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Verizon implements Lightbridge self-provisioning data service

HONG KONG—Verizon Wireless Inc. is the first customer for Lightbridge Inc.’s Mobile Data Manager, a new service that enables carriers to allow users to self-provision data services.

Mobile Data Manager is significant because it can generate more traffic, and thus more revenue, for carriers, and at the same time, reduce carrier costs because fewer customers will call customer service as they can self manage their accounts, said Lightbridge’s Michelle Wheeler, director of product management.

Basically, the Mobile Data Manager allows customers to build custom menus based on their preferences. For example, an enterprise could set up different groups within the company and then mass short message service to the group instead of to individuals, like a “reply to all” function on e-mail service. The amount of SMS going back and forth could triple under this service, Lightbridge estimated.

The service is great for enterprise customers because it will be easy to separate billing for work-related use and personal use, noted Kevin Thornton, general manager of the Emerging Data Division at Lightbridge. A lot of corporations have their employees pay for their wireless services and then expense it back to the company, he said. Using this management service, it will be easy to figure out which are authorized business uses and which are personal.

Customer-care calls are expensive for carriers and subscribers do not like them either, Thornton noted. Using this service, carriers should find reduced customer-care calls, while subscribers will benefit because they are in control of their own accounts and don’t have the hassle of contacting the carrier’s customer-service department.

The software does not currently work across multiple networks.

Trials with other companies are taking place in Europe.

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