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Lifeline providers

Increasing Margins of US Lifeline Providers

How can US lifeline providers reduce their per-minute cost

Lifeline providers

Thanks to the FCC-mandated, government-sponsored program, called Lifeline, the financially disadvantaged in the US can receive a cell phone and anywhere from 500 minutes to an unlimited number of minutes and texts every month — at no charge! The Lifeline program ensures that all Americans have the opportunities and security that phone service brings, including being able to connect to jobs, family and emergency services.

As of December 2016, lifeline providers are required to provide a minimum of 500 minutes per month and 500 MB per month at 3G speeds. As of December 2017, lifeline providers will have to provide a minimum of 750 minutes and 1GB per month and as of December 2018, a minimum of 1000 minutes and 2 GB per month. The Lifeline program provides a discount (support) on monthly service of $9.25 per month for eligible low-income subscribers.

Increasing minimum service standards

The FCC and Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) are increasing the requirements of minimum voice minutes and MB data while reducing the discount on monthly services, meaning that lifeline providers will have to provide more voice minutes and mobile data while receiving less support funds (in US$) from the FCC program.

As of today, a Lifeline provider (MVNO) pays a high wholesale per-minute price (around 1.5 cents) and per 1 MB data price (around 1 cent) to Mobile Network Operators (MNOs). As a result of the increasing minimum requirements and high wholesale prices, the lifeline wireless providers are expecting a decrease in margins and ARPU. In addition, the increasing number of lifeline operators offering smartphones instead of feature phones increases the competition even more since offering smartphones makes their service more attractive to eligible consumers.

Reducing per-minute cost

To increase their margins, lifeline providers can offer voice over WiFi and data cellular services as an alternative to MNO’s high cost GSM service. This way Lifeline providers need only buy wholesale data from MNOs without GSM minutes. The new service decreases the per-minute cost by more than 50%. This technology enables MVNOs to offer 4 voice minutes for every 1 MB. Assuming an MNO wholesale 1 MB price is 1 cent, then a 1-minute call will cost just 0.25 cents. Thus, the Lifeline MVNO reduces its per-minute costs from 1.5 cents to 0.25 cents (excluding termination cost).

For a lifeline provider serving 50,000 eligible consumers consuming 500 minutes per month each, having 50% of their calls over WiFi and paying 0.15 cents per-minute termination, the total monthly savings amount to around US$ 300,000.

Lifeline providers may offer the service through low-end, used or refurbished Android-based smartphones to their subscribers or provide it through an OTT app supporting BYOD for iOS and Android-based smartphone devices.

Wifi first does increase margins

AudioCodes MobilityPLUS, a WiFi First wireless solution, reduces the lifeline MVNO per-minute and message costs by over 50%. It enables voice and messaging services over WiFi and cellular data networks, providing seamless interconnections from WiFi to cellular networks and vice versa, a process that significantly extends coverage areas and potentially lowers costs for providers and end-users alike. MobilityPLUS is delivered from the cloud as a service (SaaS) ensuring minimal initial setup and monthly costs, and fast deployment. AudioCodes’ field-proven underlying voice technology assures crystal clear HD voice quality that boost the subscribers’ satisfaction.

Full line of service for mvnos

AudioCodes and its US partners have come up with a complete, cost-effective and innovative service that truly does provide MVNOs and other providers a real competitive advantage in the wireless marketplace

  • White-label voice and messaging over WiFi and data service
  • Customized and pre-loaded into Android OS as an integrated dialer
  • Full support for BYOD, supporting iOS and Android-based smartphones
  • Wholesale voice minutes and messages
  • Wholesale cellular data
  • Integration with billing and CRM
  • SMS-enabled DIDs
  • Long distance termination

To learn more about AudioCodes MobilityPLUS, please contact mobilityplus@audiocodes.com

Enterprise dialing

Adding a Personal Dialling Assistant to Your Enterprise PBX: An Interview with Eyal Zach

Revolutionizing enterprise dialing

Enterprise dialing

I’m an enthusiastic user of VocaNOM so I figured it is time to get Eyal Zach, our VP Business Development for Mobility and VocaNOM answer some questions and tell our readers about the latest advancements and plans for the application.

Eyal, tell us about VocaNOM and the target market?

