Why Direct Carrier Billing

Until recently, Premium SMS has been the main way to which mobile users across the world have paid for content, like mobile games and ringtones. Although all mobile phone users could make use of this method of mobile billing it has a number of disadvantages in terms of ease of use – fluidity of the payment process and refunds.

Credit card options have become popular with stores like iTunes using this option as their preferred method and with this gaining a loyal user base, but the disadvantages to using credit card are larger than any other form of mobile billing, with the simple fact you have to pre-register (or fill out a form) on a mobile device to use credit card as a mobile billing option.

The new kid on the block, Direct Operator (or for those in North America, ‘Direct Carrier’) Billing, is here to not only have an immediate impact and offer these content stores a real alternative, but it is highly possible that this could ‘replace’, or at least have larger market share over premium and credit card options in the longer term.

For this to happen though, one important thing needs to unfold and that is the operator cut – their ‘revenue share’.

In recent years, mobile operators worldwide have historically taken a higher revenue share of the retail price for digital mobile content – they claim this is to deal with issues around bad debt, resulting from legacy mechanisms like premium SMS that partly account for this. This is slowly starting to change however, with larger brands choosing Direct Carrier Billing as their preferred billing option and with rates from 15-30% coming into play its not hard to see why.

Direct Carrier Billing Adoption

Direct Carrier Billing has become more widely adopted for in-app payments than its given credit for or maybe even thought about.

Let’s not forget here that Apple takes as much 30% from their own billing option with iTunes. Nokia with the Ovi Store uses Direct Carrier Billing as their preferred choice above credit card, as now does Mircosoft. Both having direct deals with mobile aggregators to make sure localised billing is available via their customers mobile operator.

Direct Carrier Billing Advantages

Direct Carrier billing (also known as Direct Billing) brings together the advantages of Premium SMS (being available to all mobile phone users) with the advantages of debit/credit card payment (reliable, easy audit trail, no charge backs) while also providing a low-friction purchase environment (no forms!!).

Merits of PSMS and Carrier Billing:

Premium SMS
Major Advantage
- Premium SMS Available to all mobile phone users

Major Disadvantage
- Multiple steps needed to make payments resulting in low conversion rates
- Inability to support refunds

Direct Carrier Billing
-Available to all mobile phone users
-Supports refunds and itemisation
-Secure (if properly implemented)
-Enhanced conversion rates
-Greater fraud protection

Operator Spending Caps

Direct Carrier billing provides several very important advantages over the competitors offerings, with low friction purchases being the most notable benefit from an application stores perspective (thereby increasing ‘in-app’ conversion rates), while also being accessible to customers who do not have credit or debit cards.

If mobile operators can continue to reduce their share on the transaction, the future of direct billing looks very bright indeed.

Related Posts:
6 reasons Direct Operator Billing will succeed

txtNation provides Direct Billing in multiple markets.

Why Mobile Number Portability Lookup (MNP Lookup)?

Using HLR Lookup is now more essential than ever for your mobile marketing success due to more and more customers moving mobile networks, sometimes multiple times.

- Mobile Number Portability (MNP) has been released in over 50 countries and growing.
- More than 250 million mobile numbers have already ported.
- Over 2 billion users are able to port at any time.

Whilst Mobile Number Portability benefits mobile customers – giving them the freedom to move provider, however it causes untold headaches for service providers who need to realise the mobile network in order to bill or deliver messaging services to the ‘exact’ operator.

Mobile Number Portability Lookup importance for marketing

Without a Mobile Number Portability Lookup, the service provider not be aware of the mobile network the subscriber belongs to and this can be costly!

Using HLR Lookup you can reduce costs by removing bad mobile numbers and identity those that have ported to another network and more importantly, for your overall marketing success – removing the wasted effort and costs when sending SMS messages for your campaign!

The txtNation Gateway allows our clients to find the mobile operator a mobile subscriber belongs to using our HLR Lookup API connectivity, quickly and easily.

