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    DCB on the cusp of great things – but operators need to get together to make it a brand

    Direct carrier billing continues to go from strength to strength, but to tip over from niche player in mainstream content and entertainment markets, MNOs need to work together to create a brand and to educate the market.

    That was the thrust of discussions at the Global Carrier Billing & Mobile Payments conference in Amsterdam last week, where operators and telemedia providers lined up to look at how to push DCB as a mainstream payment tool. And leading the charge were, surprisingly, the operators themselves.

    Amelia Newsome-Davis, head of payments and messaging at Orange France, told delegates that carriers had, in many cases, got over the outpayments issue, wuth many merchants now receiving 90% and often 95% of the fee. “However,” she said, “now we have to adapt DCB for the overall modern payments ecosystem. We need to increase awareness among businesses and consumers, we need to tackle fraud and we need to brand and promote DCB to improve take up.”

    On branding and and promotion, Newsome-Davis believes that to compete with Apple Pay, Google Pay and even PayPal, DCB needs a strong and unified brand identity worldwide.

    The example Newsome-Davis gives is how carrier billing has been promoted in Germany – something Martin Shurig, head of financial and enabling services at Telefonica Germany was quick to agree with.

    “There has been national collaboration in Germany among the MNOs to create an identity for DCB and a standard explanation of how it works,” he told delegates. “Zahl einfach per Handyrechnung – or ‘Make easy payments via mobile phone bill’ – has been created along with a recognisable logo to place alongside other payment logos at the point of payment. There has also been a nationwide billboard campaign and a ‘buy one get one free’ offering on selected vending machines that offer DCB to get people using it.”

    This model is working well in Germany and MNOs around the world are being encouraged to do similar programmes in their own markets, with a view to one day having a universal carrier billing brand.

    Sam Media’s Leon Djiksman agrees. See what he has to say in this video from the show

    How DCB needs to be a brand

    Digital, physical and beyond

    Another area where MNOs need to concentrate their lobbying it to start to move DCB on from purely digital purchases and start to embrace more quasi-physical and physical purchases, says Newsome-Davis.

    “The constraints of PSD 2 that limit DCB purchases to €50 and on digital goods only should be reassessed,” she says. “They need to be able to pay for electric car charging, travel tickets and so on, and these days these are often way above €50.

    Shurig agrees. He told delegates: “DCB in Germany is already being used to hire bikes – in a Telefonica Germany-DIMOCO partnership – car parking and EV charging. We have to see more of this to start making DCB a real alternative to payments. It would be good to see it work with vending machines and more.”

    Shurig also wants to see the developer environment for DCB open up so that devs can get access to APIs and create new services and interesting interactions around DCB.

    “Open and harmonised DCB APIs will let developers in to create services that MNOs haven’t even thought of. These are the guys who can really open up new markets to DCB and expand MNO revenues from these services.”

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