Wednesday, May 31, 2006

MoCoNews on Helio 'gifting' and 'begging'

Lightweight Mobile Payments: Gift and Beg on Helio

Helio, a new mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) launched earlier this month by SK Telecom and Earthlink, includes new "gifting" and "begging" features for its subscribers to gift a purchased music video, game or other content from their Helio handset to another Helio subscriber. Begging does the opposite, allowing a subscriber to request a gift from another subscriber. Helio's got a blog called Helio Mag where the company talks about its service and what's cool.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Informa's mobile report - MoCo News

Informa Telecoms & Media has issued a report at the MEM conference claiming that "mobile games, music and TV & video will be worth a total of US$25.9 billion by 2011".

"The growth in mobile content services will be driven by music in 2006, which will be worth US$7.4 billion rising to US$13.6 billion by 2011. Games continues to grow despite fears the market was stagnating and is expected to generate US$2.4 billion this year, and rising to US$7.2 billion in 2011."

Informa also things that the FIFA World Cup will give a boost to mobile TV and video, contributing $300 milliion of the $1.2 billion revenues from the sector this year. I'm glad that's clarified -- the rest of the press release refers to "Mobile TV to generate US$300 million in revenue in the build-up and duration of the World Cup", whereas I think most of the revenue will come from video clips rather than broadcast mobile TV.

PayPal Credit Card - Payments News

New PayPal Plus MasterCard Issued By GE Consumer Finance

Daniel Wolfe writes for the American Banker (subscription required) about PayPal's new PayPal Plus MasterCard issued by GE Consumer Finance.

Yahoo selects PayPal - Payments News

Yahoo! Selects PayPal As Exclusive Online Wallet Provider

As part of a bigger strategic relationship between eBayYahoo announced this morning, Yahoo! has announced that is has selected PayPal to become the "exclusive third-party provider of its online wallet and -- allowing customers to pay for Yahoo! services from bank accounts, credit cards or balances associated with their PayPal accounts."

PayPal, which has 73 million accounts in the U.S., also will be deeply integrated on the Yahoo! site and will receive prominent positioning when users purchase Yahoo! services across its network. This offering will provide Yahoo! consumers with additional online payment choices and the option to use PayPal across the entire Yahoo! network.

PayPal will be integrated and promoted as Yahoo!'s payment solution to Yahoo!'s merchants and publishers, which includes the Yahoo! Publisher Network, Yahoo! Search Marketing, Yahoo! Merchant Solutions and other small business services.

Here are some more details on the bigger strategic relationship between Yahoo! and eBay.
"Our consumers will benefit from the combination of Yahoo! and eBay's leading technology and services, providing them with one of the best online experiences," said Terry Semel, chairman and chief executive officer, Yahoo! Inc. "Yahoo! holds a leadership position in all forms of online advertising. This partnership with eBay provides us with a great opportunity to further extend our sponsored search and graphical advertising reach to one of the largest and most active communities on the Web."

"We are thrilled to be working more closely with Yahoo! and we think this agreement represents a great opportunity to benefit our communities and grow our businesses," said Meg Whitman, president and chief executive officer, eBay Inc. "Yahoo! offers an engaged online audience, which drives massive traffic through its rich consumer content and premium services. Working together, we can create more exposure for our properties, which in turn makes them more valuable to our users."

Saturday, May 20, 2006

FTMD - FierceWireless Report

mBlox's Jay Emmet discusses how mobile players can avoid consumer price confusion over full-track music downloads by going off-deck.

Mobile-phone downloads are ready to transform the industry and forever change how we consume music and other multimedia content. Just last month, significant milestones in the world of mobile music were achieved: 1) The shockingly high data fees associated with downloading full-length mobile-music tracks were eliminated, and 2) For the first time ever, record labels launched full-track music downloads for mobile phones sold off-deck. So why is our industry now ready to leap into revenue-generating off-deck downloads?

The Answer: Mobile transaction networks are using an innovative wholesale data model that allows the carriers to resell data bandwidth to a trusted intermediary, thus enabling content providers, record labels and artists to market and sell music directly to consumers at a low price. This eliminates any ambiguity for customers regarding data charges, which can be as much as five times the price of the song for mobile content downloads.

