Telecom Billing Interview Questions & Answers

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Telecom Billing Interview Questions

    1. Question 1. What Do I Need To Do In Order To Change The Org Number For Certain Phone Numbers?

      Answer :

      Submit a Pinnacle electronic "change" request for the affected number/s.   If the org change is to an org code that is not under your area of responsibility, then you as the current Telecom Coordinator and the Telecom Coordinator responsible for the new org code must sign and submit a fund/org change request form, found here.

    2. Question 2. What Is Meant By Mrc And Occ?

      Answer :

      MRC stands for Monthly Recurring Charges and usually does not vary from month to month. It reflects charges for telephone, mobile, and voice mail services. OCC stands for Other Charges and Credits. An entry in this category could represent labor charges for the installation of a computer, the cost of equipment replacement, or a credit for phone calls, as a few examples.

    3. Question 3. How Do I Access The Monthly Telecom Bills?

      Answer :

      Only authorized users, for the most part, Telecom Coordinators and budget personnel, have the ability to access the online bill.  The user's NETID and Mesa password are used to access the system.

    4. Question 4. I Am Going To Be Traveling Internationally. What Are My Options For Placing Calls To Other Countries While Traveling Internationally, Or Calling Back To My University Office From Overseas?

      Answer :

      A faculty or staff member who uses a wireless communication device when traveling internationally for Mason business should seek approval for international coverage from his/her Supervisor and then request data and/or a text plan from his/her wireless communication provider for the duration of the trip. The costs for the international service should then be included on the Travel Reimbursement Voucher and the appropriate monthly statement(s) should be attached.

    5. Question 5. If I Am Away From The University, And Need To Call Back To The Office Or My Department, Can I Make A Collect Call To The University?

      Answer :

      No, all university telephone numbers have been programmed to block collect calls.

    6. Question 6. I Use My Personal Cell Phone For University Business. How Can I Request A Stipend?

      Answer :

      Eligibility for a wireless communication device stipend is determined by each unit based on budget availability and on a position-by-position basis.

    7. Question 7. I Use My Ipad (or Other Wireless Device) For University Business. How Can I Request A Stipend?

      Answer :

      Stipends are not available for iPads; however most cell phones can be used as hotspots for devices like iPads. You should request a stipend for business use of wireless communication devices to cover any additional cost associated with cell phone data usage or ‘hotspot’ enabling. Individuals should be mindful of the cost associated with data plans charged to their department while also receiving a stipend for a personal wireless communication device.

    8. Question 8. What Are My Options For Using A Conference Bridge?

      Answer :

      There are two options for a conference bridge. You can utilize the services of VITA (Virginia Information Technology Agency), or you can use the self-service conference bridge offered by George Mason.

    9. Question 9. I Am Unable To Place A Long Distance Call From My Phone?

      Answer :

      It is possible your phone set is blocked from placing long distance calls. Contact your Telecom Coordinator to verify the calling capability of your phone set.  If the calling capability needs to be changed, your Telecom Coordinator needs to submit an electronic Pinnacle "change" request asking that the class of service be changed for that extension.

    10. Question 10. I Share An Extension And Have My Own Voice Mailbox, But The Indicator Light Doesn't Work. What Do I Do?

      Answer :

      Message waiting indicator lights will NEVER come on for those who share an extension. We recommend that those users check their voice mail at least once each day.

    11. Question 11. My Phone Rings Too Many Times Before The Call Goes To Voice Mail. How Do I Change The Number Of Rings On My Phone?

      Answer :

      Contact your Telecom Coordinator and he/she can request a change to your ring count.

      There are three options: 5 rings, 4 rings and 2 rings.

    12. Question 12. I'm A New Employee At George Mason University And I Cannot Access My Voice Mail. What Do I Do?

      Answer :

      Contact your Telecom Coordinator and have him/her submit a request via our online system.

