Why are telecom invoices so confusing?

Telecom invoice top the list of some of the most complex and convoluted invoices around. What’s sad is that part of this confusion is by design. The sad truth is that carriers are counting on your organization not reviewing invoices at all. And that’s where it gets expensive.

Why are telecom invoices so confusing?

Inconsistent Billing Rates

Carriers often charge a list price or “base rate” for their various services. Which seems simple enough, you’ll be charged this simple base rate for the services you select, right? Wrong. Base rate + discounts = your ‘net rate’. This is the rate that your sales rep is quoting you before you sign on the dotted line. Discounts can be difficult to follow from contract to invoice, unless you are spending day in and day out reviewing telecom invoices. Read on for more about discounts and how they play into monthly billing next…

Contract Rates vs Discounted Rates

Charges and discounted rates are difficult to discern. Why? Because discounts are fixed while monthly rates are not. So inevitably when the base rate changes, the net rate will also increase, despite an overall discounted rate. Monthly fluctuating rates, taxes and sheer volume add to this confusion…cue eyes glazing over.

Miscellaneous & Erroneous Charges

You may have heard the term ‘Slamming & Cramming’.  Slamming is the illegal practice of switching your telephone provider to another provider without your permission. Cramming, is the illegal practice of placing unauthorized, misleading or deceptive charges on your telephone bill. These bill line items include ringtones, 3rd party promotional texts, personal 800 numbers, and ‘900’ pay-per-use calls. These items are hidden deep in telecom invoices, and if you don’t know what you’re looking for you will probably miss them.

Language / Currency Barrier

Is your telecom team managing any aspect of your international telecom spend? If they are, they’re bound to encounter language and currency translation issues. If you thought an English invoice in USD was difficult to discern, just think what a Bulgarian invoice would look like. Take a quick look at this Bulgarian invoice…

Sheer Volume

Whether it’s the amount of lines in your environment, or the complexity of different services under the same account, the numbers game is never fun to play. Put simply, that 1,000 page invoice is intimidating. Paired with the level of data provided in each invoice, telecom invoices can be completely daunting, especially to an over-worked and under-paid telecom analyst.

Are you struggling to navigate telecom charges? Or is your IT and telecom teams playing the ‘ignorance is bliss’ card? Let our team of telecom experts help you break through the confusion of telecom billing.


About the Author: Jeff Poirior

Jeff brings 25 years of telecommunications and information technology management experience in voice and data networking, server support, and telephony and security; with a significant emphasis on customer service. Prior to joining Valicom, he was chief of the infrastructure support section for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. Jeff was the vice president of operations for CC&N, overseeing telecommunications, help desk, data and desk side support services. Prior to that, he served as the associate director of technical resources for Covance, responsible for managing systems and network operations supporting 1700 users in Wisconsin and Virginia. He has also led data center operations at Magnetek Electric, supporting mainframe systems, client/server applications, telephony systems, and computer-aided design. Jeff holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Cardinal Stritch University and a master’s degree in business administration from University of Phoenix. In addition, Jeff is a past board member of the Wisconsin Telecommunication Association.