BT moots move to online billing

BT is in advanced negotiations with a US company that specialises in turning paper-based bills into online bills, and then using these for personalised marketing.

Edocs, based in Massachusetts, is talking to BT about a partnership that will have a profound effect on the way BT bills and talks to its customers, according to someone close to the negotiations.

Online billing is beginning to take off in the US, as companies realise its potential for marketing and communication. It allows major “old-economy” companies to leverage their monthly communications with large numbers of customers, about whom they have specific and up-to-date purchasing information.

Combined with a growing legion of personalisation tools, this information is a useful starting point for customised marketing campaigns.

Online data can be instantly updated and is therefore highly responsive to changes in customer behaviour. Taking billing online would open the door to increased customer loyalty, as well as third-party advertising and special offers. It would also save companies the cost of direct mail.

The UK has so far stayed on the sidelines of online billing, but if BT makes a move, other major utilities such as Centrica would be likely to follow its lead.

US companies already employing Edocs’ technology include Sprint, WorldCom, GE Card Services and Amex. Edocs is also working with a consortium of Norway’s largest financial institutions, and claims that 60 to 80 per cent of all Norway’s paper bills may soon be Web-enabled.

BT was unavailable for comment as Marketing Week went to press.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here