Two thoughts on mobile in Israel

post_iconIt’s quiet a busy time, so no posts for a long time. But I’ve two things that I fill I must share with no further delay.

As in many parts of the world it’s holiday time in Israel now. It’s not about Christmas, it’s about Hanukkah. So yesterday, while biting a Sufgania (a traditional Hanukkah doughnut) I though to myself that Israeli MNO’s don’t have the nice tradition to offer special promotions for holidays. They offer a minor bonus or either don’t offer anything at all. For example, Pelephone offers its customers to enjoy free SMS messages for the Hanukkah week. Another example are Partner’s and Cellcom’s roaming offers during the Passover vocation. But I couldn’t remember any promo of a call plan or any other thing designed specifically for holidays. Looking on discounts and lucrative offers which are running now across Europe makes me envy 🙂

The second thought came after watching today’s evening news. They had an item on teenagers’ mobile usage patterns. The report concentrated on the high bills children produce chatting with their friends and the readiness of their parents to pay these bills . “The parents have lost the war on the mobile spending”, declared the reporter. According to his figures an average 12 year old child generates a bill of about ILS 105 (about $26).

And I think that this issue has really simple solutions which are simply unused in Israel. Operators in the world offer parents various tools to control not only kids’ spending but also the way they use their phone. One successful example is Smart Limits of the American AT&T.  It enables parents to set limits for:

  • Number of text and instant messages
  • Dollar amount for downloadable purchases (ringtones, games and more)
  • Times of day the phone can be used for messaging, browsing and outbound calling
  • Who the phone can call or text (incoming and outgoing) by blocking and allowing certain numbers
  • Access to content inappropriate for children

I can’t think of a reason why Israeli operators don’t introduce something of this kind in our place. Despite the fact that these tools may somehow reduce kids’ bills, in my opinion, the bottom line for the operators will be positive. First of all, parents are willing to pay for anything that enhance their kids safety (AT&T chargers $5 for the service). Secondly, parents ensured they are in control, will buy their beloved children a phone in an earlier age. And in addition, it will contribute to mobile brands an link them with positive values such as safety and responsibility. Julie Ask from Jupiter research believes that parents with children under the age of 13 years with cell phones are especially keen to have these tools. Here’s a Jupiter reaserch report dealing with the issue.

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