DIMOCO guest blog post #4 of 4: Carrier billing in the phase of accelerating expansion

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John BaRoss Fincclude

The success-knowledge of carrier billing is currently going through a phase of accelerating expansion thanks to more permissive CB regulations globally, to evolving CB tax policy (i.e.: the recent debut of Google Play in India that found a way around a tax barrier), to visionary pioneering leadership at carriers, carrier-partner/suppliers, merchants and others in the ecosystems of CB.



Leaders from carrier corporate cultures that encourage and reward innovators (based on theory-of-opportunity) help leadership at next-wave/follower carriers where the task of building leadership alignment backing has a vastly greater probability of success when proof-of-concept evidence is demonstrable. However, as leaders of initiatives know issues with go-to-market planning and execution, through scaling can be countless.  A traditional model for helping an industry to advance is via the assistance of industry associations which can help assist with at least common problems (awareness driving, advocacy, etc.).



CB, along with Carrier operated mobile money, are two multi-billion dollar sectors of a rapidly emerging space increasingly being recognized as ‘Carrier Commerce’.  Further, these two established sectors (along with now approximately 3 dozen emerging Carrier Commerce sectors) are a quiet giant in helping advance global financial inclusion.



Happy to get your thoughts via twitter #DIMOCO or email to hello@dimoco.eu More about FINCCLUDE: www.fincclude.org

DIMOCO guest blog post #3 of 4: Unleashing the optimal potential of carrier billing

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Carrier Billing continues to help realize revenues

By John BaRoss, Founder & President, FINCCLUDE Incorporated

In recent years, pioneering Carriers and their partners have

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continued to successfully advance how CB helps merchants and consumers by demonstrating again CB’s effectiveness as a billing option – now for ‘soft-physical’ goods like ticketing (i.e.: commuting/transportation via taxi, ferry, train, ferry, (etc.); sporting events and more). The benchmarks for incremental revenues, larger addressable markets, higher conversion rates, as well as stickier customers and goodwill windfalls again were achieved.


A majority of FinTech Payment Industry coverage focuses on marquee companies (Apple, Google, Samsung, etc.) as they strive to advance Mobile Payments/proximity payments. While specifics are proprietary, one important indication of marketplace feedback comes from Vodafone which has the flagship Carrier operated mobile money service: M-Pesa. In contrast to the attention garnered by proximity payments, a significant majority of M-Pesa transactions are remote as opposed to proximity, reinforcing the notion that CB’s focus dovetails with consumer/marketplace needs.


During a late May 2016 webinar by Ovum, CB was stated to have achieved $16.6B in 2015, projected to climb to $25.3B by 2020. Clearly $16.6B is huge, yet viewed through the lens of Carriers which had aggregate revenues of $1.02T in 2015, CB was less than 2% of the Carrier industry’s 2015 total. That said, there is growing appreciation in increasing numbers of Carrier C-suites that M-Commerce revenue is projected to be $1.3T by 2020, overtaking aggregate global carrier revenues in just a few years. The incremental revenue opportunities from M-Commerce via Carrier billing assets can be huge.


As CB understanding, acceptance and appreciation grows, regulators to carriers globally are now making moves to adjust regulations and modify carrier economic models to help unleash the optimal potential of CB for online merchants selling physical goods. Speaking with industry leaders involved in emerging CB-physical goods initiatives, two (parallel) value proposition thrusts were evident:


1) Harnesses the array of CB benefits (merchants realizing incremental revenue, reaching larger addressable markets, superior conversion rates, etc.). There is also an increased focus on CB helping advance financial inclusion – a differentiated strength of CB as its purpose since the beginning was to reach the unbanked.

2) A new twist for those familiar with carrier economic models because it involves margin advantages. Carriers have established a reputation for charging a premium for DCB. Merchants decide whether the incremental business via CB was worth CB’s premium (lower margin to merchant). As a variety of environmental factors have evolved over time, a trend is emerging with carriers becoming more competitive with their margins, and in some markets the CB margin is providing a better margin compared to certain alternative payment options.


More about FINCCLUDE: www.fincclude.org).

Happy to get your thoughts via twitter #DIMOCO or email to hello@dimoco.eu

DIMOCO guest blog post #2 of 4: The reasons for the acceptance of carrier billing

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John BaRoss Fincclude

John BaRoss, Founder & President, FINCCLUDE Incorporated



What are some of the reasons for CB’s acceptance and successes globally?

*Incremental revenues: Even in the US, merchants utilizing CB were able to realize a 10%-30% lift in revenues by adding this payment option.

*The revenue lift in US was realized because larger addressable markets were reached.

*The unbanked (poor, rural, teens, etc.)

*Those concerned about having their credit card or bank account info hacked.

*The near ubiquitous billing reach of carriers.

*A vastly superior conversion rate of CB over credit card and other payment options (touted by at least some providers to be as much as 5 times higher).



Fundamentally there has been a logical progression of CB derived in large part to a complex array of environmental factors per

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nation spanning regulatory climate, penetration rates of traditional payment methods, taxes, priorities of carrier leadership, carrier margins, etc. Generally speaking, CB’s initial progression evolved from microtransactions thresholds, upmarket to higher price points as online merchants scaled the array of premium digital goods. First-movers continued to pioneer with CB, next expanding

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into forms of non-digital services. CB continued to meet or exceed key measures (incremental revenues, risk management, etc.).



The superior conversion rate of CB and the possibility of CB addressing new customers (even in countries with strong credit card penetration), continues to be realized by merchants. Further, some carriers began to discover that they can realize a goodwill windfall from helping to bring financially excluded populations into the digital economy via CB, as well as other ‘Carrier Commerce’ offerings such as mobile money and much more.



