With World Telemedia Marbella just days away (9 -10 October), things are gearing up for some interesting discussions at the show. Last week’s Carrier Billing Summit in Amsterdam set the scene, with MNOs queuing up to reflect on how DCB has gone from a niche payment tool to a real contender among the virtual tools in all those virtual wallets.
The thrust of many of the sessions revolved around how pay-outs are now better than ever – Orange France, for instance, claiming that the majority are 90 to 95% – and usage is skyrocketing as mainstream media and content companies start to add it as a quick and easy onboarding payment tool.
But all assembled agreed that, while a growing number of companies around the world are turning on to DCB, there still remains a huge lack of knowledge about it among both businesses and consumers.
The answer may lie in Germany, where the operators there have efficiently worked together to create a brand for carrier billing – replete with logo – so that it can start to appear in the appropriate places alongside the Apple Pay and Google Pay logos, the PayPal logo and even Klarna. The operators are also offering give aways and money off to get people using it – and there is a nation-wide billboard campaign.
This approach is one that all operators need to adopt. For 20, 30 years carrier billing has been an also ran. Now it has the chance to be a main player – it can now start to be used for all those 21st Century quasi-physical things such as parking, public transport ticketing, EV charging and car and bike short-term rental. With plans to possibly lift the €50 ceiling on payments when PSD3 comes into play, this market could explode.
What is more interesting is how it ties up with the other great theme of World Telemedia, messaging. There has been a surge in SMS use for A2P and that looks like carrying over into greater use of RCS, WhatsApp, social media messaging and more. With corporates using these channels for customer service and marketing, there is increasing pressure to tie-in carrier billing to create that perfect mix of message and payments.
Add in how content providers are also looking at how to drive traffic and monetise their interactions and you have the makings of something really interesting.
I don’t want to bandy the idea of super-apps about too much, but the confluence of all these technologies has the makings of creating something along these lines for someone.
Interestingly, at the Carrier Billing Summit, Telefonica Germany suggested that the future of DCB may lie in opening up its APIs to developers. This has the potential to really make this payment tech – and the messaging market – fly higher than ever. With all due respect to operators, they aren’t necessarily the ones with the big and out there ideas of how to create new services and applications. Developers, however, can – and given access to the tools that sit behind DCB, there could be some interesting new applications about to be sprung on the world. Let’s meet up in Marbella and talk about it.