    13. Question 13. How Do I Forward My Phone To Voice Mail?

      Answer :

      Single line set: To Activate -- Lift handset, dial *02, hear regular dial tone. Dial 5-digit extension where calls will be sent, hang up. To Cancel -- Lift handset, dial *03, hear regular dial tone, hang up.

      Multi-line set: To Activate -- Without lifting the handset, press Forward key (indicator flashes) and dial the 5-digit phone number where calls will be sent. Press Forward key again (indicator becomes steady). To Cancel -- Without lifting the handset, press Forward key (indicator goes off). To Reactivate -- To forward to the number that was previously programmed, press Forward key twice (indicator becomes steady).

    14. Question 14. How Can I Get My Indicator Light To Work? I Don't Share An Extension.

      Answer :

      Have your Telecom Coordinator submit an incident ticket through Pinnacle with your name and telephone number your indicator will be reset and a test message will be sent into your mailbox to reactivate it.

    15. Question 15. How Do I Get The Date And Time To Play On My Messages?

      Answer :

      For time stamp information on one message, press seven two and the system will play the envelope information, giving date and time of call, recorded name of user or mailbox number (if name has not been recorded). To have the date and time feature enabled for all messages, have your Telecom Coordinator input a voice mail request via our online system.

    16. Question 16. I Share An Extension With A Co-worker And I Cannot Access My Voice Mail. The Prompt Says I Am Entering The Wrong Security Code.

      Answer :

      After pressing your message key or dialing extension 3-7900 from your office phone, you will receive a prompt to enter the mailbox number. You must enter your individual seven digit mailbox number and then press #. This number usually starts with 100xxxx or 101xxxx. Then, enter your password followed by #.

    17. Question 17. I Recorded An Out-of-office Greeting And Now I Can't Remove It. What Do I Do?

      Answer :

      Access your voice mailbox. If you recorded a temporary greeting, the system will tell you that a temporary greeting is being used.  Press 8 2 3 and, when prompted, press 7 6 to delete it.

    18. Question 18. I Do Not Recognize A Company Listed On My Bill. Who Are They, And Why Are They Billing Me?

      Answer :

      Your bill must include the name and toll-free telephone number of any company that has charged you for its services, along with the charges for those services. If you don't recognize the company or have questions about the Services for which you've been billed, call the company to ask for more information about the services. Some service providers do not bill their customers directly, so they must contract with local companies to bill for them. These service providers send us your usage data electronically, and we use that information to bill on their behalf.  Increasingly, telemarketers and scam artists use customers' phone numbers to post unauthorized and fraudulent charges in the data sent to us for billing. These charges can be for many things, but the result is that the charges are included in the billing data.  We have no way to monitor its accuracy. The billing rules are intended to make sure that the format of your bill helps you more easily identify any unauthorized or fraudulent charges.

    19. Question 19. Why Are The Charges From Each Company Listed Separately On My Bill?

      Answer :

      The TIB rules require that we organize your bill so that charges from each company billing you for service appear separately.

      For example, if you have chosen one long-distance company for your in-region (intraLATA) long- distance calls and another for your out-of-region and state-to-state (interLATA) calls, your bill will list the calls with each company separately.

    20. Question 20. A Company Has Listed Charges On My Bill For Telephone-related Services That I Do Not Understand, And The Description Is Unclear. How Can I Get Them Explained?

      Answer :

      You may find charges on your bill that are not from your local company. The name and toll-free number of the company charging you for telephone-related services is listed in the section where those charges appear. You should call that company and ask for an explanation. You can also dispute the charges and request that the company remove them from your bill. As your local company, we remind you that as part of our service commitment, our business office is always available if you have questions about your bill. If you have any difficulty in contacting the service providers listed on your bill, or if you're not satisfied with the response they give you, we' help you resolve the problem.

    21. Question 21. There Is A Statement On My Bill That Says, "this Company Did Not Bill You For Services In The Previous Billing Cycle." What Does That Mean?

