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Carrier IQ, a startup that collects data for mobile carriers, has raised $12 million in a fourth round of funding.

Bridgescale Partners led the round. When I asked the firm’s cofounder and managing director Matthew Cowan why, he offered an unexpected comparison to the music industry, where Cowan used to invest.

Record labels once calculated sales by surveying DJs, and the industry was shaken up when SoundScan started to collect more accurate data at the point of sale. Similarly, Cowan said Carrier IQ could transform the way mobile carriers track their own performance. That’s because the Mountain View, Calif. startup monitors network performance on the device itself, giving carriers data about exactly what customers are experiencing.

Carrier IQ has already made a lot of progress. The company says it has been deployed on more than 90 million mobile devices by 12 “leading vendors worldwide.” That demand is only going to increase as more smartphones on 3G and 4G wireless networks become more popular.

The company has now raised a total of $55 million. Existing investors Intel Capital, Mohr Davidow Ventures, Accel Partners, Charles River Ventures and Nauta Capital also participated in the new round.

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