Friday, 21 February 2014 09:32

EMO takes the angst out of mobile charging


Software developed by a Sydney-based company promises to make it easier for mobile subscribers to choose the most appropriate plans.

One of the trickier aspects of owning a mobile phone is making sure you're on the most appropriate tariff. Sydney-based Emotum has developed a system that allows telcos to provide their customers with real-time usage monitoring and the ability to select the best plan according to the actual use of the various inclusions.

Emotum officials claim the Emotum Mobile Operator (EMO) Platform allows the development of cross-platform mobile apps capable of modelling even the most complex mobile plans.

In addition to allowing comparisons with other plans, EMO provides real-time alerts for calls, SMS, MMS or data. This is especially useful, as the alerts generated by carriers' billing systems can be as much as two days behind the actual usage.

It isn't easy to feel sorry for mobile operators, but they do face a quandary. Any unused allowance is gravy - they've been paid for a service they haven't had to deliver. When customers do exceed their allowances, any additional usage comes at a hefty price which is presumably very profitable.

On the other hand, a customer that feels locked into a plan that significantly exceeds their requirements or that ever suffers bill shock is probably an unhappy customer that will take their business elsewhere.

Your writer has long thought that operators should find a better way. Imagine two people, both on $60 plans with the same inclusions. They both have a busy month and go over the limits.

One is slapped with an extra $100 bill for excess use. The other is told "don't worry, we'll move you onto the $80 plan just for that month" (which is effectively what Optus does with its My Plan plans).

Which do you think will be the most loyal? And don't most businesses reward rather than punish people for consuming more of their products or services? Think of what happens at the supermarket - buy two packets of biscuits and save $1; spend at least $30 and get a petrol discount; spend more than $150 and get bonus loyalty points.

Emotum seems to have found an approach that will benefit both carriers and customers. It lets customers see where they stand, and makes it easy to work out if a different plan makes more sense for their actual (not guesstimated) usage. And carriers can provide this service without increasing the load on their call centres.

"In conversations with mobile operators around the world, the song remains the same - how can we quickly and cost-effectively better manage customer experience with the price paid for services," said Emotum managing director Craig Norman.

"Many operators offer mobile and online options for gauging usage and price but still find customers prefer speaking with live agents to explain what the automated systems were supposedly designed to accomplish. Ease of use, flexibility and simplicity are the key components of the Emotum platform."

Emotum has developed other software for mobile operators, and its customers include Optus, Telstra, DNA (Finland) and Telenor Norway.

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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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