Wireless Wonders

No news, just comment about mobile phones and services, from a veteran practitioner...3G, GPRS, WAP, Bluetooth, WiFi, etc...

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Pricing of services..the essential problem!

Another synchronization service was brought to my attention. Tabella Express is an address and calendar syncing application (that uses SyncML). It looks good and is very reasonably priced during its promotional phase.

However, their price is only one component of the cost to the user. The other is the data traffic. How much is using this service going to cost the user? Unfortunately, most users won't have a clue. There are two pieces of information missing.

Firstly, most users are unaware of their data tariff. Moreover, many users are probably on the most expensive tariff possible (surf all day and spend hundreds - literally!) unless they have elected for a particular bundle. The high cost of data is probably hidden by the fact that most operator portals are free to surf.

Secondly, even if a user knew their tariff, this is really mumbo jumbo for most of us. We don't want to know X per megabyte, we want to know how much to use the service. This is the second piece of missing information - the expected, or typical, data usage (translated into price).

There's a further problem. Let's imagine that we could convince our operator that it would be a good idea - in its interest - to facilitate event-based pricing for this service. Most operators don't have the necessary infrastructure to support the mechanism, namely to allow an event, like a SyncML exchange, to be trapped by a charging gateway and subsequently accounted for (and charged) as an event rather than ratcheting up the megabyte counter. Of course, it can be done, but not at the click of a button.

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