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Darren Schreiber

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Posts posted by Darren Schreiber

  1. Oh my, I am a bit surprised at the lack of excitement around this product offering! Sadface!!! Seems related mostly to misinformation around it. You guys have proven yourself excellent consumers and really bad mobile business entrepreneurs LOL

    OK, so let's review. Here's the opportunity you are being presented with...

    Service Offering
    Most people these days love their cell phones. They kind of have a relationship with it. They don't necessarily want to change it.

    HOWEVER, most people also don't like paying for their cell phone. They find all sorts of ways to avoid that - from corporate discounts from their friends that they're not entitled to, to buying/selling used cell phones, to expensing their phone bill at work, and so on.

    In addition, many people really don't like using their cell phone for work. There are lots of reasons for this, namely:
    * Form factor of holding a cell phone for hours on end isn't great
    * Call quality / audio isn't great
    * Battery life
    * Don't like sharing their personal cell phone number with clients/customers
    * Having to manage multiple numbers to reach them
    * Multiple voicemail boxes
    * Bad coverage / dead spots / unreliable
    * Can't use a headset easily

    We've seen people attempt to solve this in a variety of ways:
    * Carry two phones
    * Dual SIMs (rare)
    * Call-forwarding from their desk phone
    * Apps on the phone that do VoIP

    In general, however, none of the solutions solve the above elegantly. Until now :-)

    In addition, there's not been much innovation in what the cell phone can do in regards to calls. Things like automatically tying calls to SalesForce/CRM tools, call recording, etc. have basically been absent from cell service.

    This service aims to change that. You can literally use the APIs and unique callflows to fix all the above problems and offer something unique to your customers. (And soon we hope to have pre-built apps that let you do all the above automatically, but honestly with a little elbow grease you can do this now)

    And at the same time, you can go to a business owner and say "hey, you realize when you let your employees expense 10 cell phones, you're paying 2-3x what you could be because they each have individual plans."

    So, in theory, you can convince a business owner to do something like "offer to pay your employees cell phone bill if they use the corporate plan in full, or otherwise give them $30 toward their cell phone bill per month to choose whatever carrier they want." Many users will use the corp plan, some users will keep their own plan and just take the $30. But putting the offer on the table gives you the opportunity to show off more features, gain additional revenue, and reduce the company's cost.


    Understanding the Existing Market
    In the existing market, there are already business-centric cellular service offerings. They make up some 3-5% of cell phone carriers revenues. Usually they involve a sales rep from a carrier coming to your office and pitching you but it can be done on the phone, too. They try to get you to commit to, say, a "100GB plan with up to 20 cell phones included for $800/month". That works out to $40/phone and sounds pretty good. Of course, that business may, or may not, use 100GB or all 20 phones.

    Whatever they don't use, the cell phone carrier (or you) pocket. This is called "breakage". https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breakage

    If you read the quarterly reports of the carriers, you'll see that they aim, when calculating breakage into the matter, to hit a certain target revenue per phone - this is called ARPU, or Average Revenue Per User. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Average_revenue_per_user

    The typical ARPU target these days is somewhere between $50-80. That's based on a lot of math they do constantly - namely they measure average network usage, network capacity, etc.

    This number is probably what you want to target, too! There are lots of ways to do that.

    One way, which you are seeing all over ads and TV, is advertise $40/line but require 3 or 4 lines, knowing that most people will only sign up for 1 or 2. In reality, you'll still end up averaging $50-60/line! But everyone gravitates to the low number. This is just marketing - it is not tied to revenue, and again, if you read the quarterly reports, you'll figure that out. The ARPU has not changed dramatically in the last couple years (T-Mobile caused it to tip dramatically when they first launched, and pushed everyone else the same, which helped cause Sprint to near bankruptcy, but alas, they now also need more money to keep growing and maintaining their network)



    Pricing & Revenue

    From a high-level, the commercials you see for $40 are kind of bogus. There are ALWAYS carrier fees, they require you to have auto-pay, they say "unlimited" but all list a throttle limit (23GB for 4 lines for example for Sprint, which is less than 6GB per line). The average allowance in reality is 5-10GB per line (about $40-80 per line in costs) with the assumption that if you have 4 lines to get the $40 you'll only have two "power users" at most, so you'll actually probably use 10-15GB across 4 devices, or 2.5GB-3.75GB average (now it's $20-$30 per phone in usage fees).