      Answer :

      In its rules, the FCC ordered that customers be notified of a "new" service provider any time a bill includes charges from a company that did not bill the customer for services in the previous billing cycle.  However, such notification applies only to "subscribed" services; i.e., when a service provider has a continuing relationship with a customer and likely places regular or periodic charges on your bill.  For example, long-distance surcharges, voicemail, Internet access, and other services that continue until you terminate them, are subject to the notification rule.  On the other hand, services billed on a per- transaction basis, such as directory assistance, dial-around (10-10) toll calls, and other "non-recurring" pay-per-call services, are not subject to the notification requirements.

    22. Question 22. If I Want To Dispute A Charge That Appears On My Bill - And Don't Pay The Charge While I'm Disputing It - How Will I Know If My Local Service Will Be Disrupted?

      Answer :

      We identify all charges on your bill that, if not paid, could result in the disconnection of your basic local service; such services are listed as "deniable" charges.  Our (STATE PUC) designates the individual charges we must classify as "deniable," and those charges are identified on your bill.  Non-payment of other, "non-deniable" charges can result in the termination of that specific service, but will not lead to the disconnection of basic local service.  If you don't recognize the charges, you should call the toll-free number listed on the bill within 60 days to ensure there is no interruption of the service in question.

    23. Question 23. I Am Confused About Some Of The Toll-free Numbers Listed On My Bill. Is The Actual Service Provider Always The Appropriate Party For Me To Contact?

      Answer :

      Some service providers bill you directly.  Others use third parties, known as "billing agents" or "aggregators," to bill for them.  Thus, the actual service provider is not always the appropriate party to contact if you have questions or problems.  In fact, some service providers have contracted with third-party billing agents or aggregators just to handle inquiry and dispute resolution of the charges placed on your bill.

      The rules require that the toll-free number listed on your bill as the "inquiry contact" - regardless of whether it's for the actual provider, a billing agent, or an aggregator - must connect you to someone who has "sufficient knowledge and authority" to resolve account inquiries and requests for adjustment.  The FCC allows the use of inquiry contacts because of consumer concerns about the complexity of their bills and because of increased fraud and abuse.

    24. Question 24. Are Service Providers Required To List Their Business Address? How Can I Contact A Provider If I'm Not Satisfied With The Resolution Reached On The Phone?

      Answer :

      Service providers are not required to include their business address on each telephone bill for the receipt of consumer inquiries and complaints.  However, they are required to make their business address available to consumers on request through their toll-free number.

    25. Question 25. What Is The Basic Local Service Rate And How Is It Billed?

      Answer :

      In most cases, the basic local service rate covers your dial tone - the service connection that allows you to make and receive local (non-toll) calls.  Failure to pay the basic local service rate and applicable taxes and fees will result in disconnection and loss of service.

      Local telephone service is billed one month in advance - and is usually due within 10 days after receipt.  Charges for usage, on the other hand, are billed after a particular service; e.g., long-distance calls, calling-card, wireless, etc. is used.

    26. Question 26. Why Did The Fcc Authorize Increases In The Federal Slc?

      Answer :

      As part of its effort to promote competition, the FCC reviewed the rules and regulations that govern the telephone industry and decided to rebalance rates and charges.  The SLC increases reflect the FCC's belief that end-user customers should be more directly responsible for the costs necessary to provide them service and that the "access charges" paid by long-distance companies should be reduced.  In 2000, the FCC authorized the first in a series of SLC increases for the large local companies.  Reasoning that rural customers should pay the same levels of subscriber line charges as urban customers, the FCC expanded the SLC changes to community based telecom providers in 2001.

