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old_telephone.jpgEver find a discrepancy on your landline or cell phone bill? Most of us have. So imagine the cost to businesses that rely on telephony. On average, billing errors among carriers run between 5 percent and 8 percent. For enterprises that spend more than $20 million a year on telephony, errors amount to more than $1 million.

The error rate isn’t surprising, since many companies have multiple carriers and subscribe to multiple plans. And the bills for many of these plans are the size of an old phonebook.

The problem is twofold. Carriers aren’t producing accurate bills for their customers, and customers–in many cases–don’t have the ability to review telephony bills for inaccuracies. In fact, many companies would rather pay the bill rather than risk having their service disrupted, says Mike Grocock, director of usage management at Avotus.

Avotus is one of a handful of companies that provide telephony invoice auditing, service usage and contract reviews, and payment mediation. Other companies in this specialty include Telesoft and AnchorPoint. The market for these services will exceed more than $400 million in 2011, according to Gartner.

The opportunity goes beyond finding the errant charge on a telephone bill. Services offered by Avotus, for instance, identify unneeded services attached to plans that carry hefty fees. By eliminating unnecessary services, Avotus saves customers even more money. The intelligence gathered through auditing and contract reviews enables the company to help its customers establish and enforce telephony usage policies.

The end result in this is about money–specifically saving money. Avotus sells through carriers and large resellers, and the best value for the service is for companies that spend more than $5 million a year on landline and wireless telephony. However, entry-level packages are available that are suitable for smaller businesses and implementations.

When you think about the costs associated with voice and data communications, having a service that roots out unwarranted and no-value charges pretty much pays for itself. That’s a service that could add value to voice solution providers’ offerings.