Rumor: New AT&T Features For iPhone Users

Apple and AT&T are rumored to be working on new, carrier-specific features intended to please unhappy iPhone customers. The features are being seen as the beleaguered carrier's bid to improve customer satisfaction before another carrier arrives on the iPhone scene.

Apple Insider is reporting this morning that two new features are under development:

Overage warning -- Allows a user to activate a customizable push warning message when they are about to exceed their monthly "anytime" minutes and face expensive overage minutes being added to their bill.

Voicemail options -- A new setting would allow users to disable the custom voicemail greeting, as well as AT&T's standard greeting and other automated instructions, when placing calls to other AT&T customers.

If implemented, the new features could show up before the end of the year. But, they aren't a sure thing and could require a software update from Apple.

The first new feature is something that all carriers ought to be doing. Customers are too busy to watch their minutes go flying by and need to be warning when they are in danger of "going over."

If AT&T were really decent it would offer them a block of anytime minutes, perhaps 100, at a fair price instead of expecting the customer to pay for exorbitant overtime minutes that can balloon a customer's monthly the bill.

The second feature seems like a timesaver, especially when calling a family member's phone. How many times does one really need to listen to their spouse's outgoing voicemail message?

But, here is an angle that needs to be considered: If the voicemail message changes, callers need to hear the new message at least once, in case something important has been left as part of the message. Simply disabling the message for other AT&T users could lead to confusion if the change when unnoticed.

I am happy to see that AT&T many be doing something to make itself more customer friendly in advance of a new carrier arriving on the scene, perhaps next summer.

One of my suggestions was for AT&T to develop carrier-specific features, though how far something easily copied by competitors will go in terms of customer retention is questionable. But, it's also better than AT&T not responding to its legion of disgruntled customers.

David Coursey's first cellphone was the original Nokia "brick" sold by Radio Shack. He tweets as @techinciter and can be contacted via his Web site.

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