Mobile content billing, also known as direct operator billing or carrier billing, does not always capture the imagination like NFC-enabled mobile payments, but financially underserved consumers in both emerging and developed markets continue to rely on it to buy digital content. That trend will continue and has the potential to generate significant revenue. Direct carrier billing will provide telecoms worldwide with more than $12 billion in revenue in 2022, according to one prediction from research firm Analysys Mason.
Juniper Research quoted by Mobilepaymentstoday.com believes in Europe alone the value of digital content billed via direct operator billing will reach more than 5.2 billion euros (US$7.1 billion) in 2017. Technology has changed the face of direct operator billing since the days of consumers buying ringtones for their feature phones.
Consumers at one time completed such transactions through premium SMS. That method is still applicable in some cases today, but gaming consoles and smart devices brought a simple one-click experience to direct operator billing that consumers are more eager to use.
App stores are just one example of how technology has changed this corner of the payments market. App stores for Blackberry, Firefox, Google, Microsoft and Mozilla all support direct carrier billing. The most glaring omission from that list is Apple, especially when you consider the iPhone provider’s rise in emerging markets where consumers shy away from traditional payment cards and fall into the underbanked or unbanked population.
Credit cards and debit cards have their limitation, and operator billing has a much broader reach, broader penetration. Direct operator billing in the last few years has moved beyond digital content and is encroaching on the physical world in a few ways. Direct operator billing for parking is already in use in several countries, including the United States. Another area where direct carrier billing is merging with the physical world is event tickets.
Technology has changed direct carrier billing to where it is a game-winning basket for consumers.
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