Feature Article

November 01, 2012

ItsOn Looks to Shut Down Mobile Bill Shock

Mobile bill shock is one of those surprisingly wide-scale problems, as people discover that their bills are unexpectedly high, commonly due to unexpectedly high levels of mobile data use. But the firm, ItsOn announced yesterday that they just closed their Series B financing to the tune of $15.5 million, and with that closure, a solution to bill shock was likely to follow.

While ItsOn is keeping technical details close to the vest while it gathers its funding, the basic concept still remains. ItsOn plans to provide a means for customers to choose just how much data they spend on what services, thus preventing bill shock by cutting off the flow of data once the limit has been established. For instance, a customer may establish their account to buy access to Facebook for a certain amount of time each month, or a certain amount of time for video watching.

Image via Shutterstock

Such a service, naturally, will require ItsOn to partner with the data providers--the carriers--in order to have said data connected through the ItsOn system and allow consumers to set up their allocations without making contact with the carrier. Since customers are already paying for services they neither want nor need, according to ItsOn founder and CEO Dr. Greg Raleigh, it will be extra incentive for users to adopt the ItsOn system in a bid to get only what they want.

Dr. Raleigh further elaborated: "Mobile service consumers are finally empowered to choose exactly which mobile services they need and how much they want to spend -- eliminating over-charging and bill shock. Consumers can select, monitor, control, and share all of their mobile services as they wish, instantly from their phone, tablet, or PC without the inconvenience of talking to a sales associate, calling a support center or logging into a website."

Indeed, Dr. Raleigh's solution would seem to be a smart one: give the people what they want and only what they want in the proportions in which they want it. But others would say that Raleigh and the rest are solving the wrong problem. ItsOn's solution focuses on how to use what data the customer has to its fullest effect--how to divide up the pie they currently have--when the solution the customers really want is to get more access to data, or to bake more pies. While that solution is substantially more difficult, as well as more expensive for the mobile provider who must invest in more and improved infrastructure to accommodate that demand, it's the solution that customers are most likely hoping for.

Still though, until that new infrastructure can be installed in a cost-effective fashion--establishing a win-win for customers and providers alike--solutions like ItsOn will likely make a decent stopgap, if nothing else, and help prevent bill shock in the short term. Only time will tell just how valuable the service proves to be, or even how it works, but there will likely be plenty of takers for it all the same.

Edited by Brooke Neuman

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