    27. Question 27. What Is The Federal Universal Service Charge (fusc)?

      Answer :

      The "Federal Universal Service Charge" (FUSC), also authorized by the FCC, is not part of your local service rate; the charge helps to keep rates affordable for all Americans, regardless of where they live.  The amount of the FUSC on your monthly bill depends on the services you order and the number of telephone lines you have.  Generally, the surcharge is applied per line.  In July 2002, the FCC authorized an increase in the FUSC to $0.46 per month per line.  And in July 2003, FUSC charge became 9.1% of the SLC charge.

      The federal government has established national programs to support universal telephone service.  The federal Universal Service Fund assists with the costs of providing "affordable" telecommunications service to low-income individuals and to residents in rural, high-cost areas.  In addition, Congress has expanded the program to help schools, libraries, and rural health care providers obtain leading-edge services, such as high-speed Internet access.  All providers of telecom services contribute to the support of these universal service programs.

    28. Question 28. Where Do The Federal Slc And Fusc Fees Go?

      Answer :

      The federal SLC and FUSC fees go to federal administrative agencies created to oversee and manage the funds.  The federal SLC fees are re-distributed to local telephone companies based on our specific costs.  These funds enable us, and other local companies and cooperatives in hard-to-serve, high-cost areas, to recover some of the costs of the facilities we use to connect your home or business.  The FUSC fees allow us to recover our contribution assessments for the federal universal service programs.  A portion of the funds collected from the Federal Universal Service Charge is distributed to keep rates in high-cost rural areas at or near the national average.

    29. Question 29. What Does "universal Service" Mean To Me?

      Answer :

      For almost 70 years, the nation has made a policy commitment to make telephone service available to as many Americans as possible - rich or poor, rural or urban.  When Congress passed the Communications Act in 1934, it established the concept of universal service as a principle to promote the development and reach of the national telephone network by distributing costs across various services and users in order to connect all segments of the American public.

      Universal service recognizes the economic reality that the cost of providing telephone service in rural areas such as where Public Service Telephone operates, is significantly higher than in well-populated, urban parts of the country, but that the nation as a whole benefits from a network that connects to as many Americans as possible.  We can look on universal service as a system by which everyone benefits because everyone else has a telephone.  Because of universal service, independent companies serving high-cost rural areas have been assured of appropriate recognition of their costs, and Americans have been assured of quality telephone service at reasonable rates, no matter where they live.

    30. Question 30. How Does The Universal Service Support System Work?

      Answer :

      Traditionally, long-distance carriers paid access charges to local companies for "access" to the local network to enable customers to make or receive long- distance calls. These access-charge dollars reflect a legitimate business cost, compensating local companies for the long-distance carriers' use of our networks. Universal service support and access charge revenues are essential to community based telecom providers.

      These programs help companies serving rural areas keep local rates affordable and comparable to rates in urban areas where the population is more densely clustered and costs are not as high.  We continue to rely on this support today, given the costs of the equipment and facilities necessary to make new and advanced services available to rural customers.

    31. Question 31. Do All Local Telephone Companies Receive Universal Service Support?

      Answer :

      No, all local companies do not qualify for this support.  While most telecom providers contribute to universal service, companies that serve large, urban markets are not likely to qualify for support from the federal Universal Service Fund.  Companies that serve large cities such as Chicago, for example, and other urban areas usually do not qualify for universal service support.  This, through their SLC and FUCHS payments, customers of the large urban-based companies help keep local rates "comparable" and "affordable" for those served by community based providers and other rural companies.  This mutual social benefit is the very objective that universal service was designed to achieve.

    32. Question 32. What Does The E 911 Charge Cover?

      Answer :

      The E911 charge is a state/local government charge to fund emergency-911 services, such as fire and rescue.

    33. Question 33. What Is The Telecommunications Relay Services (trs) Charge?

      Answer :

      Local telephone companies offer Telecommunications Relay Services (TRS) to help hearing- or speech-impaired individuals communicate via the telephone.  TRS is required by Title IV of the Americans with Disabilities Act and to the extent possible, must be "functionally equivalent" to standard telephone services.  Communications assistants (CAs) relay the content of calls between users of special text telephones (TTYs) and users of traditional telephones.  For example, a TTY user can use the phone by calling a TRS provider (or relay center), where a CA will place the call to the voice user and relay the conversation by transcribing spoken content for the TTY user and reading text aloud for the voice user.

