For this UK-based international phone operator, the growing popularity of mobile broadband in developing markets is one of the key drivers behind the company’s growth. Therefore, the Director of Business Development in charge of Far East markets was satisfied to see a significant increase in calls to the Far East. The Director wanted to further examine this market, using Verix, which allows her to easily slice and dice the market data, notice changes, spot trends, look at competitive activity, and better understand this increase in calls.
The Verix system delivered a HotSpot, pointing out that this abnormally sharp increase in calls to the Far East happened only in the prepaid calling card segment. Further, revenues in this segment have not grown accordingly. What is going on? Why didn’t the increase in usage result in higher revenues? The Director didn’t have to wait for losses to pile up before recognizing that something was wrong. She didn’t have to review numerous reports. The HotSpot immediately narrowed down the situation to the Prepaid Calling Card segment, in the Far East.
To analyze the root cause of this conflict between growth in usage and stagnant revenues, the Director of Business Development reviews the contextual information that is available to her along with the HotSpot. She learns at a glance that the problem is not limited to one partner. On the HotSpots screen she sees that all major partners show a significant increase in calls via prepaid calling cards and almost unchanged revenues. She can further see that the billing of these calls is not correlated with the sharp increase in number of calls, which leads her to suspect there might be an error in the billing system, causing the prepaid calls to be billed at a much lower rate than they should have been.
The Director shares her suspicion with the accounting department, and they quickly detect the error and fix it, so calls via prepaid calling cards will be adequately billed. Apparently, dealers selling these prepaid cards found out about the glitch in the Company’s billing system and took advantage of it, pushing these cards in communities with heavy call volume to the Far East.
Since this error occurred only in a certain sub segment: Calls to the Far East via prepaid calling cards, if it wouldn’t be for the Verix system, it would have probably taken a significant amount of time to discover this revenue drain. As the rumor of the “cheap” calling opportunity spread, it is likely that the losses would have grown sharply if not detected so early.
The early detection stopped the mounting losses, heading for over $1M per month.