TECHNOLOGY : Subscriber Computing Software Puts Cellular Phone Users on a Budget

Compiled by Dean Takahashi / Times staff writer

To the chagrin of folks who like to chatter, the cellular phones in corporate cars won't be available for personal long-distance calls anymore, thanks to an Orange County firm.

Subscriber Computing Inc., which makes software for cellular and paging systems, has launched a new software program called BudgetWatch that limits the use of cellular phones.

The software uses an automated voice-response system to enable companies to restrict how a cellular phone in a fleet of corporate cars is used. Once a phone user reaches 80% of the budgeted usage fee for the phone, the software notifies the user with a message.

The software can also be used to assist customers with limited credit, said Michael Powell, national sales manager for the Laguna Hills company. It will notify users once they exceed the amount that they can afford to pay in a month for cellular phone use. By pressing buttons on the phone, a user can also find out the amount of a monthly bill.

The software was developed during the past year and became available June 30.

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