Nokia To Aid Prepaid Subscribers with New Tool

Nokia has announced a service to allow prepaid subscribers to keep track of their balance and call expenses. The Nokia Prepaid Trackerautomatically displays details about the subscribers’ account balance after each call or transaction.

Nokia said the feature is designed to offer convenience to this significant customer segment by eliminating the need to contact the operator’s customer center to check their balance. Informa Telecoms & Media estimates there are one billion prepaid mobile subscribers. That accounts for more than half of all mobile subscribers.

“The solution can improve the user experience of many of these prepaidsubscribers by allowing them to see exactly how much their calls cost, which reduces the fear of unexpectedly running out of credit and even encourages subscribers to share their phones with friends with the assurance that they can be correctly reimbursed for calls,” said Sanjay Bhasin, Nokia’s director of New Growth Markets, Networks.

Catering to Both Sides

Nokia claims its Prepaid Tracker is the world’s first end-to-end fully network-based solution to provide this functionality. Support for the solution is built into the newly launched Nokia 1110 and Nokia 1600 phones and is provided to operators as a software implementation.

“The time is ripe for a solution like Nokia Prepaid Tracker, which brings clear benefits to both subscribers and operators,” said Bashin. Operators get a differentiating edge over the competition and reduce churn while making more efficient use of network resources, he said.

In addition to their current account balance, subscribers can also viewinformation on the account’s expiration date, the cost of the last call or SMS, and the amount of the last prepaid recharge.

Differentiating the Brand

Michael Gartenberg, an analyst with Jupiter Research, told TechNewsWorldthat the Prepaid Tracker is a nice feature that gives carriers anotherreason to push Nokia and consumers a clear understanding of their usage.

“It goes back to this whole weird way that phones are sold,” he said. “The carrier is the short-term customer. The consumer is the long-term customer. Nokia is concerned with pleasing both those constituencies that may have very different needs.”

Gartenberg said Prepaid Tracker has a place in a market in which it isbecoming more difficult to stand out in the crowd, especially with basicwireless devices like the Nokia 1110 and Nokia 1600. Unlike the high-endsmart phones with all the high-tech bells and whistles, these are simple, more affordable devices.

“This is another neat way to differentiate. A consumer can view how manyminutes they have left so they aren’t caught short,” Gartenberg said.”Consumers who use this functionality arguably will keep their accounts more update to date and keep refilling the options.”

New Growth Markets

Nokia Prepaid Tracker is the newest addition to Nokia Connect GSMsolution designed to assist operators in New Growth Markets in providingmobile services to new subscriber segments.

The company said Nokia Prepaid Tracker complements its Connect eRefill, an SMS-based prepaid recharging solution.

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