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Mobile Content Payment Creates New Revenue Source

Among the key assets of a mobile telecommunications service provider are its network infrastructure and its billing relationship with their customers. While its role as a retailer of content has declined, Direct Carrier Billing (DCB) offers a new revenue stream.

Even though it will not provide a wholescale solution to the underlying profitable revenue challenges of mobile network operators, it may eventually equal or exceed MNO content revenue pre-storefront.

According to the latest market study by Juniper Research, DCB could benefit players across the value chain -- including content developers, content publishers, aggregators, and consumers. This includes increasing the incremental revenue opportunities for the providers of both digital and physical goods.

Mobile Content Payment Market Development

Juniper Research has found that total spend over direct carrier billing will reach $100 billion for the first time by 2025 -- that's rising from $37 billion in 2020.

They anticipate that the increasing shift to subscription-based models for digital services, such as games, video streaming and music, will be key to realizing a growth rate of 172 percent over the next 5 years.

The new study authors argued that the convenience of combining monthly content subscription costs into a user’s monthly mobile phone service charges will be a growth driver for carrier billing.


The analyst recommends that carrier billing vendors should focus on expanding their partnerships with digital service providers -- enabling consumers to pay via carrier billing, capitalizing on the growing trend of monetization via subscription.

"We identified digital gaming subscription services as an immediate opportunity for carrier billing vendors. Partnering with services such as Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass and Google Stadia will allow operators to swiftly increase their carrier billing offering by supporting payments for highly sought after services," said Sam Barker, lead analyst at Juniper Research.

Outlook for Direct Billed Mobile Payments

While carrier billing spend on physical goods is established in the Far East, the study identified emerging opportunities for carrier billing vendors in North America.

The research highlighted high smartphone penetration and accessibility of same-day delivery services as key driving forces behind a growth to $600 billion of end-user spend on physical goods over carrier billing by 2025.

However, the research warns that vendors will need to re-evaluate their monetization models to compete with established payment methods, such as credit cards and digital wallets. To make carrier billing a more appealing payment method, the study urges these players to reduce their charge rates and align themselves with established payment methods.

I believe that more mobile service providers will seek new sources of ongoing third-party revenue to help reduce the impact of a decline in profits due to increasing competition for their basic voice and data communication services. Moreover, acceptable roaming fees are subject to change, as a result of evolving government policies across the globe.

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