PLA’s Guide To Phone Company Systems and Procedures

This page is just a bunch of miscellaneous information about various phone companies around the U.S. and Canada. It's far from complete, but should help familiarize some people with the way that phone company billing systems work. Don't make fun of us when we spell system names and offices wrong. Phone companies are always merging and/or changing their names, so expect some out of date information here. If you have anything to contribute, please do so in the comments at the bottom.

AT&T (formally SBC, Southwestern Bell, Pacific Bell)

AT&T now covers a large part of the country. It has gobbled up phone companies like Pacific Bell, Ameritech, Southwestern Bell and SNET. We have some information on SBC Ameritech's systems - the main system the billing reps use is called TCS which stands for Telemarketing Control System. They connect using a "3270" telnet client. They also use B.I., also known as a "billing screen" which is a system to pull up customers bills. Both TCS and BI are used by outbound telemarketers and inbound operators. Here are some screen shots of TCS, taken in February 2005:


TCS Login screen
TCS Start screen

On the TCS start screen (inb0002) all that is required is the telephone number and program ID for outbound sales. The program ID is typically populated on the local dialer screens (something like 7r) for inbound calls. To disconnect, the program ID would be dx.

SBC Ameritech reps also use systems called "eson" which is pronounced "Eeee sawn", SAG (Street Address Guide) and ASIS.

Pacific Bell reps use BOSS, SORD and Premise. Another system is Exchange Plus - a rep can look in there to tell us the wire center for any given area code and prefix.

Southwestern Bell reps also use Premise.

A former Southwestern Bell rep writes: "As an ATT rep, we used BOSS to access customer records, make adjustments, enter notes, and send copies of bills. Here’s a somewhat lousy photo of what it looks like.


AT&T (formally Bell South)

Bell South covers Florida, Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky. Their customer service reps use systems called Orion, R-Sag and Bocress. Outside technicians can call a department called AFIG (pronounced "Aye Figg") to get cable/pair information. AFIG stands for Address Facility Inventory Group.


Qwest

Qwest was once known as U.S. West. They cover Arizona, New Mexico, Washington, Colorado, Utah, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Iowa.

Customer service reps use systems called BOSS, Premise, Soe-Pad, CARS and Elmos. Their ordering system is called Sonar. We're told that they're phasing out Premise.


Sprint

Sprint offers local service in most states. Kind of like the old GTE - just in certain small areas. Sprint reps use Wil-Serve to pull up accounts, SOE to look up addresses. Employee numbers are in the format of ANA. (letter, number, letter)


Verizon

Verizon spawned from GTE, Bell Atlantic and Nynex. (And Nynex originally spawned from Bell Atlantic) The Bell Atlantic/Nynex reps use Premise, Livewire, Icris, B-mex, SS&S, SOP, Boss, Express, MIN and ICU. And the GTE reps use SMSS and C-Biz. However we think they're merging various systems because sometimes former Bell Atlanic reps can pull up former GTE accounts. We're not too sure which systems are merging. If the account class of service is "LB10" that means it's with a CLEC.

TPX is the system they use to tell you which phone company handles an exchange. (also called Stomps) I think they killed this system recently.

Outside technicians at former Bell Atlantic/Nynex would call into an office called MLAC to check cable/pairs and addresses. Outside technicians at former GTE would call into a similar office called DAC-FAC. In California, a former GTE tech would usually need to know the "ACO" that they're working in. The ACO specified which region the tech is working in.


Alltel Wireless

Alltel added 360 Communications, Centurytel Wireless and Southwestco to their collective. Their systems are called V2 and Cellware. V2 reps usually can't pull up Cellware accounts and vice versa.

Their collections department is called Financial Services.


AT&T Wireless

AT&T Wireless is now known as Cingular Wireless but for now we'll leave it in it's own catagory since very little has changed for them behind the scenes yet. Other companies under the AT&T Wireless name were once Vanguard Cellular, Bay Area Cellular, Tritel, Telecorp and Triton PCS. AT&T Wireless is known as Suncom in some areas of AL, KY, TN, AR, LA, NC, SC, VA and GA.

There are 2 different kinds of accounts with AT&T. There is 2G which is also known as Digital or TDMA. And there is 3G, also known as GSM. 3G/GSM accounts are pulled up in a system called "Sebold." or a system called Access. Their collections department is known as Receivables Management.


Nextel Wireless

Nextel accounts are pulled up in Trist or Ensemble.

Their prepaid phones are known as Boost accounts.

The collections department is called "customer finance."


Cingular Wireless

Cingular Wireless includes old cellular companies such as Bell South Mobility, Comcast Cellular, Cellular One, SNET Cellular, Bay Area Cellular, Palmer Cellular, Southwestco, Westel, Mobilecomm, Pacific Bell and Southwestern Bell Wireless. They've also recently aquired AT&T Wireless but I still have the AT&T Wireless stuff in it's own section.

Cingular Wireless uses Clarify, Telligence and CARE to pull up customer accounts.


T-Mobile

T-Mobile spawned from Omnipoint, Voicestream, Aerial, Powertel and Intercel.

They have a billing system called Sampson. We also have a screen shot of a billing system called CAM. We're not sure if CAM is for T-Mobile call centers or just T-Mobile stores. CAM appears to let you look up customer accounts by the mobile telephone number, BAN number, customer name, social security number, tax ID number or SIM card. Here is a screen shot, taken in February 2005:

CAM screen

Departments at T-Mobile are called Customer Care, Financial Care and Advanced Data.