In the U.S. and Europe, incremental data charges generally cost $10-$20 per megabyte. Oftentimes, these charges are not known until the next phone bill arrives. The bill shock associated with these charges has been a great obstacle to mobile downloads. Today, content providers find themselves inviting consumers to "Download this track for only $2 plus your normal data plan charge, which may range from nothing to $20!" Understandably, this confuses pricing and discourages mobile users from proceeding with downloads.

Because the wholesale data model swaps who pays for the data charge from the consumer to the content provider, it brings about three great advantages: 1) Content providers are sold the data at low wholesale rates that can be bundled into the cost of a song, 2) Pricing is now totally transparent to the consumer, 3) No matter what data plan the customer is using, the content provider can publish and guarantee the full cost of the content. That means no more surprises on the bill and a viable business model.

Until now, services like Napster and iTunes have dominated the online music download business, which is expected to swell tenfold to $4.9 billion by 2011, according to Forrester Research. The industry has predominantly involved downloading a song to a computer, and then uploading it to a digital music player.

Downloading directly to mobile phones unties music from computer terminals so consumers can buy music anywhere. Moreover, since more people have mobile phones than MP3 players, and because mobile phone technology is becoming sophisticated enough to allow the storage of thousands of full-length tracks, the future of mobile entertainment consumption is shifting away from the computer terminal.

While music has been the first content type to be downloaded off-deck, it's just the beginning. This model will work for all other rich content including live music, movie trailers and streaming TV.

Consumers are not the only ones who stand to gain handsomely by this revolutionary off-deck wholesale data service model. Content providers, like record labels, can now advertise songs directly to consumers on buses, billboards or wherever they like. The record labels are able to interact directly with customers, build lasting relationships and offer a greater variety of content in a more targeted and more cost-effective fashion.

Everyone Wins:

  • Content providers gain a cost-effective, ethical route to selling rich media off-deck.
  • Carriers gain a brand new source of off-deck revenue, without threatening any existing revenues.
  • Consumers enjoy a whole new world of mobile content, without the costly data fees.

This exciting news was unveiled last month in the U.K., the world's largest off-deck market, when two record labels, Ministry of Sound and V2, launched mobile Internet sites offering the new experience to their customers. Designed by mobile music specialists New-Visions, these sites give users access to an exclusive range of exciting content from bands like Lethal Bizzle and Stereophonics.

In a mobile content industry increasingly driven by off-deck creativity and marketing, wholesale data represents the key to opening up the next phase in the market's development. Rich media, especially music downloads, are the future for the mobile entertainment industry. And wholesale data services are setting the standard for how consumers will access and listen to music in the future.

Jay Emmet is president of mBlox, the world's largest mobile transaction network and one of this year's Fierce 15 winners.

NOC / 160 Characters Session on Mobile Payments

I noted the following comments and points of view as being interesting:

Andrew Budd, mBlox

· Mobile payments as a true replacement for cash hasn’t happened yet because of security issues

· He doesn’t believe in business models that are entirely based on the premise of cutting costs / improving payouts

· He sees the role of operators in the market (i.e. PSMS) as being a Faustian bargain because they can deny short-code service or the passing on of the MSISDN at any time

· Simpay really fell because the only problem that it was trying to address on the market had already been solved by the aggregator businesses that emerged

· The fatal flaw that he sees in all other mobile payment propositions is the shortage of anti fraud measures, and regulatory controls. “you don’t know what you don’t know”, and ethical train wrecks.

· A number of things he was saying was clearly aimed at us, and actually also at UPaid.

Of course, his own faustian bargain is that his company has been a great success due to its relationship with the networks, and it is now crucial for him to preserve that advantage and deny the right to exist of any other business model.

Roy Vella, PayPal

· Mobile slogan = “Shop without Sharing”, Safety and Security are the bywords

· They have just added the phone number and PIN to the existing PayPal account

· They are risk analysts and fraud management specialists first – all else second (they spent millions of dollars to acquire this expertise!)

· The will not be focusing on micro payments or digital payments

· They three products are called P2P, Text2Buy, and Text2Give

· One of their key advantages is that they already have the delivery address for physical goods

· They are now getting 10 million new users per quarter (did I really hear that right?) and that is all network effect. They are PCI compliant and have an ELMI licence

Love fest all around for PayPal, everyone clearly sees them as a beneficial entrant and not a real competitor

Ashley Ward, UPaid

· He sees his business as enabling the cards to go mobile, by charging pre-paid instruments

· Direct billing to cards for content.

