Sunday, October 14, 2007

Consumers should not have to pay

As a follow up to my previous post, here is a good example of how working with U.S. carriers to develop new economic models can create opportunities for growth in the mobile econsystem.

mBlox, Inc. is making inroads with U.S. carriers to make SMS free for end consumers. Why would carriers care to lend an ear to this seemingly ludicrous proposal? And who will pay for these messages?

Today when you receive an alert from your favorite Web application, such as Twitter, your carrier collects money from you for the delivery of the message. On the other hand, your carrier does NOT charge a fee to the aggregator who delivered the message to it, nor to Twitter for delivering you your message.

mBlox’ proposition is that by removing the charge to the end user will drive more user adoption of messaging applications. In other parts of the world the model has been proven to work better for the players in the ecosystem, beginning with end consumers. In Europe the amount of traffic for simple mobile terminated messages by far exceeds that of premium content (e.g., ringtones, wall papers).

The most interesting part of the proposition is that the carriers would receive a bigger payout for each individual message. This is due to the higher willingness to pay that exists in specialized services and applications, where the ability to send a message to an end user signifies a cost saving. Examples are financial institutions and brands, which otherwise have to invest significantly to reach consumers through other means; and which, presumably, should be willing to pay for the ability to make messages received by end users feel less intrusive.

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