Publisher drops Telstra over caller ID, price

Feature necessary for local businesses to compete globally

In a strange case of how something simple can result in a big IT contract change, a local enterprise has switched from Telstra to Optus because of the Big T's refusal to support caller ID for international originating calls, in addition to cost.

Publishing company Pearson Australia Group is looking to implement a call centre application to support Pearson's book publishing businesses in Australia and New Zealand, and potentially other international subsidiaries in the group, including India.

To do this, Pearson needs to integrate the in-bound caller ID with its CRM system to streamline the customer support process.

Pearson Australia Group information services director Peter Dart told Computerworld its systems could not identify the incoming numbers from 0800 numbers originating from New Zealand.

Domestic numbers are fine, but there's no caller ID for international calls with Telstra.

"It seems that someone in Telstra has decided that we won't be able to screen pop because they won't give us the incoming caller ID," Dart said. "This is really disappointing as we will not be able to compete internally for this business unless we change to Optus."

Dart then made the decision to move away from Telstra to Optus.

"Caller ID was not the only reason as Optus is also significantly cheaper, but the caller ID problem was the reason for talking to them initially," he said.

"I was also thinking that this must affect many other businesses and must make it even more difficult for Australia to compete internationally."

When Dart asked Telstra for an explanation for the lack of caller ID, the response from a senior enterprise and government director was because of "technical limitations".

"Most customer-premises equipment (CPE) in use in Australia will have trouble displaying the full digit train so a decision was made not to present them," according to Telstra.

Apparently Optus doesn't share Telstra's concern about the ability for in-house systems to support international caller ID.

Dart is now in the process of moving Pearson's telephony service to Optus but is not crowing over the decision.

"It's disappointing that an Australian company can't provide this service," he said.

Computerworld is waiting for a response from Telstra on the status of international caller ID support.

Do you have any questions or comments about this story? Please e-mail Rodney Gedda at rodney_gedda@idg.com.au.

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Rodney Gedda

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