· Nothing really new to say, other than openly disputing the mBlox/Vodafone stance, but clear that there is a battle between him and Andrew/Jeremy

Jeremy Flynn, Vodafone

· Clicks, convenience, ease – and you lose 25% for each extra click

· Pay4it will be the brand name of the X-pay project (was an internal code name) – and it is just a scheme to set up rigourous standards of practice around mobile billing using the existing operators platforms (so M-Pay in the case of Vodafone),

· It will introduce an external payments page, which he sees as way more secure and having more control

· This page will default check you for opting-out, you will have to actively opt-in

· He is clearly very annoyed by start-ups and new business models like us – he spent a lot of time insisting on their right to do it the way they do, the right to charge what they do (as paying for licenses) and reiterated the threat that they can block anything they want (although he admitted that they probably won’t).

· Pay4It will introduce spam management and will probably introduce MSISDN charges for others.

· “Off-carrier micro payments don’t work”

Both Jeremy and Andrew clearly know a number of the things that we typically point out as our advantages – because they made a point of scathingly referring to such arguments and knocking them down. They were passionate, articulate, (clearly deeply experienced), and quite persuasive – but the buzz in the audience afterwards is that they are not believed and seen to be stuck in their ivory towers. Their main goal seemed to be to discredit any other model, but not really take action against it.

Comments during the Q&A

· Micro-payments end at about the £5 level, as operators are unwilling to accept higher. The main reasoning is that they don’t want bill shock or high payments that are not for their own services. Plus the you-don’t-think-twice-about-small-change effect. PayPal doesn’t introduce a bottom end to macro payments, it just doesn’t adjust it’s fee structure, so any merchant charging less than £10 simply has to be willing to swallow the higher relative transaction cost.

· Buyers like complexity above the £10 mark – it makes them feel more secure in terms of their financial details, and it protects them from expensive impulses. PayPal has purposefully built in this assurance-I-can-cancel by confirming mobile purchase instructions via IVR with an option to not accept the transaction at the very end.

· The real opportunity for the future of mobile payments lies in two-factor ID, anti-phishing measures and internet banking as a mega cost saver for banks.

· The industry average is 7% for the cost of cash

· Micro-payments culture can’t touch the macro world (won’t understand it), and vice versa. They are incompatible business models. Mobile is the showstopper in micro payments, you an ask you mother’s maiden name for macro payments

· The key for PayPal is the audit trail – which is necessary for higher transactions.

FT Mob Conf - Jemima's Report - Day Two

FT Mobile: More Statistics on Trends and Models

[by Jemima Kiss] Day two of the FT Mobile conference in London.
– Sony BMG's VP of European digital business Ole Obermann gave figures on the company's mobile/online revenue share by country. The US, UK and rest of Europe are all almost 50/50, but in Asia the split is 70 per cent mobile and in Latin America 80 per cent. For mobile music businesses to succeed in these lesser-developed markets, Obermann said there needs to be inv*stm*nt in the technical infrastructure, penetration of music-enabled handsets, billing solutions for different payment methods, customer awareness about legal services, and legislation to protect artists' rights.
Tony Cooper, partner at Deloitte's telecommunications practice, described a 'reinforcing media loop' process as part of convergence: improved technology... creating a better experience... that allows consumers to access and purchase content in new ways. He said companies tackling convergence need to focus on five key areas: product innovation, brand trust, a flexible business model, partnerships and effective digital media management.
– Openwave CTO Marc Levant said mobility and personalisation will be key to delivery of information, and the holy grail is to determine what is relevant to the customer. Recommendation tools are an effective way to 'get to know' the consumer and also inform new services.
Mark Selby, Nokia's multimedia VP, said the company is focusing on radio and TV, and talked about the results of its DVB-H trial. In the UK, people had spent an average 23 minutes each day watching TV on the handset in one or two sessions, compared with 20 minutes in Spain, 18 minutes in France and between 5 and 30 minutes in Finland. Seventy-six per cent of UK users were prepared to pay compared to only 41 per cent of Finnish users.
– Wonder if they've got that mouse yet.