      Costs for intrastate TRS (that is, TRS calls made within a state) are paid by the individual states.  Generally, states recover the TRS costs through a small assessment on all telephone customers in the state.

    34. Question 34. What Taxes Are Included On My Bill?

      Answer :

      Your bill includes the 3% federal excise tax levied by the federal government that applies to all telecom services, not just local service.  This tax dates back to 1898 when it was enacted to finance the Spanish-American War.  In addition, many state, local, and/or municipal governments impose taxes on telecom services and, if applicable, these taxes are listed on your bill.

    35. Question 35. What Is The Federal Universal Service Charge On My Long-distance Bill? Is This The Same Charge As On My Local Bill? Do All Long-distance Companies Charge The Same Rate?

      Answer :

      This charge (also called the Federal Universal Connectivity Fee or Carrier Universal Service Charge) is similar to the FUSE for local service.  All telecom providers, including long-distance companies, are required to contribute to the support of federal universal service.  Currently, the federally imposed level for this charge is approximately 7% of your state-to-state and international toll charges.

      In recovering this assessment, most national long-distance companies charge their customers percentages above the mandatory federal level.  Some, in fact, charge customers as much as 11.5% of their monthly charges.  On the other hand, the long-distance subsidiaries of community based telecom providers do not exceed the federally mandated amount - and many do not pass this charge on to their customers at all.

    36. Question 36. My Long-distance Bill Includes A "one-bill" Charge? How Can I Get My Local And Long-distance Charges On A Single Bill Without Being Charged?

      Answer :

      Some long-distance companies charge as much as $1.50 per month to include long-distance charges on the same bill as local charges.  These companies include this charge in the billing information they submit to the local company with whom they've contracted to bill for them.  A local company that bills for a long-distance company does not authorize a single-bill fee.

      Many community based telecom providers also offer long-distance service.  Customers who want their local and long-distance charges on one combined bill must select their local, long-distance provider as their preferred carrier.  Long distance service provided by community based companies generally offer rates and plans comparable to those of the national carriers.  At the same time, community based companies offer the advantage of a long-distance alternative closer to home - with service from people you know and trust.

    37. Question 37. I'm Confused About The Rates I've Been Charged For My Long-distance Calls? How Are My 1+ Calls Charged?

      Answer :

      Your bill lists charges for the individual long-distance (Dial 1) calls you've made using the long-distance company you've chosen as your preferred, 1+ carrier. Long distance rates differ significantly depending on the type of call you make; i.e., out of region (state-to-state) or in-region; interLATA vs intraLATA.  Also, calls are generally priced based on duration and time-of-day.  Most long- distance companies have "basic rate" service (no calling plan) with rates that are much higher than those in their calling plans, which offer reduced per- minute rates, but require a monthly "buy-in" fee that remains constant regardless of the number of 1+ calls a customer makes.  Public Service Worldwide Connections does not charge a "buy in" fee for their long distance calling plan.

    38. Question 38. What Is Slamming?

      Answer :

      You have the right to choose any certified long-distance carrier that offers you service and to change your "preferred" carrier (PIC) whenever you wish.  Slamming is the unauthorized and illegal switching of a customer's preferred long-distance company.  If you've been slammed, you have the right to be switched back to your preferred carrier at no cost.

    39. Question 39. I Have Been Billed For Long-distance Charges From A Company I Did Not Choose As My Preferred Carrier. What Do I Do To Get These Charges Removed From My Bill?

      Answer :

      Customers who believe they've been slammed; i.e., that there has been an unauthorized change in their PIC selection, should inform us immediately. 