Recent Press:
txtNation launches new HLR Lookup platform

Related Topics:
Overview of txtNation’s HLR and Mobile Number Portability Lookup (MNP Lookup)
HLR Lookup – Number Portability Lookup (Network Services – IMSI Lookup)

Bulk SMS Provider pricing

Have you noticed that when you get a quote from a Bulk SMS provider that it can fluctuate for the same country?

And that they claim to offer the lowest price available and they provide the most reliability?

Here is the reality on what is really happening behind the scenes.

Companies like txtNation are a local SMS Gateway operating ‘locally’ in all of our markets, meaning we are compliant with the local regulators and have direct connections with the mobile networks.

You also have the wrong option – connecting to an off shore SMS Gateway where you are sending from international routes, which means your message may not reach your destination! This is a very important distinction as this may result in your SMS marketing campaign’s success or failure.

Bulk SMS Provider Case Examples

Let run over a couple of examples when using a Bulk SMS Provider:

In the first option, when you send an message it goes to the Bulk SMS Gateway in say usually in under 10 seconds, with 99.9% reliability of delivery on the handset – almost instantly.

If you go via an international routing option to get a cheaper rate (and its cheaper for a reason!) your SMS message gets routed off shore, then maybe via one or two more hops and finally comes back to a local gateway, then back to the phone. This whole process can take up to 10 minutes and in most cases has a 70%-80% delivery rate, meaning a large proportion of users don’t even get the message!

Bulk SMS Providers – Why don’t users get your message?

If using off shore routes with your Bulk SMS Provider, the delivery rates will be very low due to:

– Mobile networks like O2 and Vodafone for example, consider overseas Bulk SMS a form of spam and block the messages.
– As your message is hoping all over the word, it’s more likely to get lost!

This is why we always tell our clients that you may have a cheaper source elsewhere, but check with them how they are doing this, as not sending from a local SMS gateway like txtNation, will lead you with low delivery rates, low response rates (if a two-way campaign) and paying more in the long run.

Further Reading:
See our previous post on choosing a Bulk SMS Provider.
Read more on using txtNation as your Bulk SMS Provider.

SMS Marketing Factoids

To stay ahead of the competition its all about SMS Marketing and brand awareness. With mFUSION (www.mfusion.com) (txtNation’s Mobile and SMS Marketing platform), you can ensure your mobile message is sent ‘directly’ to your target market.

• 265 million text messages sent each day
• 96.8 billion text messages were sent in 2009
• 97% of text messages are opened (83% of which are within one hour), but typically within 4 minutes
• Average click-through-rate for display advertising online is 0.11%
• Average response rate to direct mail is 2.6%
• Average response rate to SMS campaigns are 28%
• 90.4% of British mobile subscribers use their phones to send text messages
• 80% of mobile users are open to receiving opted-in SMS campaigns

Source: Mobile Data Association, Double Click, Direct Marketing Association & AOP

Further Reading:
Read more see our mFUSION site – Why SMS Marketing?

Payforit is gaining more and more traction as a mobile billing option for merchants, both on-line and on-mobile.

Payforit 4 Release

With the new release of Payforit version 4, there are many significant improvements that will help both merchants and consumers.

With it’s clear pricing and its improved ease of use there is much potential for Payforit version 4, in the UK.

Payforit 4 New Features

Several new features will be released May 15th, that include:

- Improved Payment Screens
Clean look and feel with improved design for more conversions.

- Single Click Billing
Payforit now allows for repeat user billing to be done with ease.

- Support for Payforit 4
Payforit works with regulators and merchants support in mind.

- HTML5 Payforit Payments
Payforit now offers a suitable sized payment screen for the type of browser or app.

The comparisons and debate of Premium SMS V’s Payforit will continue long into the future. At txtNation, we believe both mobile biling options will be co-exist depending on the service or application type.

Further Reading:
View our Payforit API.
Check out out page on how to connect to Payforit!


txtNation Payforit UK

From the Mobile Entertainment Forum, a new study was released based on survey results from more than 8,000 mobile consumers across 9 countries. MEF’s global study highlights how many customers prefer mobile billing than other alternative methods of payment.

