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Mobile billing and metrics company Bango is announcing the third version of its mobile metrics suite today, which includes a redesign of its dashboard and sharpening its ability to track unique visitors.

Traditional desktop analytics can’t track unique mobile visitors accurately, because Javascript can’t be used on the great majority of handsets, and while some handsets accept cookies, many delete them whenever the phone is shut off.

The inability to track unique mobile users is a basic problem in the mobile space. There are relatively few credible mobile analytics companies trying to solve this: Bango, of Britain, is one. Admob, a mobile ad company in Silicon Valley, is another. There’s also Amethon and Mobilytics. (A round-up of the various mobile metrics offerings is available at Bryson Meunier’s blog.)

For each visitor to a website using Bango Analytics, the company creates what it calls a Bango User ID, using a combination of things it knows about the visitor, such as the WAP gateway used, browser, handset, and carrier. Once the ID is in place, any mobile website with the Bango Analytics code inserted will register the user and remember their ID for return visits.

Amethon provides a more labor intensive and expensive product: It requires installing hardware, and is generally meant for large publishers. AdMob is offering up its analytics suite, which is still in private beta, for free. Bango is quick to point out in comments to every post about AdMob that Admob is both an ad network and an analytics provider and is therefore unable to provide independent numbers (though AdMob has taken pains to separate the two, and it’s not like the dual role has hurt Google).

Mobilytics, which offers an analytics package similar to Bango’s but is still in beta as well, is probably the closest competition Bango has. Both are attempting to lower the barrier to entry for publishers, offering deep analytics of mobile users, hosting the data on their own servers, and offering up free versions for hesitant publishers to try first. (The two companies are certainly aware of each other — there’s a highly entertaining back-and-forth between members of the two organizations over at the Mobilytics blog.)

Bango started nine years ago, developing a platform for mobile payments, but got into the mobile analytics game officially this February with the launch of Bango Analytics. The company hopes to get more publishers using its analytics suites by introducing this new version of the analytics dashboard. “We intentionally made it look like a desktop analytics package, because we wanted to show that mobile is just another part of the web,” says Adam Kerr, VP of Web Sales at Bango. In addition to number of unique visitors, users can see the handset, carrier, and country of origin for visitors, as well as site statistics such as popular keyword searches, revenues, or banner click rates.

The dashboard also lets website owners track conversions, including what carrier and handsets are bringing them there. “You can drill down into this data and see that users coming from [Boost Mobile] are converting more than users from Sprint,” says Kerr, which would allow for better targeted media buys.

The company offers its basic analytics package for free and plans to make its money by charging for premium services. For $49 a month, the company will let you view your previous 500,000 records, and for $499 a month, the last 5 million. The company has also opened its API for paying customers, allowing those with pre-existing desktop analytics packages to incorporate the mobile data into their own. Among their clients is mobile gaming company Tapatap and mobile advertiser AdEye.

Checkout our MobileBeat conference on Thursday. Admob is a finalist for best company, and will be showing off some new stuff.

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