      Once we receive notification of an unauthorized PIC change, we will do the following:

      • PSTC looks up whether it has received a carrier change request from a long distance carrier, and whether the customer has a PIC Freeze on their phone service, prohibiting such a change without customer approval.
      • PSTC will change back the carrier if requested by the customer, however, there is a charge for the corrected change as required. However, most carriers are aware of the charge, and some will provide a credit to cover your switch back.
      • A restricted PIC Freeze is suggested at this point to prevent future "slamming".

    40. Question 40. What Will The Rga Do When An Unauthorized Pic Change Is Reported?

      Answer :

      The FCC rules require that:

      • Any carrier informed by a customer of an unauthorized PIC change must direct the customer to the relevant governmental agency (RGA).  The RGA for Public Service Telephone is the Georgia Public Service Commission.
      • Upon receiving a complaint, the RGA will notify the alleged unauthorized carrier and order that the carrier remove from the customer's bill all unpaid charges for the first 30 days after the unauthorized change (slam) took place, pending determination of whether an unauthorized change has actually occurred.
      • Within 30 days of notification, the alleged unauthorized carrier must provide to the RGA valid proof of verification of the customer's PIC change, which must comply with the FCC's authorization and verification rules.
      • Failure by the carrier to respond or provide proof of verification will be presumed to be clear and convincing evidence of an unauthorized change (slam).
      • If the RGA determines that an unauthorized change (slam) has occurred, it will order the unauthorized carrier to comply with the 30-day absolution rule and/or the reimbursement rules.

    41. Question 41. What If I Already Paid The Unauthorized Carrier? Can I Still Get Reimbursed For Charges Incurred During The First 30 Days?

      Answer :

      If it is determined that an unauthorized change (slam) has occurred and the customer has already made payment to the unauthorized carrier for charges applicable to the first 30 days, the customer is entitled to a refund equal to 50% of the charges paid.  The authorized carrier must remit the 50% refund to the customer within 10 days of receiving payment from the unauthorized carrier.  The customer has the option of requesting that the authorized carrier re-bill the unauthorized charges at the authorized carriers rate.  In either case, however, the customer will actually receive the refund only if the unauthorized carrier remitted the funds to the authorized carrier.

    42. Question 42. What About Unpaid Charges Incurred After The 30-day Absolution Period?

      Answer :

      If the customer has charges from an unauthorized carrier for calls made after the 30-day absolution period and for which payment has not been made, the unauthorized carrier must remove the charges from the bill and forward the billing information to the authorized carrier.  The authorized carrier will bill the customer for unpaid calls carried by the unauthorized carrier after the 30-day absolution period, either at its own rate or at a rate equal to 50% of the unauthorized carrier's rate.  If the authorized carrier chooses to bill the calls at the 50% rate, the customer has the right to reject that method and request the authorized rate.

    43. Question 43. What Is Telecom Billing?

      Answer :

      Telecommunications billing is the group of processes of communications service providers that are responsible to collect consumption data, calculate charging and billing information, produce bills to customers, process their payments and manage debt collection.

    44. Question 44. What Is The Need Of Cpg Message In Isup Protocol?

      Answer :

      Consider any call forwarding scenario.... As soon as switch receives Setup, it checks that the Called Party has forwarded option activated and so tries to forward the call. Meanwhile, Switch sends CPG message towards originator saying that Call is in Progress.

      A message, sent in either direction during the setup or active phase of the call (ex.inbetween ACM and ANM), indicating that an event, which is of significance, and should be relayed to the originating or terminating access, has occurred.

    45. Question 45. What Is A Superheterodyne Receiver?

      Answer :

      Superheterodyne receiver is one which has same carrier frequency as the transmitter otherwise the original signal recovery will not be possible.

    46. Question 46. A 2mb Pcm (pulse Code Modulation) Has How Many Channels?

      Answer :

      30 voice channels, 1 signaling channel, & 1 synchronization channel.


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Telecom Billing Tutorial