5 weird and wonderful things purchased using carrier billing

5 More Weird and Wonderful Things That Could Be Purchased With Carrier Billing

3 December 2021
Carrier Billing

The Evolution of Carrier Billing

Carrier billing is a lucrative industry. Far removed from the days of being recognised for simply downloading ringtones to your mobile phone and billing to your phone bill. Statista reported that in 2021, “global end user carrier billing spend on content and commerce was approximately 41.63 billion U.S. dollars, with 17.26 billion U.S. dollars worth of spending coming from the Far East and China.”

Back in December 2019, we took a look at 5 Weird and Wonderful Things Purchased Using Carrier Billing and discovered plenty of unusual buys such as Angry Birds toys, egg incubators, lucky eggs and Pokecoins – as well as more ‘usual’ purchases like vending machine items.

Direct carrier billing is widely used on a global scale, not only in emerging markets (where the benefits of appealing to a population who are underbanked are apparent) ­– but plenty of success has been achieved across markets such as the Middle East and Europe, as opportunities arise across areas such as telehealth, VOD and mobile gaming.

Two years on, we’re taking a look at new or upcoming goods or services that could be bought with carrier billing. You could say that direct carrier billing purchases are simply becoming less ‘weird’. And more ‘wonderful’.

  1. Subscriptions – carrier billing is a great payment method for purchases that are automatic and reoccurring – such as monthly subscriptions in VOD (like Netflix & Disney+) and music subscriptions (including Spotify and Deezer). We are also seeing an explosion of new subscription services emerging in the areas of cloud gaming, esports and elearning – so who knows what’s next? One thing’s for sure, carrier billing will offer a seamless way to pay.
  1. Gaming Tokenization and Crypto Currency – Crypto is taking the world by storm. App Annie suggests that Gen Z will be spending more time on Fintech Apps – set for “155% Growth from 2020 to 18.9 billion sessions in 2022”, while globally in Q3 2021, the top 5 Crypto apps combined drove 46M downloads. Carrier billing one-time purchases often remain locked in a virtual world. Moving into 2022, there is a focus (and a multi-billion dollar opportunity) to move towards making these virtual purchases liquid assets – “buying crypto or games tokens on a phone account shouldn’t really be any different from any other purchase that has been transacted that way over the last two decades.”    
  1. Public Transport – By 2023, mobile ticketing users are expected to grow to 1.9 billion. In South Korea and Japan in particular, carrier billing is regularly used for parking, ticketing and transport. There is untapped potential here, take 99 Taxis for example – they have doubled their total cumulative downloads “in under 2.5 years and became the #1 most downloaded ride sharing app in Brazil over the past year.”
  1. EV Charging – Something to keep on your radar for 2022 is electric vehicle charging payments. Although this may not currently be as widely purchased using carrier billing, as more and more vehicles are swapped for their electric (or at least hybrid) counterparts, EV charging is definitely set to be an area of interest for carrier billing next year, and beyond.
  1. In Vehicle Payments – Looking beyond EV charging – and even beyond fuelling – another area of growth for carrier billing in 2022 is likely to be in-vehicle payments, especially in the North America region. Juniper Research suggests that “in-vehicle payment transaction volumes will exceed 4.7 billion by 2026, up from just 87 million in 2021” – this includes “coffee shop and fast food pick-up payments via the vehicle dashboard; using existing infrastructure in developed regions” – as long as vendors enable opportunities in voice commerce.

Carrier Billing Purchases in 2022 and Beyond

In 2022, the growth of mobile is set to keep on growing. App Annie suggests that “Gen Z — and the world — increasingly embrace mobile and look towards apps with customized features that fit their needs from the device they always have on them: their smartphones.”

Consumers will continue to rely on their smartphones for all aspects of life – to conveniently manage and pay for services that they rely on, including subscriptions, wellbeing and entertainment.

New customers and revenue await. Get ahead for the new year and contact SLA Digital today to find out how we can help you explore carrier billing.


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