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EDITOR’S BLOG 08-10-15 I poked a bear (and I liked it…)

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Hello and Happy Thursday! The past few weeks we have been very focussed on the issues that the telemedia community has been having with the network operators and the issues said operators have been having with PRS services. I won’t bore you with a rehash, just follow the links in the last sentence. Suffice to say I have poked the bear, to use the modern business idiom, and the bear has awoken.

Well, the MNO ‘bear’ has opened one eye and grunted. But that’s enough. While the 120 day rule, the changes to Payforit’s opt in and the move to put a load of PSMS services on to said Payforit mechanic have caused uproar, with the industry – rightly – complaining that it is a blanket approach to a few single problems and it could cause the death of the industry.

However, my gentle poking has finally paid off. While comments to balance last week’s missive from me weren’t forthcoming from the MNOs at the time, having a rant seems to have yielded results… The bear is awake.

So does the growling bear have much to growl about? Well here’s the MNOs’ side of the story: PRS is a small part of their revenue stream, yet the number of complaints they get about PRS is relatively enormous. And complaints equate to brand damage (real or imagined).

While I stand by what I said last week about the MNOs having to rise to the challenge of making things work better, so does the telemedia industry. It is questionable as to whether a blanket turning off of PRS – the ultimate sanction if things go unchanged – is fair or not, it is a possibility. What has happened so far is ill-considered and a bit of a knee jerk, but the message behind it from the MNOs is clear: stop it or we are taking the ball away.

We are where we are and so this situation needs to be dealt with – and that means by both sides here. What the industry needs to do now is join the MNOs in rising to the challenge. There are some rogue elements out there in some sectors spoiling it for everyone and they need to be stamped out. That requires MNOs to not just turn it all off for everyone, but to look at where the pain points are and excise those.

The industry, meanwhile, has to also rub out these services. The industry also has to work harder to bring in more leading brands with great services that make charge to mobile the key payment tool it deserves to be.

Only working together – and understanding each other’s issues with this – is going to work. I suspect that its easier said than done and much easier for the L2s and the telemedia value chain to ‘understand’ the MNOs – they have to obey their rules afterall – but there are signs that the MNOs are re-addressing these issues. It will be interesting to see what the bear does next…

A good place to start that dialogue will be here at the EE Golf Day for Great Ormond Street Hospital… sign up, have fun, help ill kids and poke a bear.

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