A calculation that I made to highlight the potential ARPU upside of a 3G Video Medical Call Centre for mobile operators has led to a certain amount of confusion with FierceMobileHealthcare’s Tammy Parker.
“It’s unclear what the revenue-sharing deal between Avea and Acıbadem is, however, so Avea’s ARPU likely would not increase as much as calculated by the blog”
I know it’s quite hard to imagine that USA operators are currently ignoring the potential Billion $ of business that a medical call centre solution (like the one set up by this innovative Turkish operator) could offer, but it’s a fact that if it’s money paid to the operator (eg. in this case the customer pays the charge along with their mobile bill to Avea) then it adds to the revenues generated. It is from these total revenues that the ARPU’s are calculated.
ARPU is a calculation that is completely unaffected by any “particular revenue sharing deal”.
For a bit more detailed explanation I posted a comment on the Fierce Mobile Healthcare article that explains how ARPU’s (Average revenue per user) are an approximation that are showing their age and have less meaning as mobile spend continues to expand to cover mobile payments, high bandwidth data services and ownership of 2 or more Phones/SIM’s.
You might find an example helps to make it clearer:
Let’s say we’re calculating the ARPU at a Japanese operator with 100,000 customers.
A new service is introduced that lets customers buy drinks out of vending machines on the street corner.
Let’s say the operator manages to shift a $1 million worth of bottled drinks per month to customers through these machines.
That’s an average monthly ARPU increase of $10 per customer.
Obviously in this case you can see this ARPU doesn’t take into account the investments in machinery, real estate, marketing, stock etc etc. that is needed to make the service work.
Profitability is of course only achievable by those who’ve done their homework and know their market. In relation to this finer point it’s worth noting that Avea haven’t tried to hatch this mHealth initiative on their own but have drawn in a leading private sector healthcare provider. I have heard noises that it’s going well… more soon!