Friday, 22 February 2013

Will payments figure at MWC?

With the world’s mobile industry packing its white shirts, sports jackets and jeans for Barcelona, consumers – many of whom are in track suits or suits – have been busily getting stuck in to buying things on mobile. And it seems that given the right payment mechanisms, they are happy to spend more than just the normal micropayment for goods and services.
New research from performance marketing company Intela finds that more than half of UK smartphone users are happy to spend more than £10 on their mobile phone, while the numbers coming out of ImpulsePay about Payforit suggest that some merchants are getting around £6 average spend and a conversion rate of nearly 80%.
Does this mean that mobile payments has arrived? Well, it already had, I’d argue. What this truly augers is that consumers are readily spending on mobile, aren’t now limited by price points and have shucked off the fear of PRS, because no one talks about PRS anymore.
What we aren’t yet seeing are consistent ways in which consumers can use mobile to buy physical goods – other than using iTunes, Amazon or other pre-reg card services – especially at the higher end of the market. That said, I bought a new iPad on my old iPad, which felt strangely cannibalistic, but at the same time fittingly mobile.
While Intela’s data is heartening and interesting, for the telemedia community the ImpulsePay Payforit numbers are the real meat here. The revamped design – which now includes in some instances one click for returning customers – is delivering huge conversion rates, high spends and some impressive average spends. No wonder Three’s Rory Maguire has joined in with ImpulsePay – it will be interesting to see what he can do to increase its penetration amongst merchants.
It will also be interesting to now see that, with Payforit gaining some consumer use and trust, whether we are now witnessing the endgame for PSMS. It still has its uses right now, but could Payforit now that it has a brand image actually replace it? And what would the consequences of that be?
As I iron my best brogues for MWC next week, I have been scanning the conference schedule and find that, while there is a lot about mobile money, mobile payments is pretty poorly represented. I also would be very surprised if Payforit gets a look in. Shame really, as these sorts of technologies are the future of mobile payments and, as I argued last week in this newsletter, are the future of network operators.
4G has singly failed to either fill the Treasury with gold doubloons or set the business or consumer market alight. It's the same as 3G only faster really – even the operators know that, that’s why they have only stumped up £2.3billion in licence fees this time (3G licences went for £23billion back in the day).
It will be interesting to see what the real talk about all this stuff is at the new site of MWC. For those of you not going, I shall report back anon. 

Friday, 15 February 2013

The sad death of Alex Ruff

No one at Telemedia Towers is their usual ebullient selves following the sad passing last weekend of Alex Ruff. Our lead story this week is naturally a very fitting tribute to Alex, by one of his oldest friends Telemedia-news publisher Jarvis Todd.

We are going to put together a special tribute to the great man in the next issue of telemedia-month – out at the end of February/early March – and we need your help: any fond memories you have of Alex, any photos, stories or just thoughts and messages would be greatly received so that we can see him off in style. Send them to by 28 February.

The world of media and telemedia that Alex leaves behind is almost unrecognisable from the one he started out in many moons ago. It used to be all about the telephone, the beast that sat on a table with a coiled wire and a plug in the wall. These days it is all about not just voice engagement, but digital interaction – the computer has won out. But, as the latest figures from comScore show, the world of computers is now also the world of telephones.

Smartphones – and increasingly tablets too – are increasingly becoming the way in which consumers interact with the world. The PC is on its way out, the computer is now a portable device, which opens up a whole new level of interaction with the world around us. It also opens up huge opportunities for business.

The next stage of development is already underway: the tie up between these devices, the internet and TV – something that Alex worked on tirelessly and with great vision over the past few years.

The world he leaves behind is much changed and one that offers huge benefits to us all. I hope that his legacy can be the continuation of growth and development of our industry into these new areas.