» @ FT Mobile: Regulation and Stuff

Simon Gall of Otodio demonstrated how their product turns print into an audio service for mobiles, a tool being developed in consultation with the RNIB. Otodio recently worked with the FT and the Evening Standard to introduce an audio version of their newspapers and the demo of the FT product combined journalist Lucy Kellaway reading her column with rather painful text-to-speech navigation of the menu. Users can also change the language and speed of the speech, and once they've downloaded the file they don't need to stay connected to listen to it. He presented the tool against a background of stats on the decline of print newspaper readership, saying that consumers describe themselves as "time poor in a media rich environment" and want simple, reliable and immediate access to content wherever they are. I think they also want it to sound a bit better than an evil robot though, but that might just be me.
– The regulatory implications of user-generated content are "terrifying", said George Kidd of ICSTIS. It does publish guidelines on decency and on not inciting violence or racist behaviour for example, but ICSTIS only regulates paid-for content which carries extra responsibility for the publisher. "As soon as you start charging for content you can no longer say you're just a conduit."

» @ FT Mobile: Handsets of The Future

TTP MD Tom Milbourn said the handsets of the future won't be 'swiss army knives', but more like phone plus one - a phone plus a camera, a phone plus web browser and so on. He also predicted that new mobile applications are likely to be adaptations of successful desktop programmes like iTunes and Napster.
– Incidentally, at lunch I met a telecoms guy working in Kuwait. He told me that in conservative Kuwaiti families the convention is that teenage girls and boys don't mix, but kids are using bluetooth to introduce themselves by discreetly sending their phone numbers to each other. "Do you want to receive incoming item 'possible love'?" I rather liked that. Online networks like MySpace are increasingly being used for the same thing.

» @ FT Mobile: Touching on DRM

– Summary here of some DRM issues that the Mobile Entertainment Forum flagged up. It estimates that a lack of effective mobile digital rights management will cost the industry Euro 3.5 billion in 2006 - that would equate to more than half the industry's entire predicted turnover for the year. Research by Frost & Sullivan puts the level of illegal phone content at about 80 per cent, most of it copied from websites via bluetooth, memory cards and external storage. MEF favours setting up a new open mDRM framework that would encourage content sharing through a legal P2P system, rather than trying to block users from sharing content on current network.
Sissel Henriette Larsen of DRM specialists Beep Science said mobile has some advantages over rights management online. A payment structure is already built in and users are accustomed to paying for content.

» @ FT Mobile: Everyone Here is Too Old

I want to launch a guerilla strike against this conference. Yet again, the most interesting discussion takes place outside the conference hall because, bar a few jazzy PowerPoint presentations and some footage of skateboarders, there is very little energy here.
At the Guardian's Changing Media summit in March, Fru Hazlitt of Virgin Radio stood up and shouted at the audience that they just didn't get it. "You are all just too old," she said, and she was right. I'm currently in a panel about determining the future of mobile and I want to shout the same thing because there's not one 'digital native' here. After that, I'm going to go outside and drag a posse of 15-year-olds in here. How have you used your mobile this morning? How many downloads have you got? Do you use the gaming tools or web applications on your phone, or do you prefer to do that at home? What do you hate about your phone? How could it be so much better, so much more addictive, so much more exciting?
I'm not suggesting that we turn the conference into a market research session but really - we would learn far more than we are gleaning from sunny side-up product overviews and some very cautious predictions on how the mobile scene is developing. And I'm still sulking about not having web access.
– Right, well I did stand up and tell the panel they were all too old and should be replaced by 15 year olds. They might have thought I was a little rude for describing the discussion as sterile. Jim Holden of Google said that kids' behaviour is unpredictable and changes very quickly, and Andrea Casalini of Buongiorno Vitaminic said that not all their services are for young people. Still think I'm right.
– Wireless at last. Praise be for the Apple Store.

FT Mob Conf - Jemima's Report - Day One

» @ FT Mobile: The $2 Billion Black Hole of Mobile Content

[by Jemima Kiss] London, Langham Hotel. It's chucking it down outside, and I've just realised that although I remembered my iPod/iTalk and my camera, I've forgotten all the relevant cables. Not a good start. And it's a manic first session; all the speakers sound like they are delivering a fifteen-minute speech in five minutes.
Mobile Entertainment Forum (MEF) chairman Patrick Parock sets the scene: "Mobile is already a $2 billion industry. These devices are like black holes sucking in different media types."
He said 5 million UK phone users have 3G handsets but that "mobile is pretty much the only medium in the world with a zero level of ad-fundedness". One of MEF's objectives is to identify how advertising combined with mobile entertainment in a way that will fit in with the consumer ecosystem.
– The panel agreed that the World Cup will generate more interest in mobile content, but that the full potential will be realised during the 2008 Olympics.
– At We Media last week I was grumbling about a conference hall with no tables and conference chairs with arms. This time my gripe is with the £5-per-hour wireless access. Not condusive to speedy coverage or a good mood.

