Carrier billing for content services is doomed in advanced markets because of fundamental conflicts of interest, and standalone payment specialists are best placed to handle charging. That’s the view from mobile content entrepreneur Simon Buckingham, speaking to Telecoms.com. His latest venture ‘Appitalism’ seeks to combine social networking and the application store model.
The gist of Buckingham’s argument is that if CSPs even bother to expose their billing systems to third parties the potential revenues will be dwarfed by their core bus9ness and, therefore, will give less attention to it. If content providers are dependent on carriers to provide billing services for their products, Buckingham said, they will always have to take second place to the CSP’s own plans and promotions.
This is mainly because CSPs need to approve each campaign mainly to ensure it does not compete with their own offerings. He did concede, however, that carrier billing will remain essential in emerging markets where bank and credit card accounts are scarce and mobile operators play a crucial role in bringing digital transactions to consumers. Operators from all markets view their billing relationships with their customers as a vital means to maintaining their relevance in a shifting mobile value chain.
However, if other content providers have the same perception as Buckingham it does not bode well for CSPs that believe they have something that the market wants.
I’m wondering if others share his sentiments?