Phone app aims to control mobile calls, costs

With mobile phone costs for Australian companies estimated to rise by 25 per cent this year, an Australian company has launched a real-time application it claims will cut costs by up to 30 per cent.

Telecommunications and technology company Pracom, working with Vodafone, claims its moBiz e-business application gives companies total control over their mobile phone expenditure.

The Internet-based service, underpinned by Steadycom middleware, allows companies to set spending limits, define what numbers can be called, and segment call costs between business and personal use for employee mobile phones.

Paul Villanti, CEO for Pracom, said: "This e-business tool enables the business to set up two accounts on one SIM card, a business hours account that is paid by the company and a personal account prepaid by the end user. The account switch occurs automatically without any manual intervention."

Adam Garone, product marketing manager for Pracom, said for IT departments that are responsible for mobile phones, the service would streamline the management procedure and automate the reporting procedure.

According to a 1999 report by telecommunications analyst Paul Budde, Australia - Mobile Communications - Revenue, mobile phone expenses cost Australian business $2 billion each year. Mobile phone usage is one of the highest growth expenditures for both large and small organisations.

Garone said 12 companies in Australia have been using the service for the past three months and feedback from customers has indicated that businesses could expect savings of between 10 to 30 per cent in their mobile phone costs.

Garone said the introduction of mobile phone number portability in September this year was the main driver for the company launching the product and for striking of a deal with Vodafone.

"The only real costs for businesses changing [mobile phone carrier] companies are switching costs. The only hurdle we have come across [selling the service] is that a lot of companies don't want to change their numbers."

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