Submitting your personal past cellphone bill data is the hook of a Toronto-based project called Aria, which is still in development. Aria promises to identify errors and suggest best plans based on usage.
Data management security experts Robert Burnes and partner Tim Donnelly have used software to analyze business cellphone plans in the past, but want to make their tool available to the everyday consumer for $1/mont .
“We’ve done that in the past where we look at a business’ cellphone invoice for the month. They may have 300 phones or devices on that bill, we analyze all that data, and provide a report to our client, saying, ‘Hey here’s some opportunities to improve your bill, and here are the following errors on your bill,’” said Burnes, a Queen’s University MBA graduate.
Users would make their cellphone bills available to the Aria system with a password, and Burnes says their software would be “virtually identical to what banks use” in terms of security.
“Statistically, five per cent of every invoice has errors,” said Burnes, who notes there are 40 different error types that occur on bills.
Duplications, being incorrectly billed by the minute versus the second for dropped calls and unfair roaming charges are all errors that Burnes says are hard for the average cellphone owner to identify, and not everyone even takes a second glance at their bill.
However, he notes the opportunity for improvement is largely due to the plan type, rather than the errors. Burnes suggests Canadians are overspending 20 to 30 per cent on each bill because they’re on the wrong plan.
“At this point, the service is to provide consumers with a detailed report every month on the errors, better rate plans based on their usage that are available with their existing provider, and the third tranche is to survey the entire market of rate plans and make a recommendation on the best in the market,” he said.
Burnes says the Aria project will launch on crowdfunding site Indiegogo as early as next week, as they need money to build servers with the algorithms that can analyze bills. You can subscribe to their email list for more information or to show your support for the project.
“If we’re successful in what we do, Rogers, Bell and Telus will move to plans that are not confusing, that are simple,” said Burnes. “We want to get the big guys down to level the playing field.”