This is one of those "hey, that's pretty freakin' handy."

MinuteWatcher - a new, free internet service that helps you keep track of how much time you are using on your cell phone. The service "continuously monitors your cell phone usage and sends out regular reports with actual and forecast usage." These "early warnings" give you a chance to take action before that monster bill arrives at the end of the month.

minute watcher tracking service

MinuteWatcher is not available in Canada but it supports all the major US carriers, including Cingular, Sprint Nextel, T-Mobile and Verizon. You can check it out here.

But can't I do that already?

Not exactly. According to MinuteWatcher, many carriers make consumption information available on line, but none send the information out automatically nor do they issue forecasts. The information is not always easy to get - MinuteWatcher delivers it right to you, as often as you need it, and at no extra cost.

Yep, they're exactly right. In my experience carriers tend to keep this information rather hidden, letting you discover your usage only once you receive the bill. My question is why don't they (the carriers) do a better job of this right now, themselves? Wouldn't it build some more trust with me and put them a step closer to turning a customer into a loyal customer? Letting another company like MinuteWatcher do this just adds to the feeling of "us vs. them". You know what I mean?

Here's what I'd like to see:

1. A much better web-based tool where I can see my usage, usage forecasts and all that jazz. But....give me text, email or RSS alerts when I reach a certain point each month. And, let me decide what that point is.

2. Don't make me call you and ask for a rate plan analysis to figure out if I'm on the best plan. Help me onto the right plan all the time, no matter what. This goes for voice and data.

3. What do want from your carrier? Add your comments below.