SaskTel Billing Errors Underline Need for National Wireless Standards

by Jordan Richardson on December 5, 2012

The leading full service communications provider in the province of Saskatchewan had some customers with stunned looks on their faces after a system glitch resulted in wireless bills to amounts of anywhere between a few cents to a whopping $100,00.

SaskTel says that the billing error affects about 9,000 customers and that those affected are in the November 23 and November 26 billing periods.

SaskTel says that affected bills have incorrectly calculated their Saskatchewan data prices at US data rates, which accounts for the majority of the changes. One has to imagine that anyone receiving a $100,000 bill was in for quite a shock.

“SaskTel will be asking those customers that are impacted to not pay their November bill,” the company said in a statement. “The appropriate credit will be applied on their December bill and there will be no late payment charges.”

According to SaskTel’s explanation, the billing errors came as a result of their installation of a 4G LTE network upgrade. The company is hoping that their LTE network will go live in earl February 2013, with Phase One deployment in motion in the autumn season in Regina and Saskatoon as well as surrounding areas.

SaskTel says they’re notifying customers by text message and phone where possible. They will also be sending out letters.

“We are very aware that customers are sensitive about things like this,” said Michelle Englot, spokeswoman for SaskTel. “That is one of the reasons we decided that we definitely needed to contact any customers impacted by phone personally.”

This falls in line with October reports from the Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications Services that stated that routine errors on cell phone bills were up. In 2011 and 2012, the Commissioner stated a 35 percent increase in billing complaints from previous years. Billing complaints accounted for more than half of all telecom services complaints over the last three years.

While SaskTel deserves credit for owning up to the errors and taking the necessary mistakes to remedy them, the situation does underline the need for a national standard to handle these sorts of things correctly and to launch a supportable set of standards for service provider conduct.

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SaskTel launches 4G LTE Network —
February 1, 2013 at 5:52 am

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