Nearly every parent of a teenager has experienced the shock of the unexpectedly high wireless phone bill. T-Mobile USA is hoping to circumvent wireless sticker shock with a new feature, called Family Allowances, that lets parents set a monthly wireless allowance for their children. The feature is available for $2 per month to qualifying postpaid multi-line plans.
The service works on any T-Mobile phone and lets parents set and change limits for minutes, messages and downloads using an online tool. Once the set allowance is reached, the feature shuts off service and parents receive a notification. However, parents can still stay in contact with their child by establishing certain "always allowed" numbers that will continue to connect even after the allowance has been spent. In addition, unlimited calling features, such as the numbers included in T-Mobile's MyFaves or in-network calling, can still be accessed.
While other operators have introduced parental control features, they are geared toward controlling the type of content a child can access with their wireless phone. T-Mobile's Family Allowances is one of the first to let parents put a stop on wireless spending.
- see this press release
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