Your cell phone company probably gives you free nights and weekends as part of your plan, to give you an incentive for calling when the strain on their network is low. It’s a great concept, but Ericsson’s looking to take it to the next level: instead of just giving you a break when you make an off-peak call, they’ll give you bigger discounts if the network load form where you’re calling is low.
First developed for low-income areas in South Africa last year, Ericsson’s Dynamic Discounts initiative gives customers real-time updates on the discounts they could receive by calling when the load is light. It seems like an impractical idea at first, but it’s a boon for callers who want to save some dough (at times, discounts can reach as high as 99%) and for the operators that maintain the network (Dynamic Discounting can mean lower loads during peak hours, if customers bite).
The program has been working like gangbusters in its test markets – 60% of customers have adopted the program after only two months. With the economy floundering, it could be a solid selling point for any carrier willing fork over that initial investment. According to Ericsson, “the system is… gaining interest in mature markets,” which hopefully means we spendthrifts will be able to take advantage of it outside of Johannesburg sometime soon.