MMS bills go live next week

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The City of Johannesburg has issued a notification informing customers that municipal statements will be sent through multimedia service (MMS) from next Monday.

It says in a statement it has completed the pilot and reached all customers with active cellphone numbers. "The manner in which these customers were selected was by use of the city's customer database, and the response has been positive."

All customers who did not respond during the pilot will still receive their printed statements until they have notified the city of their preferred option, such as post, e-mail or MMS. "All three offer an audit trail that can give early indications of non-delivery of statements."

The city has asked 700 000 people to sign up for the service. There are just more than a million account-holders in Johannesburg.

Finance spokesman Kgamanyane Maphologela says customer service has been made easier as customers can now receive their bills immediately on their cellphones. The MMS billing also guarantees instant receipt.

"Mobile bill presentment simplifies admin and helps to ensure people don't default on their payments simply because they don't have billing information on hand, and gives an option for customers to view their bill directly on their cellphones, so they can make immediate payment or query the account on time."

Maphologela says the city can be more confident about whether bills are being delivered and more proactive about dealing with those that are not. The city will also be able to manage its billing system better and increase convenience for customers.

All clients who opt to receive statements via the MMS option will only receive one printed statement every three months.

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