Saturday, May 18, 2024

    EDITOR’s BLOG 210716 The carrier billing conundrum

    Skeldon2014BWsmallAs Phonepay Plus renames itself as the Phone-paid Services Authority (PPSA – they want to called it the PSA, but its PPSA I am sure you’ll agree) it looks like the domain of its regulation is going to be set very much on ‘paid’ part of its name and less on the phone.

    According to its own Annual Market Review conducted by MobileSquared, voice revenues are in decline – perhaps terminally – and that growth, where it comes, will be from carrier billing.

    Sectors including games on social media, gambling, music and video content have experienced substantial growth. Revenues from music or video content have risen by 47% from last year as the trend for purchasing digital content to a phone bill is predicted to continue its rise.

    This move towards using carrier billing to buy things is great news – not least as it seems to be the saving grace of what we loving know as the telemedia sector.

    But there is a conundrum. The revenues from these virtual goods is hefty to be sure, but carrier billing will be up against some stiff competition from the likes of PayPal and Apple Pay and other payments tools. The more successful carrier billing becomes, the more it will attract the attentions of these other payment providers who will want to muscle in with new payment options – in the case of both Apple Pay and PayPal Now with a quicker, slicker and easier UX.

    To grow and to keep revenues growing, carrier billing has to expand its remit. It has to look to real world goods to tap into real growth and to be part of the payments tools landscape.

    Carrier billing has at its core convenience. Apple Pay with its one touch finger print ID does too. It is using carrier billing to buy things like food, drinks, tickets and other spontaneous purchases or real things.

    How to make this happen is down to the industry and to the network operators to work out how to start to persuade the powers that be that this should be allowed and to start properly marketing it to consumers.

    The fact that there is success and growth in carrier billing already is a really good sign. What needs to happen now is to press home this success and to start to make carrier billing one of the mainstream payment tools available to consumers and retailers.

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