» @ FT Mobile: Serious Content

[by Jemima Kiss] George Fraser, VP for sales and business development at Infospace, defined the key elements of mobile content. Where the web is about breadth, depth and a rich broadband experience, mobile is about immediacy, relevancy, being on the move and using content apporpriate to the handset.
Content itself he describes as infosnacking; 3 is experimenting with full-length films but Fraser doesn't think that's the way forward.
Something we've heard again and again today: subscriptions for unlimited use are the way forward: "No one would want to pay a one-off fee to see footage of the whale in the Thames," he said.
Looking forward, he suggests improving content to allow personalisation and localisation (like updates on local weather and events when visiting somewhere), more mobile-specific content and improved search.
Nicholas Wheeler, MD of multimedia content at ITN said the broadcaster's mobile channel is produced by a team of 35 multiskilled people working 24 hours producing news on a 15-minute cycle. He said it can be hard to recruit for the team because it demands such a unique skillset.
The carpet is starting to look like the one in the bar scene of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, so it must be time to finish for today...

» @ FT Mobile: The Mobile TV Bit

[by Jemima Kiss] Channel 4 launched its own mobile channel on the back of Big Brother in May 2005 with ringtones, wallpapers and so on, but also launched its mobile TV site in November 2005 with full-length programmes. C4 obviously changed its mind though because it re-launched the service last week with five-minute clips of shows including Hollyoaks, Lost and Desperate Housewives. The core C4 audience is in the 16-34 age group but that's also the audience most likely to migrate to mobile and online, so the channel wants to be "ubiquitous across all platforms", said Paul Whitehead. C4 is the only commercial broadcaster in the UK with a public service remit and its content strategy is three pronged: distributing C4 content on new digital platforms, adapting existing content for mobile (Hollyoaks has an exclusive mobile story running concurrently, for example) and commissioning standalone content.
BSkyB's Stephen Nuttall said more than 100,000 people have signed up for Sky Mobile TV (run with Vodafone) and they streamed 70,000 clips in the first three months, although he said neither Sky or Vodafone wouold give more detail on user numbers yet. Sky offers two mobile TV packages; news, sports and factual with content from channels including Sky News, Bloomberg and National Geographic, and an entertainment package which features Sky One, Living TV and the Discovery Channel amongst others. Both are £5 per month for unlimited viewing - and that reflects comment from various other speakers that subscriptions are much more attractive to users than pay per view. In the next few weeks subscribers will also be able to access the Sky Guide through the service.
MTV's is exploiting its strong brands like Pimp my Ride, Jackass, Dirty Sanchez and Sponge Bob Squarepants. Angel Gambino said MTV's mobile TV doesn't compete with ‘real' TV because it's a very different kind of audience behaviour: "Users come in for two or three minutes at several points during the day when they are commuting, queuing etc. It's a healthy mix of existing TV content re-edited for the small screen, DVD extras and exclusive mobile content." She said MTV Mobile TV is making money and that, again, subscription payment has been far more popular with users than pay-as-you-go - which it sounds like they will ditch.

» @ FT Mobile: The Music Bit

[by Jemima Kiss] -- EMI's prediction is that global revenue from digital platforms will grow from less than one per cent in 2003 to 25 per cent in 2010. Thomas Ryan, SVP for digital/mobile strategy, said EMI has a three-pronged approach (at least this conference has been good for lists, and we like those). Those prongs are: A&R, distributions partnerships and innovation, and embedding digital throughout the company. Their mantra is: "Digital music must be made available everywhere consumers want it".
On the partnerships front, Ryan said there will be more and more important deals like the shared-revenue-on-all-platforms deal between EMI andT-Mobile for Robbie Williams' tracks.
Jamster is quite excited about being sued. MD Markus Berger-de León said a German band is suing Jamster for not doing enough promotion of their single as a ringtone. Jamster doesn't like the case, but it does rather likes the point that digital downloads are becoming recognised as a crucial element of music industry sales. The band claims it would have sold something like another 50,000 if the ringtone had been pushed more.
Omnifone director Rob Lewis predicts mobile phones will be much bigger than the iPod in a relatively short period of time. "The mass market is about devices that can do everything for the consumer without having to know about synching" and so on. More advantages over the iPod/iTunes system are one-touch billing that consumers love, phones are with us 24/7 and by Q1 2007, most people will have a mobile that can play and store music.

