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Where financial services and telecoms meet

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For cellular service providers around the world, money is slipping through the cracks, bit by bit. Why? Because mobile data usage has evolved much faster than the models used to charge and bill for it.
In the early days of mobile, billing systems charged for minutes and messages – there wasn’t much more available. Now, there are few data services that aren’t mobile, and it’s not just how consumers use their devices, but where.
A recent report by Juniper Research has found that the mobile telecoms industry lost more than $58-billion last year as operators have been obliged to integrate an ever-expanding array of devices and to simultaneously manage a surge in cellular network traffic, while billing systems have failed to keep pace.
However, local company Itemate, a division of MIP Holdings, offers a solution that not only aids telcos in maximising revenue potential by optimising the network product process flow, but provides value-added services that can provide additional revenue streams.
Itemate CEO Mark Parker points out that the vast majority of cellular subscribers around the world use prepaid, but that these subscribers are by and large untracked. In addition, many of these users do not fall into traditional financial categorisations, and that their disposable income is largely untapped.
The Itemate solution therefore not only allows operators to track and report on the deferred revenue caused by the prepaid billing system, but also allows authorised financial service providers to offer additional services such as insurance, integrating these with all aspects of the operator’s business chain.
“Carriers must rapidly adapt to the changing landscape or risk losing the precious revenue they need to remain competitive. Pre-paid billing is increasingly an area where operators can offer value-adds to their customers, as its inherent realtime response enables many advantages,” Parker says.
“We have built on our successful realtime management and reporting systems, as well as our relationship with MIP Holdings, in order to be able to facilitate these value-added services.”
Together, MIP Holdings and Itemate deliver solutions across all financial service and telecommunications verticals. Their joint systems are diversified to accommodate the specialised administration needs of medical aids, employee benefits, life insurance, treasury, lending, collective investments, wealth management, short-term maintenance and warranty.
This combined expertise places Itemate in the unique position of being able to offer both telecoms operators and financial services providers with a new route to market.
“Traditionally, providing financial services such as insurance has been expensive and time consuming for the service provider. Now, they have the opportunity to grow their revenue bases by offering pre-paid or ad-hoc solutions that will appeal to individuals who have been ignored through the conventional channels,” explains Parker.
“This will be particularly relevant up into Africa and in rural areas locally, where many of the financial service providers do not have a physical presence. Accessing these subscribers will not only benefit those companies looking to expand their offerings into these markets, but will provide the cellular providers with an additional revenue route.
“And the customers get a service they require at a reasonable cost. It’s win-win all round.”