Re: The 411 on Directory Assistance

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

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[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
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Lou Jahn
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