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AT&T launches personalized video billing service

Pilot program underway with several thousand users; AT&T plans to launch service nationwide in early 2013

AT&T Tuesday unveiled a personalized video service to help explain each new customer's wireless bill in some detail.

The video service, to be rolled out nationwide in early 2013, uses computer animation and voice narration to explain a customer's bill.

A 2-minute, 28-second video example posted on an AT&T blog site Tuesday explains the monthly bill for a customer named "Bryan" and explains the totals in each of the individual lines.

The personalized videos will be available to customers via email or by accessing a myAT&T online account, said AT&T's John Donovan, vice president of technology and network operations.

The service "makes it easier than ever to understand your monthly charges," Donovan said in the blog post.

He noted that video billing has already been used for U-verse Voice, TV and Internet customers and has been found to be helpful by 85% of those customers.

The U-verse video service has resulted in a "significant reduction in bill-related calls, since the video proactively addresses a customer's typical questions," Donovan said.

The wireless video billing has already been sent to several thousand customers in the Mountain Time Zone, Donovan said.

The concept for the video service came from AT&T Foundry, an innovation center in Ra'anana, Israel, after executives there learned of the concept from video services provider SundaySky during a "fast pitch" presentation, Donovan said.

An AT&T spokeswoman said that one of the most common requests from new customers is to know what they are being billed for.

The service leverages the exploding interest in watching online videos, she added. New customers get the video bills for two months, as do existing customers who change or upgrade a service.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen, or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed . His e-mail address is mhamblen@computerworld.com.

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