Thursday, May 21, 2009

Comparing 3,066,938 mobile phone deals

A price comparison service that allows consumers to get cheaper mobile phone deals by monitoring their online bills was accredited by Ofcom on Thursday last.

That service is Bill Monitor. I wrote about Optimor, Bill Monitor's creator back in November 2008 when the Alpha version of the product (code named Karoosh) was being released.

BillMonitor’s price comparison calculator has been awarded the Ofcom price accreditation scheme logo for meeting the terms of a rigorous independent audit. The audit checks whether the information provided to consumers is accessible, accurate, transparent, comprehensive and up to date. BillMonitor is the first mobile price comparison service to have their calculator accredited by Ofcom.

BillMonitor uses advanced statistics to find the best mobile price plans for consumers across the five network operators 3, O2, Orange, T-Mobile and Vodafone. The comparison engine was developed by BillMonitor’s team of mathematicians with scientific advisors from the University of Oxford.

Corporate crest of the University of Oxford, i...Image via Wikipedia

BillMonitor’s service is available as:

- online Bill Tracking, where consumers supply their online billing account details and BillMonitor automatically analyses their online bills for a tailored recommendation; and

- a one-off Tariff Search, where a consumer can enter minutes and texts used, as well as overseas calls, picture messaging and data usage.

BillMonitor analyses historical usage patterns to predict future usage and can keep consumers updated on the money they could save as the networks change their price plans.

Ofcom research shows that 57 per cent of mobile users are more likely to shop around if there is information available to calculate the cheapest supplier based on usage and 50 per cent are more likely to trust an accredited price comparison website.

How much could you save?

The following three anonymous users who used the online Bill Tracking service demonstrate how BillMonitor can help consumers to save money.

Consumer A is a light user on a contract with more inclusive minutes/texts than she uses, paying on average £31.33 per month. Bill Monitor recommended that she switched provider to reduce her average bill to £16.34 (saving over £15 a month) and still leaving her free minutes most months. Without switching provider, she could still save £11.41 a month by changing price plan with her current provider.

Consumer B currently has a monthly contract with no add-ons. He calls and texts Turkey, France, USA and Greece and has roamed while in Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Greece. He pays £83.96 per month on average. When BillMonitor analysed his online bill, it recommended that he switch to a different provider and use their free roaming add-on which would reduce his average monthly bill to £67.52 (saving over £16 a month).

Consumer C is rarely off the phone. He uses an average of 2179 minutes and 853 texts and pays £209.50 per month. By using Bill Monitor he managed to bring his bill down to £68.68 by changing price plan with his current provider and saved a huge £140 per month.

Since the OFCOM announcement, there has been tons of coverage in the major broadsheets and in the Sun and the Mirror. Clearly, Bill Monitor has struck a chord.

Stelios and Ofcom's chief can be seen on BBC2 working lunch tv program .

Traffic surge was large and persists throughout the long weekend, thousands of people trying on-line bill assessment in particular and leaving v positive feedback.

Optimor has been bootstrapped by the founders (Dr. Stelios Koundouros, Prof. Chris Holmes and Dr. Nicolai Meinhausen) and seed funded by grants and by TAG.

A funding round is currently being considered.

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