Vodafone taps Netonomy for Net-based customer services

Vodafone Group has selected Netonomy Inc., a developer of Internet-based self-service portals for wireless telecommunication corporate customers, to launch Vodafone Corporate Online, the companies announced Monday.

Netonomy will use its software product MyNetonomy to create the dedicated, self-service portal to allow Vodafone corporate customers to purchase services, hardware and accessories direct from Vodafone Corporate, said Mike Evans, vice president, international marketing for Netonomy.

"This will replace the system that Vodafone had built for themselves. The initial use will be for the telecom managers, which includes several hundred thousand individuals," Evans said.

According to Evans, Vodafone has given Netonomy a three month time scale to implement the service, the installation of which began about a month ago. Evans declined to disclose any financial terms of the agreement.

Other Netonomy customers include Belgian mobile phone operator Mobistar SA, owned by France Télécom SA.

"The key thing from a user angle is that this is the next generation of wireless customer care. Instead of just relying on voice-based call centers, this works as a complement to the call center, especially since there are a number of things that work better through a portal," Evans said.

For example, he said, reporting lost or stolen mobile handsets can be done more efficiently over an Internet-based portal as users can quickly report the theft and choose if they want to divert calls to another line and if they'd like to leave a voice message to let their callers know their phone is gone. "There is a complete consistency of response with the portal," Evans said.

The market for Internet-based wireless customer care services is still in its infancy, and according to Evans, Netonomy's biggest competitors are the very wireless telecommunications companies that they are trying to serve. "At this point, the telcos are trying to make the portals themselves. Some of them have developed systems in-house and our biggest job is persuading them that our package solution is a better way forward, in part because we have the experience of working with an assortment of telcos and can focus on ongoing support and maintenance," Evans said.

Vodafone, in Newbury, England, can be reached at +44-1635-33251 or http://www.vodafone.com/. Netonomy, with dual headquarters in Boston and Paris, can be contacted at +1-617-292-9510 and at +33-1-56-60-53-03, or online at http://www.netonomy.com/.

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