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Mobile Posse Offers Solution to Avoid Bill Shock

Wed, 11/02/2011 - 8:00am
Monica Alleven

It's been about two weeks since CTIA and the FCC announced wireless consumer usage notification guidelines to provide free alerts before subscribers reach their monthly limits on voice, data and text. This week, Mobile Posse launched a new service to help carriers meet those requirements.

Called MobiAlerts, the service is designed to be preloaded on handsets and enables carriers to communicate with subscribers via the device's homescreen.

SMS is probably Mobile Posse's main competition, but consumers tend to see SMS as a peer-to-peer platform and carriers can't always be sure a customer has seen the message, says Mobile Posse CEO Jon Jackson.

With Mobile Posse's software, if a customer has used 90 percent of his plan and he's one-third of the way through the month, there's a record of him opening and acknowledging the notification and that's relayed to the carrier's billing infrastructure.

In summary, it solves the "needle in a haystack" scenario and the read/receipt component.   

An optional component for carriers is to upsell to the customer. For example, if the user goes over his allotment, an option can be presented to him to upgrade the account so it doesn't exceed limits.

Some carriers already use some components of Mobile Posse's software. Among them are Verizon Wireless, MetroPCS and U.S. Cellular.

Mobile Posse started the year with about 3.5 million subscribers using its software and it's grown to about 9.5 million. It has certified more than 300 handsets and Jackson estimates it's preloaded now on 50 different types of handsets across multiple platforms. The one big question mark is iOS; he's not aware of Apple allowing any preloads on its devices. However, he's optimistic because the notifications are intended as beneficial for consumers.

There's also still work to be done regarding how much information is shared about roaming. Under the guidelines outlined on Oct. 17, participating carriers will provide customers with at least two out of the four notifications for data, voice, text and international roaming by Oct. 17, 2012 and cover all the alerts by April 17, 2013. The plan includes notification to inform consumers of international roaming charges when traveling abroad but didn't specify how many details would be included, such as the exact price tag of the roaming as it accumulates.

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