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    EDITORIAL Mainstream content and crypto: where DCB could shine – if it overcomes the lack of joined up thinking

    Vodafone Australia has become the first operator in a first-world country to start using carrier billing in mainstream entertainment, signing up Amazon Prime, Spotify Premium and Netflix as clients to use DCB to sign up to 30-day trials.

    Working with DOCOMO Digital, Vodafone customers can conveniently sign-up for 30-day free trials and pay for these services securely as part of their mobile phone bills after the first month.

    This is the kind of mainstream services that are carrier billing’s future. No, DCB isn’t probably going to be the way that people regularly pay their subs, but it is a tool to start getting people on board, or snacking services that they would otherwise be paying for.

    We live in a world where everything is moving to a subscription model, but that isn’t for everyone. Sometimes consumers may want some access or limited access by time or content without having to pay every month for a service they won’t use. This occasional model – which is also an ideal onboarding tactic for companies offering subs – is where DCB has some real leverage.

    And now, down-under, it is coming to pass as 2019 comes to a close. This is going to be one to watch in 2020 for sure, and will be joined by many others in the months ahead.

    Another thing that we are likely to see across 2020 with carrier billing is its role in the crypto world. While Voda is working hard in Australia to prove DCB as an onboarding tool, many here in the UK see DCB’s role and the link between the world of ‘real’ money and goods and that of crypto currencies and crypto goods.

    Handling the chain from product to payment to currency is an ideal place to see DCB and, as Tony Pearce from Reality Gaming suggest, it is the ideal tool.

    The downside with this – and what still holds DCB back in any area that it needs to be deployed – is that it is actually quite hard to deploy. The principle of how it works is easy to grasp, but how to make that happen – especially across a range of geographies – is actually quite hard to do.

    While much of carrier billing’s usefulness has perhaps been held back by it reputation, today it may well be the lack of co-ordinated thinking within the industry that holds it back from mainstream up take outside of individual countries.

    Will, say Vodafone, be able to replicate what it has done down under in other countries and moreover could it do it across borders?

    This is the biggest challenge for DCB in 2020 and one that needs to be addressed now before it hobbles its own uptake.

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