As most of you know, I work as Tech Support for AT&T.  Not long ago, we introduced a feature called “Smart Limits” which allows you to limit the amount of text messaging, outgoing calls, etc from specific mobile on your account.  It allows you to set the amount of text, downloads, etc a mobile is allowed per month.  This went over like a lead balloon.  Mainly because, when it was first released, there was a bug that prevented 911 operators from calling the mobile under certain circumstances.  The feature was pulled for a time and then reintroduced without the incoming block option.  As it is now, you can only limit outgoing calls, not incoming.  At $1.99/month, per phone, this feature, in my mind, really isn’t worth it.

T-Mobile has introduced thier version called “Family Allowances“.  This service seems to be much more thought out and user friendly.  Using slide bars, you set the amount of minutes and text a family member is allowed to use and are sent a warning when they reach that limit.  Thier service, once the limit is reached, is temporarily suspended unless you raise the limit either from your phone or on the web.  By adding “allowed” numbers, you can always get in touch with the family member even if the limit is reached and without worrying about them using the phone beyond what has been alloted.  Since I am not a member of T-Mobile, I cannot get the entire description or pricing but it seems like it can also block purchases and other actions by the user.

T-Mobile users, check it out.

I am sure this is the way AT&T envisioned their service to work, but they were in such a hurry to release it they did not ensure that it worked properly, which caused upset customers, loss of revenue and more expenses from having to pull the feature and re-work it.