Las Vegas, NV (PRWEB) April 7, 2006
In an attempt to accelerate adoption of best practices, SMS.ac, Inc. (http://www.sms.ac)] , the worlds largest mobile community and marketplace today unveiled plans to provide $25 million in marketing, services, and other incentives to mobile content providers that agree to adhere to the Mobile Consumer Bill of Rights.
SMS.acs announcement followed a strong warning to the mobile industry at large, that unless the industry quickly finds a way to force adoption of this minimal set of standards, the market faces certain corrosion and implosion.
“Anyone remember the 900 (premium rate) market? asked SMS.ac chairman and CEO Michael Pousti at the companys first-ever press conference on opening day of the CTIA Wireless 2006 show. To the average consumer, 900 numbers are synonymous with sex and psychic lines, nothing more. While 900 numbers could have been a $100 billion revenue stream and a source of great products and services for consumers, today no respectable brand will have anything to do with them. Ever heard of Disney promoting a 976 line? Through SMS.acs mobile consumer polls graphing consumer perceptions, we have very clear data indicating that consumer sentiment towards mobile application, content, and short code usage is headed in that same direction.
Therefore, it is imperative for the mobile industry to reverse the current trend and instill consumer confidence, emphasized Pousti. For those content companies committed to adhering to the Mobile Consumers Bill of Rights and who serve as good citizens of the global mobile community, SMS.ac will open up our growing community of 50 million mobile phone users to you, along with many of our other assets.
In an effort to bolster consumer confidence worldwide, SMS.ac created and implemented (in August 2005) the Mobile Consumers Bill of Rights, a brief and easy-to-understand best-practices guide reflecting the companys experience, and feedback from its global mobile community of consumers, network operators, regulators and mobile data application and content companies. The full text of the Mobile Consumers Bill of Rights is viewable at the end of this news release and at http://www.sms.ac/BillofRights.
This initiative being championed by SMS.ac is precisely what our industry needs, said John Muleta, former Chief of the FCC's Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, on hand to voice his support for the announcement. There is no greater concern among carriers and regulators than ensuring we, as an industry, provide clearly defined pricing and on-demand content that generates a positive consumer experience.
While some say content is king, in the U.K. the mobile consumer is king, said George Kidd, Director General of ICSTIS, the Independent Committee for the Supervision of Standards of the Telephone Information Services, the regulatory body for all mobile data, short code and premium rate charged telecommunications in the United Kingdom, who also attended the press conference. SMS.ac has taken a large step in the right direction by providing a global solution that will fulfill the needs and expectations of everyone in our mobile ecosystem.
By agreeing to comply with the Mobile Consumer Bill of Rights, mobile application and content companies can gain worldwide distribution and billing for their content without any upfront, monthly or other fees whatsoever. Additionally, participating companies will receive millions of dollars in marketing support for their content — all while having the benefit of knowing their content is meeting the local and carrier opt-in and opt-out standards worldwide.
To participate, mobile applications and content companies should visit http://www.SMS.ac/xpml and learn how to get their content mobilized, distributed to the global mobile community, and monetized – all of which can now happen in a period of less than 24 hours.
Content companies can rest assured that customers will have immediate and toll-free access to knowledgeable and experienced mobile data customer service reps that are equipped with detailed and real-time stats and tools to help the customer. Customer service reps are empowered to provide a refund in local currency, if the situation requires it.
The award-winning SMS.ac customer service team is active 24/7 and reachable via toll-free phone numbers in 30 countries, at no charge to content providers' customers. Customer service help is also available through live chat and email.
Content providers have at their disposal the SMS.ac Network Operation Center, which automatically tests their connections and mobile commands hourly (including the STOP opt-out command), 24 hours a day, to ensure their applications are always in compliance and that standard and premium messaging is always fast and reliable.
For content providers, local and carrier regulation opt-in compliance is ensured by SMS.ac, removing the regulatory complexities involved in mobilizing and monetizing their applications and content, making the process easy and pain-free, and enabling their content and applications to be live globally within 24 hours.
The Mobile Consumers Bill of Rights:
In order to protect mobile consumers around the world and to instill in them consumer confidence designed to promote the global consumption of goods and services, this Mobile Consumers Bill of Rights was created.
Mobile consumers are entitled to specific and unalienable rights. By incorporating the Mobile Consumer Bill of Rights in to their business practices, businesses assure mobile phone users an enjoyable and safe environment where they may communicate and consume with confidence a growing range of products and services that are available to them via their wireless handsets.
1. Clear Descriptions and Pricing
Mobile consumers have the right to clear and easy-to-understand descriptions of the products and services for which they are paying.
Mobile consumers have the right to know exact costs for all products and services prior to purchase, clearly expressed in each customer's local currency, without the confusion of moving, scrolling or otherwise difficult-to-read text.
2. Privacy, Opt-in and Opt-out
Mobile consumers have the right to communicate, participate and transact in a safe environment, where their personal information is protected.
All pay-for products and services must include an opt-in process for the consumer that is clear and concise.
All pay-for products, including premium SMS (text) messages received on a consumers phone must contain clear and easy-to-follow instructions on how to opt-out of the product and/or service, along with confirmation that their opt-out process was successful, delivered on a non-premium message.
3. Prompt Possession and Satisfaction
Mobile consumers have the right to receive the goods and services they paid for in a timely fashion and in a manner that meets their expectations.
4. Customer Service and Technical Support
Mobile consumers have the right to courteous customer service and technical support that are easily accessible 24-hours per day and seven days each week.
Mobile consumers must receive replies to all inquiries within 24 hours.
Mobile consumers must have their issues resolved quickly and respectfully.
Customer service assistance should be available through Toll-free phone service, and/or real-time online chat with service personnel, as well as via email response.
5. Money-back Refund
Mobile consumers have the right to request a money-back refund, in the event they are unhappy with the product or service provided. Money-back refund policies should be available to all mobile consumers within the initial 30 days of purchase, when customer confusion is most likely to occur.
6. Customer Confidence
Mobile consumers have the right to say, “NO.”
NO surprises. Customers only receive goods and services that they requested.
NO hidden costs.
NO invisible opt-ins.
NO spy ware or other forms of intrusive data collection unless clearly specified by the content provider and opted-in to by the customer.
NO spam. Mobile phone users have the right to a spam-free environment, where only authorized messages are sent to their phones.
SMS.ac is the worlds largest mobile community and marketplace, meshing together a growing, interactive society of 50 million members in 180+ countries with hundreds of mobile operators to create a global wireless communications network for the exchange of information, products and services. To view the SMS.ac corporate web site, visit http://www.sms.ac/corporate.
Vice President, Corporate Communications