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EDITORIAL A whole new stage of carrier billing

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The introduction of PSD2 across Europe at the start of the year promised an opening up of carrier billing to the mass market: and that opening has been swift. In fact, carrier billing has reached an important stage – the West End stage no less.

Fonix – which has really pushed carrier billing in the run up to and post PSD2 – has been selected to power a carrier billing service for ticket sales for West End musical Young Frankenstein.And the move is special as it clearly showcases how mobile ticketing can work in harmony with mobile marketing to make for a power combination.

Utilising the mobile network operators’ marketing channels, consumers will be driven to a bespoke landing page, built by Fonix which will enable customers to purchase up to two theatre tickets effortlessly from their mobile phone.

The service uses Fonix’s Carrier Billing product to seamlessly charge the Young Frankenstein tickets straight to the consumer’s mobile phone bill, without the need to enter credit card details – and the deal comes hot on the heels of Fonix launching the UK’s first carrier billing ticketing deal with the Cowes Floating Bridge.

Ticketing offers a massive opportunity to expand carrier billing beyond the standard charging for digital content (not that that isn’t a really great market also with massive potential) consumed on devices.

According to research by MobileSquared, in the UK alone, around a third of consumers are keen to start using charge to mobile to buy low-value tickets, such as bus fares, train tickets, taxi rides and so on.

Its link with mobile marketing gives it added power – as the Fonix-Young Frankenstein example shows. And this is really the key to the future success of carrier billing in any vertical – selling the idea of a more seamless flow from mobile marketing appearing on the handset to the consumer being able to buy it with two clicks.

It also, for post-pay, users taps into another emerging ecommerce trend: buy now, pay later.

In retail circles, retailers such as ASOS are working with payment providers to offer ecommerce customers the chance to order goods – usually clothes in a range of sizes – have them delivered, send back the ones they don’t want and then pay.

While carrier billing doesn’t offer the ability to buy physical goods and nor does anyone want to big up the ‘buy now, pay later’ ethos, it does mean that it is tapping into a new consumer mindset. In short, consumers are less likely to get bill shock – they are used to the bill appearing sometime later.

That said, carrier billing still has a long way to go to ditch its tarnished reputation of being the billing method of choice for slightly iffy subscription services. Moves like those by Fonix to push carrier billing for mainstream ticketing – and it doesn’t get any more maninstream than a popularist West End musical – will help address this, especially with a younger audience.

And I for one really hope it works. There are so many ticketing opportunities that would be made so much easier with carrier billing… Dartford Crossing I am looking at you. Trying to pay on a mobile website with rubbish network connection? Really?

The move to make carrier billing mainstream here in the UK is also laudable – but it comes long after many other regions have already started to embrace it. And we want to know how… so we are running an in depth analysis of the telemedia industry – not just carrier billing, but that is in there – to find out just what the industry is worth, what it is likely to be worth and where the new opportunities lie.

Working with leading telecoms and media research company MobileSquared, we will be looking to ascertain the market values worldwide for telemedia, broken down by region and service type, as well as providing in depth analysis of what services are working where and why and hopefully helping all businesses in the sector learn from one another to the greater good.

Some of the things we are looking at are:

  • The size of global telemedia market
  • The size of regional and national markets
  • What % of mCommerce is direct carrier billing
  • Growth potential for DCB after PSD2
  • Global expansion for the “unbanked”

But we can’t do it without your help. If you would be interested in taking part in our research, then please let us know. And we will be in touch with our research agenda.

The results and report will be unveiled (in true WTM fashion) at WTM2018 in Marbella.

 

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Editor and content creator for Telemedia – for 18 years and counting

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