» @ FT Mobile: Women Are a Mystery - Unless They Are Naked

by Jemima Kiss] David Warga from Naked News is having trouble with women. If they are naked (or semi naked) that's fine - people pay to see that. But when he launched a new service featuring naked men, more women watched the original show with naked women. Confused?
"Men want sports, women, games and gambling. What do women want? Frankly I have no idea..."
Female users also wouldn't pay for the mobile content (be interesting to see how much time women actually spent on it) but gay men would - so the naked men show ended up being gay-orientated and that's working well.
He defined four priorities for mobile content creators: on demand services, multi-platform portability, compelling and entertaining content and a simple pricing structure.
Mobile is "an advertiser's dream - more person directed and more network controlled than the PC". He suggested that content could be fr*ee if users agreed to something like receiving four pushed-out ad messages as well as the, erm, naked stuff. At the moment, all Naked News content is charged for. Sex and death always sells, doesn't it?

» @ FT Mobile: The Boys' Toys Session

Erm, this session covers games, girls and gambling. I thought that meant guns, breasts and poker (shall we tag those?) so didn't expect to be in the target audience. But speakers have repeated that there isn't much difference in behaviour between the genders, and one of the first stats was that 40 per cent of Yahoo! Games users are female, if you think that's any kind of significant yardstick.
LaNetro Zed regional MD Richard Hancock outlined three types of mobile games user:
- the casual consumer who goes for simple, known concepts and is a fickle user, often put off by confusing pricing and bad usability.
- users loyal to specific brands and games, and to those related online communities.
- hardcore users who want mobile games to be as close as possible to the real thing. These are low users of mobiles because the user experience isn't good enough.
Sebastien de Halleux of Glu (publishers of Ice Age 2, Sonic the Hedgehog amongst others) showed a video of responses from mobile users on why they don't download games on their mobiles. Users said they don't know how to, don't have time, don't want to pay more money, one had a faulty download and lost their money and several people said they play online instead.
– I was about to disagree when Hancock said that mobile has the opportunity to deliver content to a new audience because people don't have access on other platforms. Only he was talking about Asia and Pakistan in particular; web penetration is less than one per cent but mobile is in the mid-20s and growing. Fair enough.

» @ FT Mobile: The Predictions Session

I just saw a very large mouse run down the side of the conference hall.
MonsterMob CEO Martin Higginson said the company is investing in emerging markets and has put $200 million into China; he predicted 2 billion mobile handsets in Asia Pacific by 2011. Some stats from rapidly developing markets: 420 million mobile users in China, 86.2 million in Brazil and 100 million in India.
Higginson said at the end of 2005, one billion people worldwide were online compared with two billion phone users. Although many of those aren't "using their phones properly" (as in not using web functionality), by 2011 there will be four billion mobile users and most of those will use them fully.
On user-generated content, Higginson said he expects that will account for 30 per cent of turnover and that it is essential to make sites sticky by providing a platform for people to share their material. He pointed to the strength of peer recommendation on sites like MySpace and YouTube.
He said broadcasting to mobiles will be limited because people want to snack on content rather than watching full programmes, and later questioned whether T-Mobile could make money from the World Cup because it paid so much for the rights.
– A barrage of statistics expertly delivered by Ralph Simon, chairman of Emeritus and MEF founder; of those, one was that 825.5 million phones were sold globally in 2005 and that's predicted to rise to 930 million in 2006.
Pop Idol helped boost the popularity of SMS in the US; the market is now about 4-6 months behind rather than two years and around 10 million SMS are sent every month.
He pointed to the success of Sprint's recently launched $2.50 download service - 300,000 downloads in one week sent simultaneously to the user's PC and mobile. Major corporations like Disney and Viacom will increasingly look at mobile platforms and cross-media delivery, he predicted.
Mobile penetration by market is interesting: US 69 per cent and Ireland now at 100 per cent.
And new jargon alert: apparently there will be a degree in ‘mociology' in the next couple of years.
One day I'll cover a conference and remember to collect the last lines from everybody's speeches. Higginson's was: "By 2015 the mobile will be the most important medium channel the world has ever seen."

