OpenAir accuses mmO2 of billing errors

6 Sep 2004

OpenAir, a UK-based reseller which purchases wholesale voice minutes from mmO2 to sell to its own customers, has accused the mobile network operator of ‘a number of billing idiosyncrasies’ which it claims has resulted in many of its customers being overcharged. OpenAir says that mmO2’s all-inclusive bundles packages are a particular cause for concern, and that in some instances its customers have been billed for voice calls which should have been free. The all-inclusive offers give customers a number of ‘free’ voice minutes in return for paying a standard monthly cost. mmO2 has refuted the accusations claiming that its billing systems are checked by independent, external auditors and the industry regulator, and that its accuracy rating is ‘within industry standards and there has never been any evidence or concern that millions of customers might be overcharged’.

OpenAir and mmO2 have enjoyed a turbulent relationship since the former began purchasing wholesale minutes from the mobile operator in 2002. At the end of 2003 mmO2 terminated its service agreement with the company following a long-running legal dispute, giving the reseller the required statutory three months’ notice. The decision led to OpenAir seeking compensation for bad debts worth around GBP750,000 it said it incurred from its customers withholding payment over billing errors. For its part, mmO2 is counter-suing OpenAir for more than GBP1 million in unpaid bills, although both sides are believed to be prepared to enter into mediation to resolve the dispute.

United Kingdom, Telefonica O2 Europe