Saturday, July 20, 2024
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    EDITORIAL Carrier billing – a technology in tune with the times?

    The rapid and unstoppable march of mobile content consumption – even pre-COVID – has proved a boon for direct carrier billing (DCB), which is suddenly attracting a lot of attention – not least because it offers the only viable mobile payment offering that works everywhere, regardless of country.

    With more people than ever using their phones to consume content – games, gambling, video, sports and more – the need for a quick and easy way to pay has never been more vital.

    With these content services rocketing up still higher under lockdown and a payment tools that anyone with a smartphone can use would seem a no brainer.

    But DCB has been overlooked in the content world for many years – could it be that its time is now?

    Recent research by PMConnect, carried out by Mobilesquared shows that it certainly has started to hit a sweet spot.

    The researchers have found that, between now and 2023, DCB is going to be used by 1.5 billion people a year and will generate revenues on sales of $28 billion globally.

    The UK and Western Europe together are going to hit $3.3 billion, with DCB services being used by almost 2 million people. Eastern Europe will see some $800 million in sales via DCB, with a growth rate in the next three years of 25% – with more than 53% more people using it by 2023 than do today.

    The Middle East and Africa are also going to experience rapid and massive growth, with revenues in Africa up by 83% hitting almost $1 billion, and the Middle East seeing 63 million users generating $800 million a year.

    According to the report, eTicketing and mobile sports content will lead the charge, though the privately analysts at Mobilesquared see opportunities across the content board for DCB.

    One way to pay

    One of the reasons why DCB is likely to be so popular across all regions, but in Europe in particular, comes down squarely to the fact that, while content services are pretty universal across all regions, there is no single way to pay.

    In Africa, MPESA has long had the monopoly on mobile payments, but more importantly than that, it has got a whole continent into a single way of paying.

    If you look at Europe – West and East – there is no single mobile payment tool.

    With such a supposedly mature and advanced mobile market, this is something of an oddity.

    DCB, however, has the power to be that tool. It is the only payment tool that is already reasonably widely used in all markets and it is the only one that works across all mobile SIM-enabled devices. DCB is the world’s single common mobile payment tool.

    With the growing interest in mobile content and services, already in place, but driven by global lockdown, many are starting to see just how central a role DCB could have in the mobile content world.

    Mixed messages

    There is another reason why DCB is set to be huge: messaging. Latest predictions from Juniper Research suggest that Instant Messaging is likely to grow at around 9% a year post-COVID and that some of that growth will be driven by monetizable messages. Messages that can carry not only a message, but also can let people pay for things is going to be huge globally and again DCB is in prime position to help make that happen.

    While RCS fails to get much traction (yet?), other messaging types are filling the gap – and adding a ubiquitous payment tool to that mix is going to drive yet more usage of both non-RCS messaging and carrier billing.

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