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Blog posting

Cobweb's Small Business News:

"M-commerce is coming

Paying for items with a mobile phone could soon take off in the UK, in the same way it has overseas.

LUUP, which is already up and running in Norway, allows users to send or receive money or pay for items. The phone is linked to a bank account, a credit or debit card.

M-commerce, as the phenomenon is being dubbed, has already been unsuccessfully tried in Britain. Paybox was the brainchild of the big mobile networks, but it never really took off. It now operates only in Austria.

However, another joint venture is due to launch later this year called Pay4It, which will allow users to pay for items costing up to £5."

Friday, May 12, 2006

Banking News Link

LUUP launches m-payments in UK and Germany

LUUP has launched its m-payment system in the UK and Germany this week. LUUP can be used to buy small value items such as ringtones or for person to person payments (P2P). The system is NOT phone operator dependent.

LUUP say their retail purchase service is cheaper than premium rate SMS messaging. For P2P they are offering domestic transfers for free for a limited time period and the UK arm is charging £2 for transfers to Germany or Norway.

Many futurologists and commentators believe the concept will eventually catch on. Few are willing to predict when however and which schemes will be successful. A number of attempts to develop this market have been abandoned. A consortium of major European mobile phone operators gave up on their SimPay consortium last year. This year has seen trials by PayPal and also a US launch by OboPay.

In common with most other systems you need a bank account to credit you LUUP account before you can make payments. If you receive P2P payments you need both a LUUP account and a bank account to withdraw the cash. So LUUP offers simplicity but not any additional functionality compared with a bank account. You only need a mobile phone number to make a payment compared with full bank details. the payment is made instantly. However in the UK you have the three day "black hole" waiting for a credit from a bank account and the same time for the recipient to get the cash out. So if a P2P transactions first requires funds to be added to an account the end to end transaction time is double that of a bank transaction or six days longer than handing over cash.


LUUP launches m-payments scheme in UK and Germany:

04/05/2006 - 10:46

LUUP launches m-payments scheme in UK and Germany
A new payments system that allows customers to use their mobile phones to pay for purchases and make fund transfers has been launched in the UK and Germany by Norway-based LUUP.

The LUUP system - formerly known as Contopronto - is independent of mobile phone operators and allows consumers to use their mobile phones as an electronic wallet, connected to a credit card, debit card or bank account. Customers can then use the phone to buy downloads and send money to other account holders.

LUUP uses 128-bit SSL encrypting, plus IP and user password-based client authentication to protect personal data. Online purchases and high value person-to-person payments are confirmed using a PIN code.

The company also plans to offer a LUUP debit card which customers can use to withdraw cash at ATMs across the country.

Jeff Lamont, chief marketing officer at LUUP, says several mobile content merchants have signed up to the service, which provides a better return than using premium rate text messaging where operator fees can top 25%.

'We are becoming the preferred partner of merchants looking for innovative payment solutions, not least because we allow them to offer flexible pricing, strong margins and full visibility of payments," says Lamont.

The introduction of the LUUP m-payments system in the UK follows last week's launch of PayPal's mass-market mobile payments system in Britain and also comes ahead of the launch of Pay4it this summer, which is a mobile micropayments system developed by the UK's five mobile network operators.

But previous m-payments schemes have faired badly in the UK and European markets. In 2003 German mobile payments provider paybox pulled out of the UK consumer market after lack of cooperation among banks and telecommunications hindered uptake of the system by consumers. More recently, plans to develop the first pan-European mobile phone payment platform, called SimPay, collapsed last year after T-Mobile pulled out of the alliance."

Total Telecom 05/05/06

New SMS mobile payment system is launched

By Lorraine Turner, Total Telecom

New service called LUUP launched in U.K., Germany.

A new mobile phone payment system enabling peer-to-peer payments via SMS has been launched in the U.K. and Germany. The LUUP service – known as LUUPAY in Germany – also allows subscribers to pay for service such as ringtones or transfer money.

