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MEF Advisor Ross Flynn shares an overview of a panel from MEF CONNECTS Digital Transformation where he led an expert panel discussion on the lessons learned from successful direct carrier billing (DCB) case studies, and what the industry can do to take such examples forward.

They say no man is an island, and if there one thing that MEF has proven to me is that the same is true of companies. By bringing players together from all sides of the telecoms industry far and wide, MEF is constantly trying to remind us just how interconnected our businesses really are.

Truly no one operates in an isolated bubble.

It’s hard to find a better example of this than the final panel at the MEF Connects Digital Transformation 2022 event. The final day was all about payments and when you have a day with such a wide variety of topics, covering everything from Mobile Subscription Bundling to NFTs, it can be difficult to know how to cap everything off.

This was done in typical MEF fashion by having a panel of diverse speakers from far reaching sides of the Direct Carrier Billing ecosystem. As one of the speakers, Kevin Dawson (Group CEO – PM Connect) put it: “Informative and lively session, that collated a diverse representation from multiple and experienced parts across the value chain. With examples of learnings as well as successes, the panel gave varied and practical insights to benefit the wider DCB eco-system in the evolution to a more rewarding and sustainable future.’.

Louise Ford from Empello led us off with a great presentation that showed the forecast for DCB to overall be sunny with consumer adoption on the rise. While there is clearly an opportunity in DCB, with opportunity also comes challenges.

As another speaker from the panel, Toby Padgham (Co-founder & Director – MCP Insight) said in retrospect, “DCB offers huge growth potential, but revenues need to be grown sustainably and we have witnessed boom and bust in certain countries where an appropriate structure that balances revenue drivers and customer care is not in place. Industry needs to take the lead to self-regulate and not be susceptible to potentially heavy-handed regulation because Industry failed to learn its lessons.”

Our title, ‘Lessons Learned’ implies this underlying sense of realism that ran throughout the discussion.

Another one of our speakers, Anzelle Robertson (Business Development Director Africa – Sam Media), boiled down the pros of utilizing DCB nicely when she summarised: “The DCB opportunity holds great potential for digital content merchants and network operators alike. With targeted, data-driven marketing strategies content providers can reach millions of mobile users (especially those without credit card facilities) while carriers can showcase next-generation entertainment services as part of their digital portfolio.

Offering DCB as a payment option alongside mobile wallets and credit cards not only provides the consumer with a convenient and trustworthy payment alternative, but also helps cement the role of DCB in the payment ecosystem as a whole.”

An important lesson from the panel is one that is often overlooked. Those of us in the telecoms industry get so fixated on how to improve DCB that we forget the most important step: consumer awareness. If the customer is unaware this is an option, then what’s the point of having this payment system? One of this panel’s speakers Amelia Newsome-Davis (Director Payment, Messaging & Identity – Orange France) emphasises this: “Drive business development by exploring new verticals. Promote carrier billing as much as you can and using all available media to ensure that your end customers know how it works. Protect your customers from fraud and operate a generous refund policy.”.

One of the final and most important lessons from the panel is that collaboration across the industry is key. “It was great to see such enthusiasm for a growth agenda for Direct Carrier Billing from across the entire ecosystem in this panel. I’m confident that with this level of support we’ll see carrier billing move increasing into mainstream mobile commerce and achieve new levels of success.” (Louise Ford, Managing Director – Empello).

Indeed, with so much enthusiasm currently, now is time to strike for close cooperation and what better way to do this than through the MEF organisation!

Ross Flynn

Advisor, MEF

  

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