T-Mobile blocks MinuteWatcher, Prevents Customers from Actively Managing their Wireless Minutes

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MinuteWatcher, the free cell phone monitoring service, announced today that they can no longer help T-Mobile customers control their cell phone usage. T-Mobile has changed conditions in their policy and taken technical measures to prevent MinuteWatcher from operating for T-Mobile members. The losers, T-Mobile’s customers, have lost a useful tool for controlling their cell phone minute consumption.

Since June 19, MinuteWatcher has been unable to contact T-Mobile’s servers. Denying access prevents MinuteWatcher from informing T-Mobile customers about their latest cell phone use patterns. No contact means no service.

"I contacted T-Mobile and told them that I thought they shouldn‘t be blocking your service," wrote a disgruntled MinuteWatcher user. "I haven’t heard back from them."

"I am [really angry] about T-Mobile blocking you guys," wrote another. "MinuteWatcher can save me $200 in a month!"

"I’ve been a subscriber for two years and find MinuteWatcher indispensable in dealing with my carrier," wrote a third.

T-Mobile now includes the following text in their Terms of Use: "With respect to your access to the http://my.t-mobile.com site, T-Mobile hereby specifically reserves the right (a) to limit the number of times you may log in to this site within a certain period of time and/or (b) to restrict your use of automated scripts, plug-ins, and/or other third-party devices to obtain information (e.g., unbilled usage data) from this site."

These conditions serve primarily to prevent T-Mobile customers from proactively managing their cell phone bills and keeping their costs down.

For each subscriber, MinuteWatcher signs on to the T-Mobile server once a day and downloads the latest usage information. These daily status updates are used to generate a user friendly user status and a billing-cycle forecast. MinuteWatcher sends out an email to its users, typically once or twice a week, so that they can stay informed, manage their usage, and save money.

"Yes, a customer could send a text message to some number and get their current usage. And they could log in to my.t-mobile.com and click through a few pages to get to their full usage information. But who wants to do that on a regular basis?" asks Peter Stevens, co-founder of MinuteWatcher. "Is that customer-friendly?"

MinuteWatcher estimates the usage at the end of the billing cycle and color codes the forecasts. Green means under plan and red means 20% over in minutes. Just 20% over usually corresponds to doubling the basic monthly phone bill.

No carrier provides such effective forecasts nor makes usage information this easy to get.

"Managing your usage is easy: if the forecast is tending towards red, put the phone down for a bit and let it cool off. By staying in the green, you stay in your budget," explains Stevens.

Customers benefit from staying informed about their cell phone status.

Customers have a right to know where they stand. There are good reasons why T-Mobile should allow easy access to usage information. Customer satisfaction and empowerment are high on the list.

MinuteWatcher hopes that T-Mobile will revise its approach and allow MinuteWatcher to continue to help their customers.

"Your service is great and fills the gap for minute tracking," summarized a MinuteWatcher user/T-Mobile customer.

About MinuteWatcher LLC

MinuteWatcher helps individuals, families and small businesses monitor and control their cell phone usage.

MinuteWatcher was formed in 2004 by veterans of the computer and cell phone industries, after being frustrated with outrageous cell phone bills. The goal is to provide everyone with the tools to get control of their phone bills and remove the worry about that end-of-the-month shock.

About the MinuteWatcher Service

MinuteWatcher puts customers in control of their usage. MinuteWatcher monitors unbilled cell phone usage and sends out regular reports with actual and forecast usage. Customers can take action according to their needs.

Although many carriers make consumption information available on line, none send out the information automatically nor do they issue forecasts. The information is there, but is not always easy to get, so most people don’t see it.

MinuteWatcher is perfect for students, families or small companies, anyone who needs to keep control of their costs. MinuteWatcher put the user in control of his cell phone.

MinuteWatcher supports national and regional carriers, including Cingular (AT&T Wireless), Sprint (Nextel), SunCom Wireless and Verizon Wireless in the USA, and Telus Mobility in Canada and Orange in Switzerland. T-Mobile support has been suspended until T-Mobile allows access again.

As a free service, MinuteWatcher makes cell phone cost control easily available to everyone.


Peter Stevens, co-Founder

MinuteWatcher LLC




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