Introduction and legal background
There is a basic distinction between commercial telecommunications service providers billing each other, and providers billing end customers. There is also a general case for ensuring the accuracy and correctness of bills in the interests of the customers. Customers expect to be charged for the telecommunications services they use as agreed in their contracts.
The Bundesnetzagentur is concerned here with end customer billing only.
Customers expect to be billed for the telecommunications services they use
- as agreed in the contract with their providers,
- on the basis of accurate call data, and
- according to calculation and rounding methods commonly used in business.
Since customers are not in a position to verify whether or not their provider's internal business processes meet these expectations, regulations were laid down in section 45g of the Telecommunications Act (TKG) of 22 June 2004 (Federal Law Gazette I page 1190, as last amended by Article 1 of the Act of 3 May 2012 (Federal Law Gazette I page 958)) to ensure metering and billing accuracy and hence to give customers confidence that their consumption has been accurately recorded and charged for.
The legislative regulations differentiate between
- distance-based, and
The provisions of section 45g of the Act and the Bundesnetzagentur's subsequent publications also aim to give providers planning certainty for implementing metering and billing systems. In addition, the regulations serve to provide uniform criteria for assessing the compliance of the systems.
The assessing bodies are generally officially appointed, sworn experts and accredited quality system certification bodies specialising in this area.
The technical requirements and compliance procedure, and any subsequent amendments, are published in Administrative Orders and Communications in the Bundesnetzagentur's Official Gazette.
Who is required to demonstrate compliance?
Any providers of publicly available telecommunications services who charge time-based, distance-based or volume-based prices and have a contract with their end customers are required to demonstrate compliance with the provisions concerning metering and billing accuracy, regardless of whether they themselves are responsible for all, some or no parts of the metering and billing process.
Date of modification: 2014.01.21