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I am product supplier to Mobile Phone Companies, these products are commonly referred to Value Added Services (VAS).
I recently was awarded a patent for an original product which I have called Voice Activated Airtime Credit Facility (VAAC). This solution is intended to give pre-paid mobile phone subscribers an option to top-up their phone credit prior to the termination of a given call, through an IVR interruption.
How it will work: A typical call, on a pre-paid phone line, will allow the subscriber to talk. Typically, 5 seconds before the end of the call, a beep will signal that the phone will be terminated soon. About five second after the 'beep', the phone eventually gets terminated, indicating the depletion of phone-credit or talk time. At the point of termination VAAC should kick in, through an IVR, offering the subscriber to borrow airtime to continue the call. e.g. the system would say, 'Your airtime has finished press 1 to borrow [url removed, login to view]'. On pressing '1' the customer should automatically receive the USD5.0 top-up to continue or finish off the phone conversation.
Please note that the USD5.0 is a nominal value, the effective value that gets transferred would be say, [url removed, login to view] and the difference would be our spread/gross margin.
Recovery: Recovery should be immediately at the next top-up. The liability should be linked to the SIM Card BUT the system should also store IMEI number that borrowed and effect recovery on new SIM in case of deliberate fraud or damage or loss of SIM.
Complications: All the programmers i have approached cite the following complications:
1. Capacity required for the system to keep track, on live basis, account balances of all accounts engaged in phone conversations.
2. The level of integration required, Billing, Top UP, IVR etc.
4. And the need to keep up with the different charge rates applicable at different times e.g. peak vs non-pick.
This system should be intelligently designed for maximum efficiency.
There are about 3,000,000 phone users in Malawi. The system should work on GSM but duel functionality on CDMA would be added advantage.
MD - MOBTECH SOLUTIONS