The service is fully integrated with the U.K. and German banking systems, enabling funds to be accessed from credit cards, debit cards and bank accounts. Once the LUUP wallet has been credited, the user can save money in an account, use it for purchases with LUUP merchants or transfer it to their bank account.

The new mobile payment method targets Premium SMS methods of payment in particular. "We wanted to replace Premium SMS with a new payment method and LUUP offered the ideal alternative; no change to the customer experience, yet fees are so much less than Premium SMS," said Chris Michael, managing director of INTOmobi, a ringtone provider.

Merchant partners will pay less than 10% of the transaction fees on payments compared with 25% for Premium SMS operator fees. Other merchant partners for the mobile payment solution include ringtone firms Web2Txt, RealMusicTones, gaming companies Elite and PocketPlay and international calling card provider Swiftcall.

All online payments and person-to-person payments are confirmed using a pin code. LUUP uses 128-bit SSL encrypting as well as IP and user password-based client authentication to protect personal data. LUUP accounts are created by SMS and full registration online. The service is available to anyone over the age of 14.

"We are very excited to unveil the LUUP payment solution in two markets where consumers are hungry for ways to use their mobile phones in exciting and innovative ways," said Jeff Lamont, chief marketing officer at LUUP.

Mobile phone payment solutions are at an advanced stage in markets such as Japan. KDDI announced ties with the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi last month. The companies will create a new bank specialising in services through mobile phone handsets.

NTT DoCoMo has a credit-payment alliance with Mizuho Bank and Sumito Mitsui Financial Group.

Mobile Payments World

LUUP launches m-payments

M-payments provider LUUP, formerly Contopronto (MPW 33,56), has launched services in the UK and Germany (where it is called LUUPAY) which allow consumers to use their mobile phone like a wallet to shop ...

Thursday, May 11, 2006

The latest blogosphere mentions

Mobile Payment Update » M-Payments in the UK and Germany:
"Mobile payments are moving in the UK and Germany.

LUUP, the first payment system specifically for mobiles, launches today in both the UK and Germany. LUUP (called LUUPAY in Germany) allows consumers to use their mobile phone like a wallet to shop with retailers or send and receive money on a person-to-person basis - with cash, debit/credit card and bank account functions built-in."

ITU Strategy and Policy Unit Newslog - New SMS peer-to-peer payment system launched:

" 05 May 2006
New SMS peer-to-peer payment system launched

A new mobile phone payment system has been launched in has been launched in the U.K. and Germany. LUUP (called LUUPAY in Germany) allows consumers to use their mobile phone like a wallet to shop with retailers or send and receive money on a person-to-person basis - with cash, debit/credit card and bank account functions built-in. "

Business Mobile › News › Scramble starts for pay-by-mobile business

Friday, May 05, 2006

Payments News: PayPal Analyst Day

Payments News: eBay Holds Analyst Day Today - PayPal Update Included - May 04, 2006:

"eBay held its annual Analyst Day today covering eBay, PayPal, and Skype. The presentations from today's event (PDF - 17.4 MB in size) are available for downloading from the eBay Investor Relations site."

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Payment News spots our launch announcement

Payments News: UK: Scramble Starts For Pay-By-Mobile Business - May 03, 2006:

"Richard Wray reports for the Guardian about the launch of LUUP, a new mobile payments company, in the UK and plans by the five mobile operators in the UK to launch their own service later this summer called Pay4It. See also LUUP's press release on its service launch in the UK and Germany."

The LUUPAY story in action

The LUUPAY story is running now on the following websites:

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

VNU Net on mobile wallets

Mobile commerce on the agenda again -

US punters show renewed interest in the mobile wallet
Robert Jaques, 24 Apr 2006

As many as 25 million mobile phone subscribers in the US could be using their handsets as mobile wallets by 2011, technology watchers have predicted.

Analyst firm In-Stat said that mobile commerce, the transaction concept touted in the 1990s that never took hold, is set to take off.

The 'mobile wallet' is now a much more versatile application, according to In-Stat, that includes elements such as membership cards, loyalty cards and other forms of identification."

blog mention

Rhysie Baby's [Outer] Space: Gassy's plays some good TV!:

"Oh, and now for some shameless marketing: I want you all to try the new LUUP service by texting 'GO CavemanCymru' (without quotations, silly!) to 81100. It costs you the same price as a standard text message and they'll then give you £2, which you can transfer to your bank. Not bad, eh? :)"