Overage charges have always been one of the overriding factors in influencing data usage decisions made by mobile data subscribers. Unlike voice and SMS, it is relatively easy to exceed desired usage thresholds when using mobile data. Photo uploads, video streaming and loading a heavy page on the internet can easily eat into one's data quota, and for most subscribers who go beyond their thresholds, the utmost concern are the much higher 'pay-as-you-go' rates that will start applying thereon.
Being able to manage data overages has hence become a key enabler for both subscribers and operators - for operators in particular, it meant that they can now focus on engaging their customers on upselling more data and other services instead of spending available resources to manage customers' endless queries, handle their complaints and resolve hundreds of disputes over charges and bills.
Founder and VP Marketing,
PCC Mobile Broadband spoke to Jennifer Kyriakakis, founder and VP of Marketing of Matrixx Software (Matrixx), a provider of real-time charging, policy and analytics, about the use of bill shock management to address data overages and also to catalyze the development of more innovative data services by Operators. Matrixx Convergent Charging solution, which provides Operators real-time data rating capability, has recently been deployed by Telstra, Australia's leading telecommunications provider, to implement real-time mobile data usage alerts. According to Matrixx, Telstra is the first operator in Australia to provide the service which sends timely notifications to millions of its users once they reach 50%, 85% and 100% of their mobile data usage thresholds.
According to Jennifer, the deployment of Matrixx Convergent Charging solution is driven by two major goals - firstly, to increase the Net Promoter Score (NPS) and secondly, to increase the willingness of subscribers to use roaming data packages. Both areas contribute significantly to operators' bottom line. NPS measures customer satisfaction and how likely customers are to recommend a service to others. Overages and the ensuing bill shocks have often stood in the way of customer experience despite the quality of service and the overall pricing as it leads customers to think that they have been under-informed and over-charged on their consumption. Jennifer also highlighted how certain data services hinge on the real-time notifications feature. In the case of roaming data where the likelihood of overages is high, automatic notification has become very critical in boosting user confidence and enhancing the take up rates on the service.
Matrixx, in its statement said using its Convergent Charging solution, service providers will be able to deploy a single real-time platform for rating, balance management and charging across all access networks, services, devices and payment methods. The feature is particularly important for Operators providing the entire suite of mobile connectivity services - voice, 4G LTE, 3G, wi-fi - and for those who offer shared plans (for households and enterprises) which cover multiple devices which share the same quota.
Jennifer also added that real-time rating capabilities will pave way for more service innovations - not just across mobile data packages, but also across operators' digital service rollouts. Going forward, operators will be moving away from traditional bytes-based bundles and will be offering innovative packages such as time limited packages, freemium trials, content based offers and other highly personalized mobile data products, especially as they transition into becoming digital service providers. Real-time rating alongside enhanced charging and billing capabilities that make up a convergent, real-time BSS platform will allow operators not only to enhance their product differentiation, but also ensure that their customers are well informed of their consumption decisions and in doing so, increase their experience which will subsequently translate to increased customer retention and higher turnover for the Operator.