June proved to be a crazy month for direct carrier billing (DCB), with games companies, telcos and Google Play stores round the world signing up with telemedia companies to provide the billing option to clients – and with great results.
Before we get to how Epic Games, DAZN, Claro Peru, Viettel and Airtel Tanzania – among others – have leveraged DCB around their subscriptions services, stores and Google Play, an interesting marketing push in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) with Bango has shown just how effective DCB can be.
UAE-based carrier du teamed up with Bango to target-market DCB at customers that its data showed had used it before or were likely to use it. The offer was to use DCB to pay for OTT services from the Google Play store.
And they saw a 20% uptake, with a fifth of those targeted immediately using DCB at least once to buy. More crucially, this 20% signed up to DCB based on the message.
This shows that getting the message right to consumers about the power of DCB – its ease of use, the growing variety of places it can be used and the spend limits built it to protect customers as much as merchants – gets results.
Getting the message
This is a message, if you’ll pardon the pun, that MNOs worldwide need to heed. DCB’s time is very much now. As we have stressed – and seen backed up by increasing amounts of data – consumers are hungrier than ever to use their mobiles and they want a quick and easy way to pay: especially for entertainment, games, gambling, streaming and more.
Carrier billing fills that gap. As a mechanism for a quick fix, a try-out or a one-off it is second to none as it is so simple. But it needn’t be just an on-boarder. As the likes of Google Play and Epic games are realising, it is increasingly a tool for regular payments, without having to subscribe.
Launching in Spain, the service is tapping into the fact that, worldwide Carrier billing is estimated to account for 14% of all digital gaming transactions in Western Europe. This makes it the third most popular payment method for gaming in the region after credit cards and digital wallets.
The service will be used to pay for in-game content, third-party content and game development tools and its two-stage payment process makes it ideal for these fast, one-off digital hits.
Claro Peru in Peru, meanwhile, is also working with DOMOCO to bring carrier billing to bear for digital purchases in the Samsung Galaxy store.
Google Play taps into DCB
Similarly, Google Play continues to roll out carrier billing around the world. While we have already seen over the past couple of years DCB being offered to Google Play users in Chile, Ghana, Nigeria,Bahrain, Kuwait, India and South Africa – to name but a few – across May and June, we have also seen it added to Google Play in Malaysia and Tanzania.
Of course, this is with select carriers in each of these countries – displaying how having a DCB option with such mainstream sites as Google Play and other games stores is becoming a competitive advantage – these services are increasingly cementing the role of DCB in digital entertainment.
And it is slowly moving into mainstream European markets – only held back by the lack of a clear message from MNOs.
Getting this message out there – from MNOs to their customers – is now the key to driving DCB from cult classic to mainstream service. Consumers want it and many, many more would use it… if they knew it was there.
The days of carrier billing being tarnished by premium rate are gone, the market is now an audience who doesn’t remember any of that. Now is the time to start pushing this. So come on operators, let’s get to work.