    So, you can easily be price competitive if you use the same marketing slang as everyone else. This is no different than VoIP so I do not know why this scares you guys so much! You probably offer "unlimited trunks" or similar non-sense marketing terms, with a strict terms & conditions preventing anything that might chew through minutes, thus you don't ACTUALLY expect someone to use unlimited service. Or you set caps. Same deal here.


    Management
    The big advantage with our service is it lets you play - thanks to the new throttle controls (which is what took us so long to release). You can sell "unlimited" for example but throttle the user's speed really low after 3 or 4GB and call it network or service management, which is accurate - you're preventing a service hog in an account. Or you can let the corporate user pay the actual costs, teach them how to use the tools, and let them make the decision themselves.

    Many many corporate managers are control freaks and LOVE the ability to decide who can be a bandwidth hog and who can't - impacting their bill and service quality. The transparency is unparalleled.

    Features
    As of right now, I see the following benefits for using mobile:
    1. Presence across all devices
    2. Call recording
    3. Outbound caller ID
    4. Reliability (Internet outage/power outage)
    5. Call flows, inbound routing, and other misc PBX features
    6. Easily add multiple inbound DID's
    7. WebHooks / WebSockets integration allowing sync'ing with CRMs/operator console/etc.
    8. One number across multiple devices OR two numbers across multiple devices
    9. Single bill / cost for multiple phones (give them a home phone for "free"!)
    10. One provider to call for help
    11. Support for data devices (tablets, hotspots) and backup services (failover to internet)
    12. Pooling of data/minutes/SMS/MMS across all devices
    13. Low per-device fee, so you can have multiple cell phones or devices active if you wish
    14. Call transfer can be done via star codes on the cell phone

    I agree that an OTT app along with this service to facilitate things like real-time call control, voicemail, BLF, and other advanced things would be great and it could be sold in the app store.  I suspect an app could be developed that would work with any Kazoo installation.  This has some revenue potential for whoever develops something.

    Don't fall for advertising
    You wrote: "One more thing to note is that Sprint pricing is already very low.  They are offering 4 lines unlimited for $30/each and for a limited time they are including a 5th at no additional charge.  http://prntscr.com/f3cw6r

    You literally screenshot an ad that, had you screenshot the rest, says that:
    a) This offer is for 6 months
    b) It requires 4 lines on auto-pay
    c) It has a cap of 23GB data, it's not unlimited!!! There's no such thing as unlimited. Ever.
    d) They add a $2.90/line admin fee and various misc surcharges
    e) After 6 months, the rate goes to $60 + $40 + $30 + $30 (or $160 for 4 or $40 per device)

    Future
    You wrote: "I have been thinking about what types of businesses would benefit from using a cell over a wireless handset.  The lack of basic call control seems like the biggest hurdle at the moment."

    I agree. The faster we can now tie in a few key features that are business-centric and a 2nd line/phone number, the better. That will be our target now. Once we have that, this will be a big deal.

    Summary
    My suspicion is with some creative marketing, you can sell 5-10 handsets with 5GB each for 400-600 in revenue.

    Your cost would be between $15 and $40 per handset.

    You'd be billing $60-80 per handset.

    Your selling point would be single number multi-device, or dual number at some point, plus management app, transparency, bundle in internet failover or other package items and integration with CRM/call recording apps, plus reduced costs for the corporation over allowing employees to expense individual phones.

    Users don't have to give up their phones - works with Verizon and Sprint existing cell phones that are off contract (the contract part will always be a sticking point).
  2. Something to keep in mind... "Comcast" is really American Cable Systems. Which became Comcast in 1969. Then they bought Group W Cable in 1986. Then Storer Communications in 1985. Then it bought Maclean-Hunter's US division. 

    Then it started rolling out internet via the "@Home" network (anyone remember this?). This was partially via a company named "Excite", who went bankrupt, and Comcast bought their assets.

    Then they bought Prime Communications. and some VeriSign stock. and MediaOne (via a trade with AT&T). Also they bought AT&T Broadband. and Patriot Media in 2007.

    shall I go on?