VocaNOM allows employees to dial using their voice to request the destination rather than looking up the name of the requested contact-person in the company address book. This makes dialling ast and easy, and increases security while driving!

We are leveraging AudioCodes GW & SBC technologies to connect to any PBX (any vendor and any type of PBX – even to analog devices.).

VocaNOM is now available in the cloud. We are very excited to be the first company to provide a public cloud-based voice recognition service aimed specifically at enterprises. The service is already deployed with over one hundred customers from different business segments (universities, hospitals, high-tech and low-tech companies, municipalities and others). Since the service is specific per language, we are currently offering it in English (U.S.), Spanish, German and Hebrew. We are working on expanding the service to include additional languages.

You can read more about VocaNOM and watch our video clip.

VocaNOM was previously an on-premises product that was moved to the cloud. Can you provide more information about the motivation for this change?

We started offering the service in Israel a few years ago and mostly approached large-scale enterprises (1000+ employees). We did not approach smaller companies because of the cost of installation and management of an on-premises architecture. Once we started to get queries from smaller enterprises wanting to enjoy the same technology and benefits that VocaNOM offers, we started looking for ways to simplify the installation and configuration and reduce the time it takes to get a customer up and running. Now that the system runs as a hosted service in the cloud, we can offer it to a larger audience and easily scale on-the-go as required.

What are the benefits for the end customer in preferring the cloud service over the on-premises option?

The move to the cloud allows us to provide more options to our customers while lowering the barriers for adoption of the service by almost any enterprise.

From a customer perspective, using this service in the cloud instead of on-premises results in simplified management and maintenance while benefiting from a pay-as-you-go type of pricing model instead of a higher one-time fee. Additionally, since it runs in the cloud, the customer is freed from the need to handle version upgrades.

What is next for VocaNOM?

We recently launched a new mobile applications that support our customers’ private address book in addition to their corporate address book. We are working on other features that will be announced later this year that will extend the capabilities of that app beyond just dialling. We are receiving great feedback and ideas from our growing customer base and we are working hard to enhance and improve the product. We have also recently launched an online self-registration tool, allowing potential customers to try VocaNOM in less than a few minutes.

What are the key milestones for VocaNOM in the near future?

With the ongoing development of our enterprise service, including our mobile app and our online self-registration platform, we are excited to show these new features at the upcoming Mobile World Congress expo (MWC 2016).

We’re attending MWC16 to meet with European service providers and to expand our business offering across multiple countries, with a special focus on Germany and Spain.

Anyone who might be interested in meeting with us can drop me a line to schedule a short talk.

Mozilla MWC 2014

Here’s Why MWC 2015 will be so much better than 2014

As I started packing for MWC 2015, which will take place next week in Barcelona, it got me thinking about what will be the main trends at the show this year.

Mozilla MWC 2014

A year ago, MWC 2014 was really amazing. A lot of attention was focused on Facebook following their keynote address and announcements on their “Internet for Everyone” concept, which plans to connect 5 billion people to the web by through their Internet.org project. Their early discussions on WhatsApp voice support (first real competition to Skype?) also drew interest. Most of the major consumer brands announced their new wearable and IoT devices (from a connected toothbrush to smartwatch!). Huge Tablets, five-inch screen mobiles on the one hand and very cheap smartphones on the other, were widely discussed (huge potential in emerging markets). And mobile advertisements (mostly in the App Planet hall) were not neglected.

What should we expect to see and hear in MWC 2015? Many questions are still open… we will need to wait until end of next week..

Will we learn of new mobile devices? Of course we will. We expect to hear announcements from Samsung (Galaxy S6), HTC (One M9?) and LG (G4 – too soon?). What about Sony?

Smart watches? (Samsung code name “Orbis”? LG G watch? Something new from Motorola? Will we see HTC entering this hot market as well?)

What do you think will be the hottest announcement in MWC 2015? I promise to post soon after the event with my observations.

One thing is for sure, though. AudioCodes will be making some very interesting announcements concerning its VocaNOM solution. Designed to make enterprise contacts always live and accessible, VocaNOM is an innovative cloud-driven mobile app that allows simple voice dialing by just saying the name of the contact. Whether at office, while driving or even abroad, VocaNOM improves productivity and makes phone communication easy like never before!

Are you going to be at MWC 2015? If so, I’d love to meet you. Enjoy the show!

Click here to schedule a meeting with us.