30 percent of the operators at the recent ETIS Billing and Revenue Management meeting are offering some form of Direct Operator Billing (DOB). While this clearly means that 70 percent are not, this is because the circumstances of their markets were not conducive to launching DOB or because they were still in the ‘thinking’ stage.
DOB is certainly one of those solutions that will be more successful in some markets than others. In countries with a large penetration of credit and/or debit cards, it may not do so well. In regions such as Latin America the signs are already there that it will be huge. And a huge opportunity for operators.
While all the signs are pretty positive as to its success and take up – Telefonica Digital’s BlueVia offering has seen revenues from purchases up by 300 percent – there are the usual caveats. One is fraud, another that the Regulator might impose stringent financial services type regulations on telecoms operators – in some cases he is already trying.
One of the outcomes of the discussion was our old friend BillShock. Obviously if customers start putting expensive items on communications bills, the result is going to be a large bill. But, as one attendee from a Very Large Operator pointed out, it is completely different from ‘data’. If you buy a new sofa, you know you bought a new sofa, so when said new sofa arrives on the bill under the heading ‘new sofa’ or ‘soft furnishings’ it actually should not be a shock.
Unlike data, which is so undefined.