TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: The 411 on Directory Assistance

Re: The 411 on Directory Assistance

Lou Jahn (
Sun, 12 Mar 2006 00:47:34 -0500

Steven Lichter wrote:

> I don't know how much of a profit it is since the DA from Cell phones
> are handled by another company and the Telco contract with them.

On Average, the true 411 service base cost for land lines is between $0.21
to around $0.31 per call to listen to the request, find the listing and to
release a number to a caller. Before heavy voice automation such service
took an average of 23 seconds of operator work time to complete a
transaction. With good standard automation, operator average work times can
be as low as 13 seconds -- meaning a good DA operator is handling four calls
per minute!

Heavy voice automation such as Tell-me or Verizon's Darby handle about
30-35% of all calls without ever using an operator, further reducing
the average cost. So it would be save to approximate the average cost
to process one (1) DA call to between $0.18 to $0.26 per DA call. The
actual DA listing costs about $0.04 to $0.05 of the total cost, the
rest of the cost is either operator time or voice platform
infrastructure costs. You might add another penny to the cost to cover
the billing. Nice margins -- most LECs charge $1.25 for 411
numbers out of their region. AT&T and MCI charge $2.99 per DA call if
you use the old NPA-555-1212 dialing approach

At one time Wireless DA cost a little more as Wireless service was not
as focused on the operator work time as they got air minutes to cover
the longer time to handle a DA call. Today, most DA call centers
handle both landline and/or wireless DA call services. The base cost
remains the same, the only difference might be how many firms are
involved in the actual DA service delivery - causing multiple markups
on the service delivery.

Today DA service is commodity priced. BTW in Italy one Wireless
service provides a video feed DA approach so the caller actually looks
at the DA operator as the service is delivered. Another wireless trend
(now being done in Italy) is (will be) using the GPS coordinates off
of the wireless phone to augment DA service. Hence calling for a pizza
store will no longer require telling what city you want to use for a
pizza look-up. Rather, the GPS coordinates are used to give you pizza
store options nearby where you are located.

Lou Jahn
Info Partners Corp

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: That is why, IMO, a service such as
877-EASY-411 -- which sponsors this Digest -- is such a good deal at
65 cents per one or two inquiries, or one reverse lookup, etc. Once
you are enrolled, your ANI is given to the bureau at the time you make
your call; you need no pins, or other arrangements except for the
credit/debit card you want to have billed every month or so. Get all
the details from . PAT]

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