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Traffic killer or carrier billing boost – are Project 30 and Project Slimline a last roll of the dice?

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Moves to relax some elements of PRS regulation and to make carrier billing more attractive to mainstream markets are being seen in some quarters as the last roll of the dice for carrier billing in the UK – but others in the industry are sure that it is the impetus needed to make these services grow.

The moves by PhonepayPlus and the network operators – the so called Project 30 from PPP and Project Slimline from the MNOs – are seeking to split services into tiers of risk and impose regulation accordingly in an attempt to reignite the failing carrier billing market in the UK.

As we report in the next issue of Telemedia Magazine, PPP is looking to grade services as Low, Standard and High Risk and apply regulation with a suitably light or hard touch depending on what the services are. Or, as Phonepay Plus puts it: “We are ‘embedding a risk based approach to regulation, allowing for greater flexibility where possible but ensuring we can assess consumer risk in an objective manner’.”

MNOs have run with this and are planning, through Project Slimline, to adopt a similar approach to services when it comes to carrier billing to make it more attractive to mainstream industries.

But many in the industry see this as a last roll of the dice for carrier billing and, while they want it to work, suspect that it might be too little too late and that the battle to use carrier billing as part of the mobile payment revolution is already lost.

There are also worries that both Project 30 and Project Slimline are a way to allow networks to drop traffic they don’t want from services such as competitions and adult, which produce disproportionately more complaints relative to revenue to that which could come from mainstream use of carrier billing.

“I am cautiously optimistic but this could be the last roll of the dice,” says Kevin Dawson, sales director at Oxygen 8. “MNOs are perhaps looking at this not to save PRS but to kill traffic like competitions that they don’t want.”

Industry body AIME is more optimistic and is working hard to get both Projects implemented in a way that helps the industry. “MNOs say that, if this is done right, then they can use PPP as a regulator with teeth to handle the high risk services and that they can step back from the hardened Payforit environment of the past year and offer a much easier to use payforit service for low risk services,” says Rory Maguire, MD of AIME. “If a consumer is logged into a service, then you could in theory just let them click pay with Payforit and do it with one click.”

Both Projects are in the consultation phase and are likely to be in place by the end of the year and, in the words of AIME’s Maguire, is “a good opportunity rather than a last roll of the dice to get it right” and if it can start to attract well known brands into using carrier billing, then things will be very positive in 2017.

Both Dawson and Maguire will be speaking at World Telemedia in Marbella on 18-20 October about this and all associated issues.

 

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