    If you think during each of these mergers, they walked in and within 90 days ripped & replaced all the customer equipment, billing systems, routers, switches, fiber cables, etc. with a nice unified system... Wellllll hehehe ummm 


    In reality they're JUST getting to that point now with just their portal and ticketing systems (within the past couple years). They still operate the territories somewhat separately.

    Why am I saying all this? My guess is they have different equipment and programming in each region.

    Hence the weird, inconsistent network results.

    There is no "Comcast" there's just "merger mess with a nice name."
  3. No problem, if it is Comcast you should be experiencing it on all phones, unless it's a local LAN issue.

    There are some other things to try. You indeed could try switching codecs. Believe it or not sometimes audio sounds funky when it gets "upsampled" to HD but is actually a regular PSTN call on PCMU.
  4. Switching to TCP just changes signaling. If you were using UDP, it didn't work well, you switched to TCP and your "signaling" issues went away but you now have audio issues, you've actually proven that the internet or network IS the problem.

    TCP covers up connectivity problems, which is why we don't like it. UDP has no error correction built-in, so errors and unreliable links become problematic. TCP corrects errors on it's own, but you can't use it for audio because it adds delay. So audio still remains UDP. Thus, if TCP "fixes" your original issue, then really TCP likely just "covered up" your original issue and now UDP is still used for audio but is still having the same issue.
  5. Sorry, I was referring to the original request (see title of this thread). I'm not sure why you actually added eavesdrop here, might I suggest opening a separate thread for that request? It is not the same or really related to call screening from a technical perspective and should exist as a different request.

    My response was in regards to call screening.
  6. We've got a pretty healthy list of new features coming out which will probably consume most of our focus for at least the next month or two. We can consider this after that but we only have so many staff members to work on this.

    If you'd like to contribute this somehow you are welcome to in the meantime. Otherwise, perhaps file a feature request in the tickets.2600hz.com site? Then we'll groom that and look for new features at a later date.
  7. http://www.fiercetelecom.com/telecom/verizon-seeks-fcc-permission-to-shutter-more-legacy-ss7-voice-s...

    "
    1. Legacy SS7 elements: Verizon wants to be relieved of an FCC requirement to upgrade and replace legacy SS7 network elements in order to generate and pass the charge number (CN) when it differs from calling party number (CPN)."
    Which relates to both billing, Caller ID and ANI passing actually. Spawned by the "Truth in Caller ID" act. Google away :)
  8. LOL, isn't it though? The previous FCC chairman had a mandate that all carriers be able to start passing reliable Caller ID info between each other for this very reason, so spoofing stops. But the new FCC chairman is likely to nix that requirement now (Verizon and one other company, forget who, just re-petitioned to try to remove the requirement to upgrade their equipment to support this feature).

    So it will stay messy for a while.
  9. There are limits in any system on packet sizes and memory buffers. Engineers sometimes code things assuming they'll only ever get so big.

    Sometimes they'll pick a number like 1024 for the number of bytes that can exist in a string.

    Well, if you call a phone in our system, potentially it creates this string:
    bridge {caller_id=X,caller_id_name=Y}sofia/profile/sipint...;some_setting=a&some_setting=b

    OK, that's for one person. Now you have two people, well, it doubles in length:
    bridge {caller_id=X,caller_id_name=Y}sofia/profile/sipint...;some_setting=a&some_setting=b,
    {caller_id=X,caller_id_name=Y}sofia/profile/sipint...;some_setting=a&some_setting=b

    Well, when you get to 100, maybe you now exceed 1024 characters and something breaks.

    It's impossible to unravel every single line of code an engineer has ever written to see if they have made an assumption like this basically, hence why they become "bugs" :-) It's something an engineer never thought someone would do, but then someone does it.
  10. There is a GUI component for this and I'm debating having a Monster app for this. The dream was to allow people to subscribe to a public list of telemarketers, too, and download updates to it regularly to block bogus Caller IDs.

    That idea, however, turns out to be flawed. A lot of telemarketers are now spoofing their Caller ID with numbers they don't own that belong to other people. Which means we'd accidentally block some poor soul out there. Kind of a big problem if you ask me but not a good solution to it.
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