February 11, 2008

How does the smart telco deal with the bounty in its hands?

It is a game of FCers to speculate on how the mobile/cell phone industry is going to deal with the wonderful gift they have in their hands, literally. Will they (a) run a payment system, (b) let banks do it, or (c) see a CellPal emerge? It has to be one of the three, as far as I can see.

Here's one answer, which I'll let you place in the list above (spotted by Zopa):

Now, network provider Globe Telecom is offering a mobile credit loan system that caters to its customers’ usage habits. With their Share-A-Load program, Globe allows its users to send (via SMS) their phone credits or “loads” to others running low. The service costs PHP 1 (about US .024) for each transaction and is available to prepaid and postpaid Globe subscribers. Donors simply contact an automated number, punch in their pin code, the recipient’s number, and how much money they’re giving and both parties are notified upon receipt. Share-a-Load is a good example of the applicability of SMS beyond just text messaging - something service providers can use to their advantage if they’re clever enough.

Another frequent question I ask myself is how much effect these "bleedingly obvious strategy" messages have on the market. We've known since the year dot that this was possible, easy and a real winner. But we also know that the response will be knee-jerk, painful and destructive.

The philosophical question is, "is there any point in laying out the bleedingly obvious strategies when the only people who are interested want to stop them happening?"

(Also spotted on Zopa: their comment on how the credit crunch is their bounty ... Oops, there we go again, the curse of being a friend of FC...)

Posted by iang at February 11, 2008 08:43 AM | TrackBack

Over a decade ago, there was a lot of hype that telcos would take over the payment industry ... that their phone call transaction systems were positioned for handling the scaleup (that would happen with things like micropayments, cellphones, etc).

A couple yrs later (when it wasn't happening), the excuses were that the telcos weren't positioned (didn't have enuf infrastructure, experience, etc) to handle the financial liability (and fraud).

recent post mentioning the scenario

in that timeframe there were some number of "in-core" dbms systems developed; they supported transaction semantics ... but the default location for records were in memory ... as opposed to the default record location on disk (and memory used for caching). these products claimed something like ten times performance improvement vis-a-vis traditional disk-oriented dbms implementations (using same exact configuration and real storage size) ... and found lots of uptake among telco customers. In the past couple yrs, there has been announcements about some of the payment networks installing these products (usually associated with comments about supporting scaleup issues).

some old posts:

for topic drift ... some comments about early uptake of relational dbms coming with the increases in system real storage sizes (caching information used by rdbms to automatically handle stuff that required manual administration and application programming in earlier dbms implementations)

Posted by: Lynn Wheeler at February 11, 2008 10:22 AM
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