T-Mobile now uses the Watson system. http://watson3.voicestream.com


Sprint PCS

Customer Care reps at Sprint PCS use systems called Premier, P2K and Clarify. Sprint PCS reseller stores use a program called FastTrack which only allows for the activation of phones.

Sprint PCS hires lightbridge to preform credit checks... they hire 3rd party vendor sites for customer service (teleperformanceusa). and they have more than 167 centres around the world.


U.S. Cellular

They call their different market's M.O.'s. Like M.O. 6 and M.O. 3. Reps can only pull up accounts in their own market, I think.

Market 6: includes Illinois, Michigan


Verizon Wireless

Verizon Wireless was once Ameritech Cellular, Primeco, GTE Wireless, Bell Atlantic Mobile, Upstate Cellular, Commnet Cellular, Palmer Cellular and Airtouch. Accounts are pulled up in Vision, Access, I2K and Omni.

When a line is a government or Verizon Corporate account, the regular customer service people will get a "security class error code 3" meaning they don't have access to pull up that kind of an account. A "concession account" means that it's a display phone in a Verizon Wireless store.

Markets:
RNY market includes NJ, NH, NY. We assume RNY means Regional New York.

8 Responses

  1. Douglas Rea says:

    MOBILE TREK (Because In Space No One Can Hear You Dial), is a humorous, zany, off-the-wall look at Sci-Fi and call centres and is currently available in e-book form from http://www.ereadable.com. For anyone who ever had to phone a “call centre”, or worked in a call centre, and thought they were connected to some spacecraft in the distant future. USS Cellforce 1 is an intergalactic mobile phone call centre, in which Captain Pilchard battles the call centre’s of the Krapulans, defeating them and forming a communications alliance. From there they battle the Bornagain and defeat them by crippling their international roaming rights. They go on to negotiate with the Phoebians over their ability to transport any object via a mobile phone to anywhere in the universe, which they call 8G. Through all this Captain Pilchard dreams of retiring to his ferret farm in Edinburgh.
    “Anything resembling anything living…..isn’t”
    Kind Regards,
    Douglas Rea.
    [email protected]

  2. David says:

    No Canadian company secrets? TELUS, Bell Canada?

  3. ATT GUY says:

    As a current ATT residential billing representative we currently still use the progam BOSS for most everything as far as going over peoples bills with them and adjusting things such as charges for late payments and such. We also use this program to note the account. Att has come out with a new program to replace boss called CCTP but boss is still mostley used. If we are going to place an order we do it in a prorgram called ease or if you are a new connect representative you do it in a program called sord or another program CPSOS. CPSOS is generally for orders for HSI. Other programs we use include exchange plus used to find call rates and payment centers. We also use express pay to take customers payments although we are using this less and less as there is now a 5 dollar conivnece fee so we refur our customers to the Ivr the automatied payment system. CRM and EBV are some more of the used programs.

  4. sab0 says:

    “there is now a 5 dollar conivnece fee”

    orly?

  5. boogerman says:

    verizon landlines uses sop as a back end system … the front end and much prettier software is called “cofee”

    message sent via iphone … while at work … ill try to ninja some pictures …

  6. Wonder Woman says:

    Hi Guys, I’m a big fan. Just wondering, what do you guys think of Vonage?? Good / Bad?

  7. HEHEHOOHOOHAHA says:

    I miss using BOSS. Is it still used by AT&T or any other company for collection matters? I thought it was very user friendly. I decided to add it to my resume among my other software experience. When I do a search on it though, nothing comes. So I decided to key word search AT&T BOSS collections and I found you guys. BOSS ROCKS!

  8. PhonePhreaksPhorever says:

    At Qwest as late as 2006, here were the systems. FIrst of all, Qwest (USWEST) was a combination of Pacific Northwest Bell (OR, WA), Mountain Bell (AZ, NM, CO, WY, UT, MT, ID) and Northwestern Bell (MN, ND, SD, IA, NE). Each BOC had a different system configuration. I am thinking a lot of these legacy systems are still there but I do know that they have a front end for ordering. When I was there, the system was called “Consulting Plus”.

    There was also an ordering system called SONAR that had a similar interface for all three BOCs but still had different hosts for each BOC. SONAR would interface with the SOP systems (RSOLAR, SOLAR and SOPAD). SONAR is similar in some ways to the old Pacific Bell StarWriter system however SONAR could retrieve pending orders which was something that Starwriter could not do.. but keep in mind that sales consultants in USWEST/Qwest did not have direct SOP access due to job title issues (order typists were a different title at USWEST).

    PREMIS was used for address validation and number assignment. PREMIS was eventually taken off the rep desktop and changed to a web based interface because PREMIS could not support local number portability.

    In Pacific Northwest Bell, the service order processor was called RSOLAR (it used to be a previous system called CORD which was a carry over from PNB). RSOLAR has some of the same look and feel of SOLAR (Northwest Bell).. The billing system was called CARS. There were separate CARS hosts for WA and OR,

    In Mountain Bell, service orders went through SOPAD. There was a SOPAD host for CO/WY and another for the other five states). Billing was handled in BOSS. There were three different BOSS regions. AZ/NM, CO/WY and UT/MT/ID.

    In Northwestern Bell, service orders went through SOLAR and billing with BOSS.

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