Seeking profits, mobile operators get social and personal

Do you love your mobile broadband provider? Two new product offerings are trying to make that possible with a new Facebook app and a product that allows carriers to personalize a pricing plan just for you. The hope is that delivering customer service through Facebook and creating customized pricing plans could be enough to ensure loyalty and generate higher revenue per user.

Let’s get personal.

Openet and Allot Communications have teamed up to offer mobile operators the ability to deliver personalized pricing plans for users. The partnership is new, but the idea of personalized pricing is not. In Europe, Orange is already creating personalized family plans as well as offering a wider variety of plans based on everything form the apps people use to the time of day when they use them.

Depending on how the pricing plans are structured they can lead to more revenue for carriers, help them manage congestion or both. To boost revenue carriers can offer applications such as Facebook or Skype (s MSFT) to users that might be worried about paying $25 a month for data, but would happily shell out $5 a month for unlimited Facebook. Congestion could be alleviated by offering special pricing for late-night data use, or charging more for access to bandwidth intensive apps during peak hours. As a deep packet inspection equipment vendor, Allot is hopeful that operators want to segment out their traffic using Allot’s gear. Already some are, so we’ll see if more follow now that this partnership makes it easier to link the DPI to pricing.

Friend your mobile broadband provider.

For operators who don’t want to offer personalized plans (and even those who do) another option to get more personal with users is social networking. For those carriers, Nokia Siemens Networks detailed a Facebook app for operators it has developed that will allow your carrier to communicate with you through the social network. The app allows customers to set up an account, see their balance, track call duration and manage other elements. And when it’s all over the user can share the experience with their friends.

Given how unhappy some customers tend to find their mobile provider, sharing customer interactions so freely is a pretty ballsy move. It also can offer a user benefits, in the form of offering service credits for positive word of mouth. From the NSN release:

For operators that deliver a superior customer service, Nokia Siemens Networks’ Facebook app can amplify and publicize genuine leadership. People who share their experiences with friends, and also recommend services, can benefit from special rates and incentives from operators.

So get ready for your mobile providers to start talking to you more in the unlikeliest of places — through your friends, on your wall and even via texts or portals that offer you new services as you hit monthly data limits on your phone. I hope you love your carrier, because you’ll be seeing a lot more of it.