How many customers prefer Mobile Billing?

82% of respondents across all countries surveyed have used their mobile phone to engage in commerce, to either research or purchase items, while 71% have used their mobile phone to make purchases of everything from virtual and digital goods to physical tickets, books, and electronic goods.

Mobile Billing

Direct Operator Billing Acceptance

The MEF data shows that mobile operator billing is, in fact, the most commonly used way of paying for purchases, with roughly 39% of respondents using this method.

Direct Operator Billing

* Source: MEF Global Consumer Survey 2011. Base = 8,530 respondents across 9 countries who have participated in mobile commerce.

What is life like at txtNation?, a leading Mobile Aggregator and SMS Gateway.

Being a Mobile Aggregator ‘means you have direct connections to mobile operators’. i.e. ‘tier-one’. This is where txtNation sit in the value chain.

Most service providers connect to companies like txtNation for their Mobile Billing and Messaging, choosing us as we have these relationships with the telco’s formed and developed.

From these direct mobile operator connections, we can leverage our connectivity and offerings to all service providers. We pride ourselves on having a great reputation – being rock solid technically, reliable, offering good support and enabling high throughput and providing complete financial transparency.

txtNation process millions of messages each month with the majority of billing and messaging traffic running via our direct connections.

We move towards being more of a global mobile aggregator – working in multiple key markets and are situating ourselves as an aggregator and SMS gateway that enables business to Mobile Billing and SMS messaging services via a wide range of connectivity options and API’s.

Day to Day life at txtNation. Leading Mobile Aggregator.

txtNation, day to day runs like clockwork – example duties include supporting all of our clients (service providers) to enable growth, providing up to the minute transactions and financial information and breakdowns – backed up by an accounting team that works tirelessly to ensure payouts and reconciliation. Support that works 24.7 and enables new market and technical opportunities.

Adam Williams, txtNation Network Co-Ordinator quotes, “The best thing about txtNation? No single day is the same. Our industry is so fluid and so varied; a new challenge is always just around the corner. As an multi-national business, we work with many different cultures and discover new opportunities every day.”

txtNation provide industry experienced Account Managers that you can contact to discuss any issues or plans for your services – they are even available to bounce ideas off!

Liam James, txtNation Account Manager quotes, “Life at txtNation is both rewarding and challenging. Day to day the industry moves and as it moves, so do txtNation!”

Expanding our coverage as a Mobile Aggregator.

txtNation are now listed in the top 10 global mobile aggregators for global reach – encompassing coverage and connectivity. Support is present in multiple markets with localised offices that support local languages. txtNation support and enable the following services via our Direct Operator Connections:

Mobile Billing:
Premium SMS
• Short-Codes for Mobile Billing
Direct Operator Billing

• Short-Codes for Standard Rate SMS (Non-Premium SMS)
Bulk SMS
• HLR Lookup

Author: Michael Whelan

Payforit. Is it really everything the networks hoped for and more?

A lot of people still remain unconvinced on Payforit in the UK market. Mainly due to one simple and easy to understand reason – conversions!!

As time has moved on since the first PFI UK release, much has changed, the most notiable is the call to action getting better and more streamlined as subseqent Payforit versions have been released over the years – it’s not surprising that so has conversion rate improved!

At txtNation we have seen a rise of up to 15 per cent on conversion rates compared to short codes (when its used on Mobile Sites – Payforit for WAP).

Payforit was in development for several years years lets not forget and I think that now we are at a stage and timeline where there is a clear user interface and single click payment method that will be a success and consumers will learn to trust.

For me where Payforit truly excels is in the fact that it can immediately open up a marketing channel, almost overnight -Payforit’s MSISDN forwarding or pass-through, facilitates increased billing – It’s that simple. The other improvement is in customer care. Payforit has improved pricing transparency at the point of purchase and also when the mobile payment is confirmed.

