Singapore: StarHub will not sue Cap Gemini despite billing delays(apparent database problem) : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Tuesday, October 10 2:35 PM SGT Singapore: StarHub will not sue Cap Gemini despite billing delays(apparent database problem)

SINGAPORE--To sue or not to sue? Is this really the question on StarHub Pte Ltd's mind?

While local dealers and analysts say StarHub could sue its billing systems provider Cap Gemini Ernst & Young Asia Pacific, the telco told that it was not interested in seeking legal redress.

For months since launching its service in April, StarHub's subscribers have not been receiving their phone bills. This prompted public complaints from several users.

"We are not suing Cap Gemini as we have a good working relationship (with them) and we are working closely with them to introduce more features and functionality into our customer care and billing systems," said a StarHub spokesperson when contacted today.

StarHub has awarded Cap Gemini with contracts worth about S$100 million to date, the StarHub spokesperson confirmed.

"We have already sent out bills to the majority of our customers. Many of them would have already received at least one or more bills," he said.

However, he admitted that "a very small group" of customers have not received their first bill at this stage but he declined to provide actual figures.

According to StarHub, it had 100,000 (post-paid) mobile subscribers as of August. As of June, it had chalked up 424,000 registered users for its 008 IDD service.

Will the IDA fine StarHub?

On September 15, the Info-communications Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) released its Code of Practice for Competition in the Provision of Telecommunication Services. Effective September 29, all service providers would have had to adhere to the code or face fines up to S$1 million.

Under the code, telco operators could get fined for numerous offences including providing inaccurate and untimely bills.

With the billing fiasco, will StarHub get fined. No, said the IDA.

When contacted, an IDA spokesperson said that it has told StarHub to resolve its billing problems as soon as possible but did not give the telco a deadline to do so. She did not elaborate.

Commenting on the issue, Bertrand Bidaud, Gartner director of telecommunication & eBiz for Asia Pacific, said: "Such billing problems are usual in the telco industry particularly when they are starting the company has to handle a large database in such a short time frame."

"On who is liable, it's very much dependent on the contractual responsibility between the two companies (StarHub and Cap Gemini)," Bidaud told in a telephone interview yesterday.

Some industry observers say that StarHub's billing problems, in time, could translate to a loss of confidence on the customers part, which could lead to a dip in its customer base.

And how would Cap Gemini compensate StarHub for any future losses? When contacted by, Cap Gemini marketing director Elena Wong declined to comment.

StarHub's shareholders include British Telecommunications Plc and Japan's NTT Corp as well as ST Telemedia Pte Ltd and Singapore Power Ltd--both owned by the Singapore government.

-- Carl Jenkins (, October 10, 2000

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