5 Key Takeaways from the Global Carrier Billing Summit 2021

28 September 2021
Carrier Billing

This year we attended Global Carrier Billing Summit both online 20th and 21st September and in London ExCeL 22nd and 23rd September.

Mobile operators, aggregators, digital merchants, content providers and technology providers from across the globe were brought together once again and here are our key takeaways from the event:

1. New Verticals Are Emerging

In his analyst intro, Guillermo Escofet, Principal Analyst: Digital Consumer Platforms at Omdia highlighted growth opportunities for carrier billing in new bundling models, emerging physical goods and services, and new mobile media opportunities.

We may see more carrier billing for physical goods with emerging services such as vending machines and bike rentals in Europe. There are also new mobile media opportunities with subscription and cloud gaming, live sports streaming, epublishing and health and fitness.

Video bundling carrier integration with TV platforms is also growing. There was a 34% increase in bundled OTT services into carriers’ TV platforms between 2019 and Q1 2021.

Growth in carrier billing continues to be driven by the leading app stores, gaming and streaming entertainment and a wave of new users have discovered the convenient payment option during the pandemic.

2. Esports is an Untapped Opportunity

Newzoo predicts the global audience for esports will pass 700 million in 2021 and esports and game streaming will reach $3.5 billion by 2025 according to Juniper Research.

5G is transformational for three services – cloud gaming, live sports streaming and esports , however bundling is dominating 5G tariffs and 60% of services offered are still subscription video on demand and music.

3. Payment Ecosystems Are Evolving

Mobile operators can invest in the creation of new digital ecosystems and choose a proactive approach when it comes to playing a more active role in the increasingly digital lives of their customers. These ecosystems can include digital and physical merchants, loyalty schemes and a range of payment options.

Mobile operators aren’t simply another payment player, they have access to customers’ identity, bank accounts and mobile phones. The mobile payment market is worth around $12K billion and mobile operators are better positioned than FinTechs to become payment and financial experts.

Regulatory changes may mean app stores like Apple and Google will have to allow third party billing in all apps. When it comes to carrier billing these app stores currently have 60% market share so a decline in app store revenue could have a significant impact.

However, we could see more app publishers taking advantage of carrier billing and adding it as a checkout choice for customers after they are diverted to the publisher’s online payment options.

4. There’s Potential for Physical Goods

There is a need for regulatory framework, for example in regions such as the UK, to make carrier billing for physical goods work. In countries such as Japan and South Korea carrier billing is widely used and available for high value physical goods – their regulatory framework and high postpaid market makes this possible.

There are still untapped opportunities in parking, ticketing and transport and these could be a stepping stone towards carrier billing for physical goods. According to a PSA study the carrier billing market is worth around £600 million in the UK. To put that into perspective yearly bus tickets amount to around £3 billion and parking £1 billion – so the potential is evident.

The market potential for physical goods is 4 to 5 times the size of the digital content market. However new verticals and physical goods should not be relied upon for carrier billing growth, when there is a huge volume of digital goods and services still not captured by this payment method.

5. Fighting Fraud is Key

The fight against fraud is a crucial battleground and those who invest in cybersecurity will define the future of mobile payments. Fraud is not a reflection on digital service providers or mobile operators and should by no means discourage either from trying to grow traffic.

For brand safety, mobile operators and merchants need to ensure they are not funding practices and content that are not in line with their brand and culture. Fraud is not fatal and being armed with the right solution can keep fraudsters at bay, increase revenue and ensure brand reputation remains intact.

To drive awareness of carrier billing consumers need to be paying for the goods and services that they want to purchase – their first experience should not be seeing something unexpected on their phone bill. The beginning of the customer journey is hugely important – customers cannot be misled or experience bill shock. It all starts with marketing and an investment in cybersecurity is vital.

By tackling fraud real customers can be acquired that will stay long term. Ultimately the end goal is not only to fight fraud but to increase revenue, and by making carrier billing the most secure payment method it has the potential to become a world leading payment method.


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