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Long Distance – Live Oak Enters ASP Arena

Posted: 06/2000

Live Oak Enters ASP Arena

Live
Oak Telecom LLC (www.liveoaktelecom.com)
has announced Prepaid ASP. The product is a hybrid one, consisting of an
equipment offering and a back office hosted application. The prepaid
long-distance provider offers companies switches that can be installed where
needed, and Live Oak manages all the back office prepaid phone card tracking on
that switch.

The company targets distributors that wish to enter the prepaid calling card industry without incurring the expense of purchasing the software and hardware needed for an in-house system. “They have a switch, but they don’t need a five-man staff to run it,” says Dave Womack, president of Live Oak. “And, since they will own their own switch and switches are relatively expensive, we’re fairly certain that they’ll run enough minutes to make their agreement with us worthwhile.”

A
prepaid distributor purchases a switch and pays a per-minute fee for using Live
Oak’s back-office platforms and switch-running software. The customer is billed
for the time on a weekly basis. The software and hardware has full redundancy,
built on an Oracle database, as well as Stratus Computer Inc. (www.stratus.com)
and Hewlett-Packard Co. (www.hp.com) equipment.
The switches are from Cisco Systems Inc. (www.cisco.com),
and the software is proprietary, giving Live Oak’s research and development team
the ability to tailor it to customer demands.

Prepaid ASP, which has not been advertised, is receiving tremendous response, according to Womack, far surpassing what was expected in the first year.

“Anybody who has used our software and saw the program, and has been in the business, has expressed a strong interest,” he says. He cites one distributor who sells primarily to customers calling from Dallas to New York. “He is in the process of setting up a network solely around our package,” he adds.

The small yet powerful switches are rack-mountable and stackable, and can handle 4,000 ports and 2,000 simultaneous calls. They can be installed anywhere the distributor wishes. If the customer has a high concentration of card sales in one area, it can install there. The local switch can then contact Live Oak’s long-distance switch through a local number, thereby avoiding 800 number access charges.

The product also carries the “Instant Launch” feature. If a company purchases the Prepaid ASP product and service and wants to be up right away, Live Oak has an empty switch connected to an ATM network. The customer points its card’s 800 access number to the Live Oak system and is operational. “Right away in telephony means three months,” chuckles Womack. “We’re up in four hours.”

Through a password-protected website a customer manages its switch over the Internet. Rate tables, routing tables and PINs are accessible, invoices can be e-mailed, and reports can be downloaded and are searchable. The customer also can download call detail records for desktop analysis.

"We
offer them a multimillion dollar service bureau," says Womack,
"without them having to spend the money, and they can do what they do best,
and that is sell cards."


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