Hybyte has launched AirPayment, a Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) billing solution that supports PayForIt – the consumer facing brand of the UK's cross operator Trusted Mobile Payment Framework scheme.
The scheme aims to promote the take up of mobile commerce by allowing content providers and merchants access to cross network payment services. Its main goal is to provide greater charging transparency for consumers.
Utilising Hybyte's existing mobile data platform, AirByte, the new payment engine will enhance mobile user verification, payment authorisation and non repudiation. Hybyte has already gained Orange and Vodafone accreditation for the use of AirPayment and will be one of the UK's first mobile aggregators to offer a billing solution that supports the Trusted Mobile Payment Framework. AirPayment is a direct-to-bill (DTB) charging solution. It is predicted by research firm Octegra that by 2020 operator revenues derived from DTB charging will be in the region of USD $40bn.
Hybyte's solution encompasses a WAP charging and subscription module, a WAP User Interface (UI) and a mechanism to fall back to SMS charging if required. Using AirPayment, consumers will now be able to buy content such as music, computer games or film, with their handset simply by clicking on a 'Pay' button on a WAP enabled website. Following the consumer's decision to buy, all of the subsequent payment interactions are managed by Hybyte. The solution provides comprehensive, end-to-end micro and macro-payment functionalities, from the initial purchase instruction to plugging-in to the back office billing system of the Mobile Network Operator (MNO). Once the purchase process is completed, the consumer is provided with a link to return to the content provider WAP site. Importantly, this process does not require the consumer to break from the browsing experience in order to initiate or accept a charge process via SMS.
AirPayment has been developed under the guidelines of the Trusted Mobile Payment Framework which focuses on how transactions are processed. For each transaction, the consumer is requested to agree to the terms of any proposed payment or subscription service in advance n nce of being charged. Terms and conditions are clearly laid out and opt-in/out options provided. In addition, the user has to re-authorise subscription services on a monthly basis.
MNOs have traditionally used in-house payment mechanisms, but there are clear advantages of using a WAP driven DTB payment solution. Not only does it reduce their IT and development investment, but it also eradicates the revenue leakage that is caused by PSMS - estimated at between 15 and 20% of their content revenues. In general, operators are realising that less leakage and greater control over the payment process provides them with an opportunity to reduce the cost of content to the end user.
A recent study by Nokia found that 36% of mobile phone owners regularly used their device to browse the internet as web access becomes more mainstream. Moreover, the increasing provision of mobile search by the likes of Google and Yahoo! in handsets will make it easier for the consumer to find independent WAP enabled sites.
For content and service providers, WAP-enabled mobile commerce offers the opportunity to launch new services and channels, thus enabling the provider to grow its market share. During the purchasing process, AirPayment acts as the single interface to the MNO, in essence the bridge between the content provider and the operator. Critically, for the content provider, WAP billing provides far more flexibility and potentially greater margins.
Darren Cottom, Press officer at Hybyte, said: "It is fair to say that early experimental WAP applications were disappointing. However, faster wireless networks and improvements in handset design have combined to create a new urgency in the market and we are now seeing more business models emerging for mobile applications. Transparency during the purchasing process will be critical to the success of WAP-enabled websites. Consumers want to be able to check what they've bought and how much it cost. As is the case when a consumer purchases off the Internet, ease-of-use, security and trust can be the differentiating features of a successful online business. If mobile commerce is to be successful, it will need to embrace each one of these attributes."