Tier 3 wireless carrier Cellcom has come up with a promising new revenue source – providing cellular connectivity for blood glucose meters from Telcare used by people with diabetes.
“Cellcom will receive revenue from Telcare that is variable based on the amount of data consumed by the meter,” said Cellcom president and CEO Patrick D. Riordan in an email to Telecompetitor. Customers will not pay Cellcom directly, he explained.
As Cellcom explained in a press release issued last week, Telcare’s glucose meter will transmit each test result to a secure server, from which caregivers and physicians will be able to access the data online. The goal is to improve adherence to diabetes testing and reduce the cost of diabetes to patients, employers and insurers.
“Patients will be able to find out about this from their healthcare providers and health plans,” said Riordan. “We are also working to promote to employers in select verticals (i.e. trucking) who will in turn promote this to their employees.”
One notable aspect of Cellcom’s deal with Telcare is that Cellcom will offer connectivity to support Telcare’s offering throughout Wisconsin. Cellcom’s own network covers only a portion of the state, but as Riordan explained in the email to Telecompetitor, Cellcom will use roaming partner towers in areas where the carrier does not have its own infrastructure.
The offering will use 1XRTT, Riordan said. The choice of a 2G network is not surprising because the offering undoubtedly requires relatively small amounts of bandwidth and 1XRTT is the most widely available CDMA data network technology. Another consideration is that the machine-to-machine components for use on 1XRTT networks are less costly than those for later generation CDMA technology.
Another notable aspect of the Cellcom announcement is that the carrier plans to offer the Telcare solution to its own employees who have diabetes. “Our human resources department is currently working with our health plan provider to ensure that the Telcare [meter] and test strips are a covered benefit,” wrote Riordan. “We believe in the technology and want it to be available for our employees.”
Moving forward, healthcare providers and insurers are expected to make greater use of M2M technology and cellular networks to support remote patient care as a means of enhancing preventative medicine and reducing healthcare costs. That should mean more opportunities for wireless network operators – and Cellcom is wise to get in on the ground floor in pursuing these opportunities.