Past and Future of Invoicing Processes in Telecommunications – Part 1

11 September 2017 FIQAS

When FIQAS started in the mid-nineties of the last century, the market operated in a completely different way than it does now. It seemed interesting to look back and compare the past with my ideas for the future.

Pioniers and cowboys

FIQAS began in the telecommunications market before liberalization was a reality. At that time, pioneering parties were already working around existing legislation. The PTT (former Dutch telecom company) charged a relatively high price per minute, so others attempted to gain a part of that market by offering lower prices. They used the callback principle. We worked for parties that, for instance, had you call an American number first, then hang up, and you’d receive a call back. Subsequently, you could make a call at a lower rate. FIQAS handled the tariffing of the call detail records. Even though the market wasn’t free at that time, cheaper calls were already possible. Some of these parties, which started somewhat like cowboys, later continued with their own networks and carriers.

Flexibility for the New Market Players

Before the market opened, there were monopolists operating with their own large systems. Suddenly, smaller players emerged with a need for smaller, less expensive systems, but mainly for flexibility. Better pricing and specific discounts were necessary to compete against the major market players and gain market share. But, of course, your system had to be able to handle that. Interestingly, the steps we devised in the invoicing process chain back then have remained virtually the same over the years. The only difference is that nowadays, we offer this flexibility to both challengers and established names in the market.

Post-Hype and Bubble Burst of 2000

Leading up to the bubble burst of 2000, telecom companies that were also involved in the internet would do anything to gain market share, attracting investors. When these investors realized that many of the telecom companies weren’t actually making any money, the bubble burst. Suddenly, knowing your return on investment became crucial. That’s where we could certainly help. After the hype, around 2001, we formed an alliance with a company that supplied switches and one that provided mediation. We handled billing for international telecom companies setting up their network in this way.

From Telecom to Other Sectors

The invoicing process in the telecommunications market is quite complex. This complexity was an advantage for FIQAS. Because we had a system that effortlessly served telecom companies, we could also easily step into other, less complex markets and assist customers there. However, the telecom market didn’t stand still. Various providers realized that, besides phone calls, you could also send data over telecom networks. They offered bundles with phone, TV, and internet. It’s still crucial to send your customers an invoice that combines all these services. That’s what FIQAS does: a convergent bill that provides clarity for the end customer.

What We’ve Learned from Our Past

If you sell something in a specific way, for instance, with specific discounts on certain days or times, you want to be able to bill in the same manner. We make this possible for our customers, thanks to the experience we gained in our early days.

I’ll delve deeper into the transition from the past to the future in my next article. Then, I’ll explore the challenges that the telecommunications market and other sectors are facing. I’ll also give a glimpse of the future products that FIQAS is working on.

Rob Geleijn
CEO FIQAS Software B.V.

Since 1989, FIQAS has been an authority in the field of invoicing processes, serving renowned clients both nationally and internationally, operating from Aalsmeer.

More information?

Keen to find out if our platform is right for your organisation? Would you like to find out more or do you have any specific questions? Then get in touch. We’d love to talk!

Willem Lemmers

Senior Consultant

+31 297 382323

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