading the full Comms Businss article!
Moving billing away from WLR
Primarily, the biggest change to your day-to-day is the lack of reliance on your WLR ordering portal.
Depending on your relationship with Openreach, this may be a great relief – both financially and operationally. Equally if your services are sourced by a wholesaler, it may not affect your ordering and ticketing workflows at all.
The question remains… After 2025, why should you pay for unusable legacy functions? In short – you shouldn’t!
We’ve performed over 100 reseller migrations in the last couple of years. Each one ensured revenue was either the same, or higher, than our customers’ previous billing systems.
Plus, our billing experts regularly uncover missed or lost lines and charges. We make it our mission to ensure resellers aren’t losing money from services and bundles being split and sold on.
So, if you want to be fully prepared for our All-IP future, with:
- All the self-serve features your customers need (and Ofcom dictate)
- Hourly CDR auto-imports to a ISO27001-secure datacentre
- Granular margin analysis and reporting tools
- Powerful bulk amend functions to optimise billers’ time
- Invoice runs that take minutes not days
- All the support (human and digital) that you’ll ever need
Then get in touch today!