New revenue streams envisioned for 3G medical call center

The 3G Doctor Blog contends that a subscription-based model for medical voice-and-video call centers being operated in Turkey shows how additional revenue streams can be generated by other mobile operators and medical-service providers around the globe.

Announced in April by Turkish mobile operator Avea and Acıbadem Mobile Healthcare Services, the service is called Avea AloDoktorum (Hello Doctor). It provides 24x7 call-center access to customers with compatible 3G handsets who reside in the 81 cities served by Avea's 3G network in Turkey. AloDoktorum subscribers can make a 3G voice or video call to reach a doctor who can help them with general health and medical information.

The call center is staffed by physicians from Acıbadem Mobile, which has more than 300 employees, roughly 100 of whom are physicians. Acıbadem Mobile provides services such as medical coaching, land and air ambulances, home care, mobile healthcare screening, telemedicine and more. Acıbadem is a well-known brand name in Turkey, as the Acıbadem Healthcare Group has been delivering medical services since 1991 through 24 branches across the country.

According to 3G Doctor, if Avea's average monthly average revenue per user (ARPU) is 16 TRY ($10.46) and a customer agrees to pay an additional 5 TRY ($3.27) for an Avea AloDoktorum subscription, then that customer's monthly average revenue increases 31 percent. That doesn't even include the extra airtime cost for calls to AloDoktorum, which are charged at about $0.13 per minute. Therefore, 3G Doctor surmises that if Verizon Wireless in the U.S. were to offer a similar service for a 31 percent ARPU premium, the operator's ARPU for customers adding the new service would jump from its current $51 per month to nearly $67, or $190 more average revenue per user each year.

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. Given that Acıbadem is staffing the call center with physicians, it seems logical that it should be garnering the lion's share of the monthly subscription fee. Regardless, the two companies' arrangement shows that a realistic business model benefiting both medical providers and mobile operators can be envisioned even in a fairly developed mobile market, particularly if a 3G voice-and-video call service can cater to groups that have medical needs, such as seniors, caregivers or young parents.

For more information:
- read this story on the 3G Doctor blog
- see the Acıbadem Mobile website