As the saying goes, “if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail”. Because billing for new products can be so difficult, we tend to use whatever tools are available to get the job done.
At a recent industry conference, a speaker used the term “content apathy”; she was referring to the lack of exciting new content products that we can all use our fancy mobile handsets to access. Again, the barrier in many cases is the complexity of billing and integration of these products.
This is how I feel when it comes to Premium SMS. This simple “hammer” has led a surge in the content products available – those damned ringtones, competition lines, subscriptions for content, but they have their problems.
The biggest one (from a billing perspective) is where the money goes. The problem is that only two companies make any reasonable money from Premium SMS – Telstra and the content provider (CP), and the CP comes out a poor second. Because of the fraud and collection issues, Telstra take a huge slice because they are ultimately responsible for collections. All this means that prices for some things are way too high, and that there is no margin left for my favourite market sector, the MVNO.
Well, as the other saying goes, “don’t get mad; get even”. I for one am going to do something about it. Check out this article, which talks about the direct billing model. Now this is the right tool for the job!