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    EDITORIAL Telemedia 8.1 – bringing the world together in VAS and DCB harmony

    With Mobile World Congress 2023 (MWC 23) winding down after a frenetic week in Barcelona, it is time to reflect on what we learned. Telemedia 8.1LIVE’s event kicked things off in style, bringing together the VAS players, operators, billers and content companies to work through how to continue to grow the sector. 500+ people made sure that happened.

    SEE NEXT WEEK’S NEWSLETTER FOR ALL THE VIDEOS AND MORE FROM TELEMEDIA 8.1LIVE

    Time to rethink pricing?

    An interesting theme emerged at Telemedia 8.1LIVE – one probably not being echoed in the enormous Mobile World Congress exhibition halls – is increasing vocalisation that, as content and VAS services explode worldwide, operators now must reduce the hefty cut they take from these sales.

    In fact, Jacqui Jones from Worldplay, went even further and called for everyone in the VAS value chain to re-evaluate the cut they take. The problem is that, as these services grow in lower income markets, they are becoming economically unviable at current takes. The argument is that there is going to be so much traffic and content sales in these regions – there are some 1 billion-plus consumers in sub-Saharan Africa alone, for example – that there is plenty of money to be made, even at lower price points and with lower cuts.

    Talking to people across the event, this theme is gathering momentum. The telemedia industry players certainly get it and now are looking to operators to do the same.

    Payments boom

    This surge in interest in selling mobile content and services in the Middle East and Africa is not only bringing about some interesting partnerships in the region, but is also giving payments a boost – including carrier billing.

    With many consumers across these developing regions being unbanked, the use of DCB is essential for allowing users to buy and even subscribe to services. In fact, in some quarters, DCB – which is nearly 40 years old – is seen as a revolutionary and emerging technology and is attracting a lot of hype in these markets.

    Talking to delegates and exhibitors at 8.1 revealed that there are plenty of companies out there using DCB for innovative ways to of getting unbanked consumers locked into the content world. Forest Interactive, for instance, is using it to allow users to buy digital vouchers for using subs services and games.

    Closer to home, payment companies such as Dynamic Mobile Billing are shifting their approach to billing, offering as many payment mechanics as possible, with a particular emphasis on growing use of Open Banking, as provided by the likes of Nuapay.

    Technology takes off

    Another theme that emerged from the show is that of technology. Mentioning no names, but at least four companies whispered that they had used ChatGPT to create marketing content for the show, was the tip of an iceberg that is set to revolutionise the telemedia market. Over at Mobile World Congress, 5G is really gainuing momentum, with many announcements of 5G advances across everything from inner city traffic control to how comms service provider are now developing new services that can run on the tech.

    Back at Telemedia 8.1LIVE, Sam Media outlined the on-going development of its Holozonia platform, which delivers the metaverse to mobile phones. Seizing on the idea that the metaverse is going to be huge, but not if it relies on expensive VR headsets, Sam Media has created a ‘flat’ version that works in smartphones, tablets and computers that offers all the richness and all the great functionality of the metaverse – and is just as immersive – but in a much more accessible way.

    Already piloting some services, Sam Media is set to roll out more in the coming months – although we are sworn to secrecy as to what – the move offers the potential to launch telemedia services into a whole new and immersive direction.

    And the timing couldn’t be better. While developing markets across MENA roll out the kinds of services that have already become popular in developed markets, the developed markets themselves now have the platforms to leap to the next level of tech-delivered, immersive content services.

    In turn, these will need content creators and billers and, when all plugged into together, will see telemedia grow even further.

    This is the genius of Telemedia 8.1. Leveraging 5G, the metaverse, billing and content aggregation, the whole world gets high quality, entertaining content – and we get a show that is packed full of interesting people and ideas without having to walk miles of aisles at Mobile World Congress.

    SEE NEXT WEEK’S NEWSLETTER FOR ALL THE VIDEOS AND MORE FROM TELEMEDIA 8.1LIVE

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