ROUNDTABLE: WEDNESDAY, JULY 26, 2000
"FUNDS ON THE RUN: BILLING AND MOBILE COMMERCE"
July 26, 2000 twenty representatives from both the billing and mCommerce
arenas convened at the Silicon Valley World Internet Center to share
their insights about the future needs for billing systems for mobile
commerce. The two-hour roundtable discussion opened with Tom Campbell
(Solect, an Amdocs company and Executive Sponsor of the Center);
Joe Jasin (Wireless Blueprint, Inc.); Maarten Plesman (Global Technology
Ventures); and Michele Scofield (Phone.com), outlining key issues
and challenges for billing systems for mCommerce. Some of the most
pressing challenges focused on issues of measurement of both data
and voice, and how best to value and measure a transaction over
a mobile communication device. Other challenges stemmed from issues
of customer perception of mobile communication devices and carriers,
raising questions about trust, security, and sense of privacy in
this mobile consumer world. The participants focused primarily on
B2C aspects of mCommerce.
the end of the discussion, participants indicated the key challenges
to address for shaping the future of billing systems for mCommerce.
- Measurement of data. How to measure it to
know what to bill for?
- at the billing level
- at the device level
- establishing trust around mobile commerce
and the mobile device
Other key issues discussed included:
Rating and Measurement Issues
- How to rate massive volumes to decide what
to bill for
- Charging on volume or quality of data?
- Translating large volume/units to smaller
- Come up with 3G devices with an intelligent
layer determining where to bill for what
- Mediation: How to collect?
- How to capture "value" through
a billing system?
- Self Care
- Translating content into transaction
- Need to know how to "talk" to the
different gateways, etc.
- Need for a billing system with flexibility:
access to different kinds of billing systems
- Integration of systems (legacy and cross-platform
or varied systems)
Attitudes about Carriers
- Not much trust that the carriers should be
in charge of the billing for mCommerce transactions
- Challenge to the carriers: measuring new
volume and quality of IP communications
- What can a carrier bill for?
- Role of the carrier: all roads lead to the
carrier, so systems integration companies are now dealing with
the carriers (is this good?)
Consumer Behavior and Attitudes (e.g., trust)
- Consumer behavior and issues of acceptance
- How to target that mobile market?
- How to train the mobile user to use a device
- What to do if the transaction is not fulfilled?
To bill or not to bill?
- Ability to get correct goods that you have
ordered through mobile
- What are consumers going to buy with a mobile
- Mobile devices are seen as a non-trusted
- It is just not secure right now
- What of authentication?
- What of a guarantee to retailers
- Need a 24-hour review and presentment of
transactions done on a mobile device
- Why not data and voice on a mobile device
(just like fax and voice communication on one telephone line)?
- Recommendation to be flexible:
- per location
- per carrier
- per kind of transaction (and amount of
- choice of where to bill to
- flatfee for some things
- Off-the-shelf solutions vs. custom-made solutions?
- Ability to be flexible enough to form relationships
with other partners—and not confused or hinder your current
Global mCommerce Issues (e.g, standards,
- Establishing global standards for mCommerce
- How will regulatory issues affect global
- How to deal with custom issues for cross-national
- Idea: monopoly or regulated communications
and billing vs. competitive and different kinds of communication
schemes and billing: what would be better?
Quality of Service and Reliability
- Maintaining quality of service
- Is there a backup? Perhaps through a transaction
facilitator (like Visa backs up a purchase now on a credit card).
- Matter of trust? Who will back up? Carriers
will not do this.
Different Models for Charging
- Should we go with flat fees?
- What are the merits of a subscription model?
- Bill presentment and payment—in a mobile
world (being able to pay through a mobile device)
- Idea of the iMode Model used in Japan (i.e.,
tie it to the telco billing statements)
- Smart cards could work, but
- what about the different banks having to
deal with different smart cards (France Telecom says they handle
U.S. vs. European Markets
- U.S. vs. European Market approaches to mCommerce
- Credit card vs. debit card
- France Telecom has made strides here
- Trust/Disposition toward eCommerce
- Pre-paid cards? But, no information
gathered on the consumer
- Are pre-paid cards more secure?
- Lack of trust for operators/carriers
(why bill through them?)
- Need a 3rd party to handle
billing and transactions
- B2C: generally there is a lack of