About FINCCLUDE: Non-profit FINCCLUDE (Financial Inclusion Now, Carrier Commerce Leading a Ubiquitous Digital Economy) is downstream from AFI (Alliance for Financial Inclusion), uniquely exclusively serving the Carrier Commerce industry at the intersection of Financial Inclusion by helping to facilitate the cross-pollinating of financial inclusion success-knowledge to operational leaders in Carrier Commerce (when necessary, as a rapid response unit). www.fincclude.org).



What are your reasons that carrier billing is so well accepted?

Happy to receive your thoughts via twitter #DIMOCO or email to hello@dimoco.eu

DIMOCO guest blog post #1 of 4: Carrier billing becomes an impactful payment solution

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By John BaRoss, Founder & President, FINCCLUDE Incorporated

John BaRoss Fincclude

A rather quiet alternative payment solution is continuing its inexorable ascension in depth and now breadth as a major, impactful payment solution globally.


Carrier Billing [CB], also referred to as Operator Billing, had its beginnings back near the dawn of monetizing the Internet. Visionaries of eCommerce saw the potential for transacting online, plus anticipated new forms of digital products but at price points far below viable economic model thresholds of traditional payments options like credit cards. The notion of micropayments caused eCommerce planners to intuitively look to telco/carriers to overcome this challenge. While carriers are communication network companies, their other significant core competency was billing. Specifically carriers supported line item billing of network call events that often represented charges to customers in amounts comparable to microbilling (less than $5.00, even less than $1.00).


In the US, while credit card penetration was significant, industry studies showed sizable portions of the population on the sidelines of eCommerce (20-40%+) due to either being unbanked or fearing to transact online with one’s personal financial account information. Leadership at major merchants viewed carrier billing as the Holy Grail of eCommerce billing but in the US, carrier leadership was under significant financial pressure due to chasing the fraudulent MCI/Worldcom ghost, and cramming and slamming billing complaints to the FTC, FCC then to Carrier C-suites (for unauthorized switching of long distance carrier). These environmental factors influenced thinking at leadership of US carriers to not aggressively pursue carrier billing.


Over time, while the US became generally viewed as a global laggard with CB, globally hundreds of carriers, thousands of merchants and countless millions of consumers scaled utilizing CB to make purchases of a potpourri of premium digital content goods and services. In 2016, CB has expanded its global reach to be available in about 120 countries (representing over 90% of the world’s population), supported by 1-10+ carriers per country. Leading industry analyst firms approximate the DCB globally supports $12-$16B+ now, projected to grow to over $24B by 2019.


About FINCCLUDE: Non-profit FINCCLUDE (Financial Inclusion Now, Carrier Commerce Leading a Ubiquitous Digital Economy) is downstream from AFI (Alliance for Financial Inclusion), uniquely exclusively serving the Carrier Commerce industry at the intersection of Financial Inclusion by helping to facilitate the cross-pollinating of financial inclusion success-knowledge to operational leaders in Carrier Commerce (when necessary, as a rapid response unit). www.fincclude.org).


What’s your opinion about carrier billing? Happy to receive your thoughts via twitter #DIMOCO or email to hello@dimoco.eu

A Quiet Giant of Mobile Commerce: Carrier Commerce – a weekly blog series by John BaRoss

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John BaRoss-01


Mobile Commerce. Mobile Payments. Mobile Wallets. Mobile Money … these are some of the more commonly used terms for the hottest industry (Payments) in the broader “FinTech” industry – an industry that some refer to as the hottest industry in today’s global economy (as the world continues advancing to a ubiquitous digital economy). In late June 2015 Accenture reported that global investment in financial technology tripled to $12.2 billion. Of that total, over half the value of those investments was in the FinTech industry of ‘Payments’ (with a quarter in the FinTech industry of ‘Lending’ and the balance spread across a variety of other FinTech industries).


At a March 2015 annual payment industry conference held on the grounds of Harvard University in Boston, Massachusetts, discussions with several leaders of mobile wallet companies in the payment industry of FinTech acknowledged an interesting reality: Even among leaders in the payment industry one will not find a universal definition of a mobile wallet. Related to this notion, those who closely monitor the mobile commerce space (of course along with casual observers who may see occasional headlines about marquee firms making in this area), will find the above terms used interchangeably at times when in fact there are important distinctions. Without understanding the distinctions, there often are times that the general media, as well as even the industry media and industry leaders, report and/or make statements that inadvertently exclude key sub-sectors of the payment industry that is mobile commerce.


For the purposes of this blog series I will calibrate terminology by also framing these common industry terms in the context of a hierarchy-graph you can have a look at next week!

Yours John BaRoss!



John first got involved in carrier commerce near the dawn of monetizing the internet in the mid-1990s with AT&T’s premium 900 ‘voice-commerce’ business unit. He led a collaboration with AT&T Labs for microbilling that launched in 1999 as ClickAT&T – supporting recurring and/or ad hoc eCommerce transactions.  Next he was on governance leadership of a AT&T-Accenture JV that planned, launched and scaled AT&T PrePaid WebCents with 3rd Party VAS deals. After then he joined ClickandBuy LLC (known by some at the time as the PayPal of Europe) and did multi-million dollar licensing/outsourcing deals with global carriers. When ClickandBuy exited partnering with carriers he jumped to Amdocs QPass Digital Commerce where he envisioned and executed a strategic alliance with a carrier billing clearinghouse to create a differentiated ecosystem that won new carrier business. Recruited into India’s outsourcing industry in recent years to help them grow into eCommerce, he has done deals with Internet Retailer Top 500 while developing deeper global insights into global carrier commerce.