Finnish startup Alekstra will launch this month in the United States its
iPhone application, which picks the best call-plan based on consumers'
billing history, and could dent profitability of iPhone users for the
It has tried the Ratemizer app in Finland since last month,
with a few thousand users finding that they overpaying on average by 35
percent as they usually underestimate call volume and overestimate
"Many consumers calibrate their mobile plans for
their median monthly voice minute volume. However, they tend to have 2-3
peak months with far higher volume - and this typically leads to stiff
overage fees," said Alekstra's founder Toni Toikka.
has declined on average by 14 percent over last 10 months as the amount
of iPhones has increased in the homeland of Nokia, former smartphone
market leader, and traffic is redirected to Apple's own iMessage system.
surprise to us has been how much certain consumers overestimate their
SMS and mobile data usage," said Toikka, adding many consumers were
likely increasingly using local WiFi networks, which has left them with
outsized data plans.
Consumers have to log in to their carrier
portal through the app, which then analyzes the last 12 months billing
data and picks the best among hundreds of possible mobile plans.
Finland, most consumers can reach more than 15 percent savings by
changing plans within their current carrier, even though the cheapest
plan is usually with a rival operator.
Alekstra has said it plans
to step up its challenge to traditional operators in 2014 by launching a
mobile virtual network business, offering calling services without
roaming fees in key markets around the globe.
Before its launch, it aims to raise some tens of millions of euros from venture capital firms.
a virtual operator, it will rent airtime from existing networks, but
the investment needed is a fraction of what global incumbents like
Vodafone or Telefonica have invested in building out networks from
© Thomson Reuters 2012