Payforit for everyone

Direct Operator Billing as its is in some other countries is not currently possible in the UK. What is very clear when working with the telco’s daily – is the ‘back-end’ for PayForIt is Direct Billing using a operator approved, customer friendly and secure, branded ‘front end’.

Payforit from the customers point of view

Good news for the customer. One click payments!? No shortcode need to be remembered any more and the possibility of fraud is therefore greatly reduced. Customers also need not register! Collaboration and a session with their mobile network operator provides all they need to purchase. No entering credit card details. Simple, anonymous purchases!
any more Finally as we all know, consistency counts! Consistent payment pages from step one of the PFI process instil confidence.

Of course, all these things can still be achieved using Premium SMS of course with Web Opt-in (pin) now possible again via several 3rd party approved PIN suppliers in the UK.

The choice for digital service providers in the UK market in terms of ‘mobile operator backed’ billing, is between Premium SMS using an MO opt-in, Web Opt-in (PIN) and Payforit UK.

Find out more about txtNation contact us at http://txtnation.com/about/call/. Connect to txtNation, providing PayForIt, across all Uk mobile networks.

Author: Michael Whelan

Quality assurances in your Bulk SMS Gateway provider

Over the last few years Bulk SMS has exploded in it’s usage, with more and more companies looking to service their customers in a more efficient and cost effective way.

The usage of SMS as means of information and communication is growing at around 7 to 8% and markets like Africa and the Middle East are surpassing double this figure.

At txtNation, as a mobile aggregator that specialises in Mobile Billing and messaging we have been hard at work developing our Bulk SMS Gateway platform to cater for large volumes of messages at the best quality. This post follows on from the last blog we wrote about one-way SMS – Futures – Bulk SMS Messaging.

At txtNation, our flagship Bulk SMS Gateway is based entirely on the Nokia protocols – meaning high throughput for Bulk SMS with high reliability.

Why Bulk SMS Gateway Quality matters

I base SMS messaging quality on the following and most important points, several of which I will touch on throughout this post.

– Throughput and Speed
– Delivery Reports (DLR’s / SDN’s)
– Price

Some simple and effective questions I recommend you ask your Bulk SMS Gateway provider:

– Ask what relationships the SMS provider has with the networks you are looking to send messages on. As the more layers in the chain, the less likely to be a success (long term!)
– Ask the throughput of the Bulk SMS Gateway.
– Ask for the Service Level.
– Ask the type of payment plan.

Author: Michael Whelan

What we bring to the table

Price of your Bulk SMS Gateway

Our messaging platform ensures that all messages are routed in the most cost efficient way whilst ensuring quality throughout. In collaboration with our mobile operator relations, we we are confident that our solutions deliver at the best price, with the best quality.

Our mobile network connectivity

We have strong, Tier-One relations with mobile operators around the world for our mobile messaging. This has expanded further, on the back of our mobile billing and SMS payment connections over the last several years.

Choosing txtNation as your provider for your Bulk mobile messaging is a choice of hundreds of companies have made, who rely on a bulletproof and reliable Mobile Gateway.

Direct Operator Billing – The Future of Mobile Payments?

A lot we have written already about the merits of Direct Operator Billing. Here I have put together a list of reasons we feel at txtNation, who are heavily involved in Direct Operator Payments, will succeed.

What are the 6 Reasons Direct Operator Billing will need to be successful?

txtNation has direct connections to mobile networks globally, several are starting to release direct operator billing, providing a number of benefits:

* Simplicity and ease of use – the operators will now have further relaitonships with their customers.
* Customer satisfaction – One click and transparency on bills.
* Accurate reporting and notifications to consumers e.g. paid, not billed, etc.
* High level of security.
* Low support costs to manage as ease of use.
* High conversion rates – one click, instant billing, no forms.

Consumers are still in this day and age wary about using their credit card on-line, in-app or on a mobile website. We hope Direct Operator Billing will put to rest those fears.

Author: Michael Whelan