North America has four national carriers: AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile US and Verizon Wireless. The two smaller carriers, Sprint and T-Mobile US, tend to offer more aggressive prices but have a reputation for a poorer quality of network. The two larger carriers, AT&T and Verizon Wireless, have a reputation for more comprehensive cellular coverage but slightly more expensive prices. The two larger carriers have the resources to develop and roll out new features, which may be of interest to a relatively small proportion of customers but because their customer base is so massive, it is worth the carrier’s investment in developing the new service. Today, AT&T have announced in a press release one such application, called AT&T Recharge. Recharge is designed to allow customers to buy credits for voice, text messaging and data for pre-pay customers in a number of countries around the world, currently restricted to Mexico and Latin America (the list of countries is: Barbados, Belize, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru). AT&T are wanted customers to use Recharge to allow them to connect more with friends and family by making it easy to keep other accounts up to date. The other person does not need to be an AT&T customer but the top up credit is paid for via the original account holder’s cell ‘phone bill. Customers can top up other accounts in increments of $10, $15, $20 or $30 a time.
The AT&T application is available for the iPhone (iOS 5.0 or higher), Android (requiring Android 2.3 Gingerbread or later) and Windows Phone (needing Windows Phone 8.1 or later). To use, customers first sign into their AT&T account using the application and pick the number to receive the top up bill from all lines on the account. Next, customers select a voice, text or data credit to add to an international customer’s prepaid account and this is charged to the AT&T bill. That’s it! AT&T’s press release notes that only one Airtime Credit purchase may be made per month and the service is available for domestic (that is, North American) AT&T post pay wireless customers only. AT&T’s terms of the service state that Airtime Credits may only be used by the recipient for talk time, data or text messaging with the respective carrier, and that the purchase price of Airtime Credits is combined with a 15% service charge, applicable taxes, and placed on the AT&T wireless account bill. Check out the video below to give you more insight into how Recharge works.