Buddy, Can You Spare a Dime?

Buddy, Can You Spare a Dime?

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Okay, so maybe you’re not old enough to remember when phone calls cost a dime, but chances are you still remember the common sight of pay phones on the sidewalks and, in the 1990s, a never-ending barrage of commercials for collect call services (e.g., 1-800-COLLECT). Pay phones and collect call services are no longer as prominent these days, thanks to the mobile phone revolution, but collect calling is still an important niche service, especially in regions where prepaid phones are more popular.

Some things, it seems, never go out of style—like the perpetually cash-strapped college student or the card-tapped prepaid user. For these customers, it’s reassuring to know that collect call services haven’t disappeared; instead, they’ve evolved thanks to companies like Apliman Technologies. Apliman Collect Call is a new solution to an old problem—paying for calls when you don’t have the cash or credit—that allows service providers to play the hero by providing a simple, seamless collect call feature.

Here’s how it works. A subscriber decides they want to place a collect call, so they call a number to reach an interactive voice response system (just like a calling card) or they dial a special USSD code (typically a multi-digit code assigned by the service provider, like *123) followed by the number they want to dial. The called party is then informed that a collect call is coming from the subscriber, prompting them to accept or decline the call. If accepted, the call goes through and the called party is charged.

Why would a carrier want to provide collect call service? To provide better customer service for one thing; after all, having a collect call option in your back pocket can come in pretty handy when you’re not near a store that can recharge your SIM card. And it generates more revenue, since someone is paying you for those calls—even if it isn’t your subscriber.

Apliman’s Collect Call service also boasts some nice, enhanced features that update the classic collect call experience, including “automatic accepts” for family/friends and, conversely, blacklisting features that let you block calls from certain parties (you know who they are). The service also includes a call back feature to automatically redial the number in case it’s busy, and shoots subscribers a message when the called party is unavailable or unable to accept charges.

Making sure all of these messages and calls get through is where we come in or, to be specific, where the Dialogic signaling gateway comes in. The signaling gateway ensures that collect calls and messages get through to a multitude of devices including fixed phones, legacy 2G phones and 3G/4G smartphones. With Apliman’s Collect Call and Dialogic products, being out of cash doesn’t have to mean being out of touch anymore.

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