Rob Weisz, CEO of carrier billing, messaging and engagement specialist Fonix, comes from an entrepreneurial background, being one of the founding team of his previous business, Mobile Interactive Group (MIG) which topped the Tech Track 100 in 2008 before it was bought for £37m in 2011. Weisz has almost 20 years’ experience overseeing some of the largest interactive mobile payment and messaging campaigns.
Weisz has extensive experience and authority within the industry, acting as Vice Chairman of the Association of Interactive Media & Micropayments (aimm) and also sitting on the Industry Liaison Panel with the PSA. His knowledge and passion for technology has been the backbone of Fonix’s success.
Who are you and what is your current role?
My name is Rob Weisz and I’m the CEO of Fonix
Which countries or regions do you feel represent the greatest opportunity for telemedia services?
We’ve had great success with carrier billing in the UK where we are based and we still see huge opportunities in this market as paid for digital services and utilities continue to grow in everyone’s daily lives.
In terms of international expansion, we are imminently launching in a number of markets in 2020 as our client demands are taking us into new markets.
For us, it’s not about regions or countries as mobile penetration is now global. For Fonix we look to power our clients in markets where there’s a good environment of commercial returns, regulatory stability and a good spend profile of mobile users.
Which content and/or applications do you see being the most likely to benefit from telemedia billing and/or marketing technologies?
I believe the Carrier Billing market will develop to become more widely accepted by more brands in the digital payments space. We’re breaking into multi-billion pound markets in utilities, ticketing and entertainment – these are new markets that will change the landscape for the whole market.
Fonix’s strength is in its focus. We deliver a set of products in key markets and focus on delivering them extremely well. This is demonstrated through the range of high profile clients we work with.
Do you think that Direct Carrier Billing can become mainstream and in which markets?
Mobile payments have evolved significantly over the years and are now more widely accepted – so in many ways it’s well and truly available in the ‘mainstream’ with the likes of Apple, Google, Spotify, Amazon and Microsoft all adopting it.
One of the best things about mobile carrier billing is that it doesn’t require credit card details, or any personal information. Instead, users are securely identified by the mobile network in milli-seconds.
What are the key drivers and inhibitors for growth and how are you managing this?
The direct carrier billing market is now maturing since its rapid growth driven by the major app store merchants who are household names. The opportunity is for the local major digital brands to embrace it for the next phase of growth as all markets in many industries need to find a competitive edge on payments and conversions.
As the carrier billing and messaging markets continue to mature and Fonix grows, Fonix’s mantra is to create the right balance of technical innovation and resilience, delivering through a process but being agile enough to provide flexibility for new customers.
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?
The rise of ecommerce naturally means more people are prepared to buy online and often. Affiliates will always target consumers but the extra noise means they are going to have to be much more focused in the ads they are serving up in order to get results. What’s more, there’s lots to think about when it comes to regulation and GDPR. With this is mind there’s absolutely room for alternative routes to market…
What are they likely to be?
For example, if you think about live sport; payments can be integrated within social media platforms, in ads where the audience is discussing the live action. There is enormous opportunity for live streaming services to adopt slick payment models to provide an efficient service that will encourage viewers to follow through on their impulsive decisions.
How likely is it that crypto currencies will become popular telemedia/mobile payment mechanisms for premium content, services and applications?
Crypto currencies have dipped out of sight since their initial boom in interest. Facebook is exploring bringing it to public attention by introducing their own crypto currency. I think that if crypto currencies ever fully take off and become mainstream, then carrier billing would work well for a pure play digital payment – from product to payment to currency. I think it’s possible. However, I do believe we are a few years off that, and many more years of processes and compliance until the structure can accommodate for the integration of crypto currencies.