Direct operator billing can help carriers take back control. That was the message from SLA Mobile CEO Nic Stirk Wednesday at the "Mobile Payment: Operator Strategies and Opportunities" conference, part of the CommunicAsia 2012 Summit.
Stirk explained to the crowd how direct operator billing is an ideal solution to enable mobile operators to differentiate themselves and finally address the growing threat from over-the-top (OTT) players such as Apple and Google.
In Asia Pacific alone, the mobile payments market is expected to be worth $267 billion (U.S.) by 2016. If mobile operators want to have a significant slice of this pie, Stirk said – rather than the crumbs left by the OTT players – then they must start developing their smart pipe strategy today.
“A strategy of monetizing network assets needs to be on the agenda of every operator’s board," Stirk told operators. “Direct operator billing should be seen as the starting point of such a strategy. Operators have many assets which can be monetized and DOB is simply the stepping stone to greater things in terms of differentiating themselves against the OTT players."
Operators can disrupt the current value chain by creating a vibrant ecosystem in which revenue is generated from a two-sided business model, which has the operator at the center and consumers and merchants on either side, he added. Key to creating sustainability is for operators to have direct engagement with merchants. Stirk suggested that operators might have the capability and resources to do this themselves. If not, they should partner with a technology and business company that has the ability to think and behave like an operator.