QuirksBlog - Payments

Part of Mobile.

Operator billing, continued

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Two factual errors, one serious critique and a bunch of new facts and figures about operator billing.

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Operator billing

Permalink | in Payments

One of the major changes 2011 is going to bring is the start of operator billing on the web. It will provide a user-friendly way of making mobile (and web) payments without those silly credit cards that are preventing the majority of the world to participate.

Operator billing is nothing new. Premium SMS (see for instance Verizon’s FAQ) , where the user pays something extra to receive news items or ringtones, or vote in a TV show, has existed for ages. The price is automatically charged to your operator account.

The most advanced country on earth when it comes to mobile payments is Kenya. About 50% of the population handles about 20% of GDP by mobile phones these days. The social consequences are profound, and operator Safaricom became the biggest bank in East Africa in the process.

Update: I finally found a good description of the system.

Banks and credit card companies of the world, be very afraid. The operators will come to take your business away.

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Mobile payments made easy

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8 comments (closed)

This is just in: Google seems to be taking steps to allow operator billing. If that’s true it’s huge news.

Note from the outset that the article doesn’t say in so many words that operator billing is coming, although it certainly gives that impression, and plenty of publications translate it as such.

The basic idea of operator billing is very simple: if you want to buy an app, or access to online content, the price is automatically added to your operator bill (or, I assume, deducted from your pre-paid account).

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This is the blog of Peter-Paul Koch, web developer, consultant, and trainer. You can also follow him on Twitter or Mastodon.
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