MWC, WAC and Carrier Billing

It seems like the Wholesale Applications Community (WAC) was born and has grown with the Mobile World Congress (MWC).

In 2010, WAC was formed by a group of 24 mobile network operators and was announced at the MWC with the charter to tackle device fragmentation through the introduction of ‘open standard’ web technologies.

At MWC 2011, the WAC formally confirmed its status as a ‘not for profit’ organization and announced that its membership had now grown to more than 60 full members.

What about 2012? MWC is having its 2012 conference in Barcelona with 1400 exhibitors. WAC’s Payment API is a new offering that has received a lot of attention at the event.

The use of Operator/Carrier’s billing is the easiest way to charge users for digital content. With it, there is no need for the user to enter a credit card number or password. The user only has to confirm the purchase and it will be put on their phone bill. It even works if the user is buying something on a PC or tablet, in which case the user would be sent a one-time PIN via SMS. This ease-of-use results in higher conversion rates and therefore more revenues.

John Donovan, the head of AT&T Technology and Network Operations, said in a WSJ interview on February 27th,  “It’d be like freight included.” “A customer nearing his data limit for the month could be more likely to download a movie if the content provider covered the price of the data transmission.”

On February 27th, Facebook announced that it will be working with several wireless carriers (AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile as well as Deustche Telekom, Vodafone, KDDI and Softbank worldwide) to process payments for applications. Under the new agreement, users will be able to charge their carrier bills for anything they buy on Facebook.

The significance of this development is that consumers will buy more with easy billing and vendors can benefit from spontaneous buying. This development could encourage other vendors to provide similar offers. It could impact business models, billing mechanisms and app storefronts. It could encourage WAC members to move faster on their offerings.  It also challenges businesses to adapt technologies in a more dynamic approach!

What do you think?  What are the possibilities you see from this new development of carrier billing?  What types of opportunities does it open for vendors?  I look forward to your comments.
The Networking Exchange Blog Team About NEB Team