Operators Must Step Up Direct Billing Marketing Activity

POSTED BY Windsor Holden
I am, you may have noticed from blogs past, rather an evangelist for carrier billing. It offers benefits to stakeholders across the value chain: operators, merchants, storefronts, consumers. It enables the monetisation of unbanked and underbanked consumers. It allows for the monetisation of content beyond the mobile handset – on tablets, connected TVs, laptops, desktops and games consoles. It results in markedly higher conversion rates than credit card billing. But – and this is quite important – these only apply if the consumers know that it exists, what it is, and that they can pay for Goat Simulator with it.

A panel at yesterday’s mPayments Summit in London demonstrated that we still have some way to go on this front. Both operator representatives on the panel – Sharan Rattan from Three and Naomi Maggs from EE – were candid about their respective companies’ historic failure to promote carrier billing as a payment option.

Indeed, while Three is at least now texting its customers to inform them that they can bill content in this way, EE’s marketing effort has thus far been limited to putting up a webpage that – should consumers happen upon it – will give them a few use cases and will tell them how it might appear on their bill.

Now, while the operators are not the content salesmen in all this (that concept pretty much went west with the advent of the app stores) one of the reasons for their offering carrier billing in the first instance is that it has the potential to make them rather a lot of money – far, far more than they were making under the old portal system.

Hence, one might expect a little more proactivity from the operators if they want to increase carrier billing’s share of content billing, which is currently dwarfed by credit and debit card purchases. In our recent research on the topic, we estimated that the global opportunity for operators from carrier billed revenues is likely to approach $5 billion by 2019.

However, to achieve this level of income requires the operators to play their part.

In short, to get marketing.