Roy Perlot is Managing Director of Global Premium Telecom (GPT) a leading voice provider of domestic premium rate services for various customers around the globe. Spun-off from Telserv in 2000, GPT serves its resellers and content providers for a wide range of services, including conferencing/helpdesks and booking lines, gaming and entertainment content, astrology and professional consultancy services and adult content. GPT enables its partners with IVR functionality and other value-added services depending on its use case to maximize their revenues.
Which countries or regions do you feel represent the greatest opportunity for telemedia services?
We believe that there is still high demand for a variety of premium rate services in countries in Eastern Europe and other developing markets like.
Payments are driven by many people still being unbanked, so paying via their carriers instantly still remains the best alternative for them. It is also a great way to capture consumers for providers of digital services, paid for content, or even as main payment mode for non-digital products.
Africa has seen a vast interest from global investors and strategic companies in the Fintech and Payments space in recent years with many success stories for DCB and other VAS services. The continent now homes1.3 billion people and has the fastest growing population in the world, with a median age of 20.
We are continuously engaged with MNOs and Payment providers to offer new solutions in these markets. Our network and local market knowledge allow us to offer the best pay-out rates and applications in this geography.
Which content and/or applications do you see being the most likely to benefit from telemedia billing and/or marketing technologies?
We still see strong demand from airlines, micropayment & wallet systems, media & content companies, helpdesks, conference systems, calling card traffic, radio & TV, entertainment.
However, the most immediate and obvious one to call out is tourism and travel. As the world comes out of lockdown, we expect that content providers focused on this sector will be able to capture additional business or simply serve their customers better through these technologies.
Providers like us, who can offer value added services such as IVRs rather than just plain phone lines, will be able to serve them best.
Do you think that Direct Carrier Billing can become mainstream and in which markets?
Think about the gaming and entertainment; there the convenience of capturing a customer right on the spot without having to put personal details or credit card verifications or online banking 2FA to purchase small products or services is growing fast in some places and our solutions can help with offering these. Again, especially in emerging markets this is likely to be a large opportunity.
What are the key drivers and inhibitors for growth of your clients?
In more mature markets: the ability to expand to other countries with a one stop shop solution. Many of our customers are relatively specialised in one or two forms of content or applications of premium rate numbers. That makes sense because it allows them to focus on what they do and know well.
However, it is often the case in Europe that they simply have not yet thought about offering the same types of products, to comparable customers in other European countries for example. GPT’s extensive and international network makes this possible instantly. Often, it is even the case that content doesn’t even need to be localised! It is all about willingness to capture low hanging fruit…
In emerging markets, the opportunities are in direct carrier billing as discussed. This of course is a more specialised and complex product, but GPT does offer the infrastructure and local market knowledge.
What do you think about margin compressions and increasing regulation in the premium rate business?
First of all, it is correct that there is a trend of operators gradually becoming more stringent, driven by regulatory pressures such as maximum tariffs or changes in compliance requirements. This means that only players such as GPT, that have a first of all a deep understanding of local regulations, and second, long-standing, well trusted relationships with operators, can continue to offer premium rate services effectively. We see this in our client base: many have been with us for years and are shifting over more and more of their PRS needs to us from other PRS suppliers.
Second, added value is everything. Why offer only a premium line to your end client if you can also provide services like a tailored IVR? We really think that is where the market will move and hence have worked hard over the last few years to be able to offer that.
How likely is it that crypto currencies will become popular telemedia/mobile payment mechanisms for premium content, services and applications?
Crypto currencies share some features with traditional Premium Rate Services ,but adoption rates remain low and to be seen. Also we do not expect that these will become mainstream for smaller amounts as it will still require certain authentication procedures that are slowing down a purchase. If someone needs to purchase a $5 token and they can do it with a quick call and nothing else required, vs. a 2FA process and remembering passwords etc., the decision seems clear.
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?
Age is just a number.
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?
We have seen increasing demand for our click-to-call services in the gaming space, entertainment sector as well as increasing number of companies that want to cover some of their call centre costs and translate them into revenue centres.
The pandemic has put a lot of pressure on many corporates that have suffered margin compressions but they have to remain reachable via phone, so we are offering packages including IVRs that help resellers offer these corporates ways to capture some income from its call centres by offering shared cost / premium rate tariffs.
In addition, as mentioned above we expect a strong rebound in premium rate services usage in the travel and tourism industries as operating these involves much more communication with the customer now than before COVID19.
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)?
Consumers want convenience and more and more will be both from their mobile phones than ever, with the easy of a few clicks ideally. We think that there will be more and more demand for new solutions that allow for easy purchases of products, goods and content as well both through new banking integrations and QR codes as well as the always reliable click-to-call or sms to pay for smaller amounts that don’t require further contact or address details.
You see a high success rate in those instances where people do not have to get out their credit cards and can just click a button and pay for the content that is unlockable right instantaneous.