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MEET THE PEOPLE Jacqui Jones, CEO, Worldplay

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Jacqui Jones, CEO, Worldplay, a South African DCB aggregation company, discusses the opportunities to be found in the developing markets of Africa and the Middle East for DCB and more

Which countries or regions do you feel represent the greatest opportunity for telemedia services?

Territories like Ivory Coast and Kenya where mobile payments are very popular present great opportunities for DCB growth along with countries like Egypt and Morocco which also appear to be gaining traction.

I believe that the pandemic has accelerated digital transformation in many African regions with financial inclusion being key, in this regard DCB does wonders.  For the more inventive, key regions in the Middle East such as Qatar or Bahrain are looking incredibly exciting. Then for something a little closer to home… I am seeing a shift by the South African Mobile Network Operators in that they are focusing on providing real value-added services to their customer base and are seeking out more premium content services to offer via DCB and other mobile payment methods, as opposed to the traditional mainstream mobile content services.

Which content and/or applications do you see being the most likely to benefit from telemedia billing and/or marketing technologies?

Certainly, post pandemic we have seen explosive opportunities in the educational, communication and health sectors.

Do you think that Direct Carrier Billing can become mainstream and in which markets?

In South Africa direct carrier billing is rather expensive, so unless something changes in this regard, DCB has its limits.

What are the key drivers and inhibitors for growth?

Drivers: Financial inclusion.

Inhibitors: The cost of DCB, the lack of understanding of the DCB model as well as the risk of fraudulent behaviour within the market.

Do you see affiliate marketing being a primary, trusted channel for telemedia propositions or do you think alternative routes to market will become more popular?

I am already seeing that Google appears to be a more trusted source for traffic, with many of my clients moving away from the affiliate models to limit their risk.

Your words of wisdom: On a more personal level, what is the most inspiring piece of advice that has seen you through a life in business to this day and who gave that advice to you?

“Paddle one’s own canoe” is always a quote that resonated with me on a personal level. Then from a business perspective, “When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know, but if you listen, you may learn something new.” along with “There’s something wrong with your character if opportunity controls your loyalty.”

What have been the most significant affects of Covid19 on the market and have you taken any “positives” from such a challenging set of circumstances? 

As mentioned previously, I think that the impact of the pandemic has accelerated digital transformation, I love what I am seeing coming out of the E-learning space, access to quality education is key and these services can do great things to close the educational divide, especially in developing nations.

In the next 12 months what key technical developments or innovations do you feel will have the most positive impact on mCommerce (VAS / mobile payments / marketing)?

The pandemic pushed technology forward and forced customers online, it has also encouraged technical innovation and with that job opportunities within the sector as well as enhancing the level of content being produced.

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