Andrew Bud on mBlox’s Sender-Pays Mobile Data offering

At Mobile World Congress, we made a b-line for the mBlox stand to find out more about their Sender-Pays Data offering. It’s highly, highly innovative, still a trial — and only for the UK networks at the moment (with the exception of T-Mobile UK!). Andrew explains the concept in the video, but briefly, here’s the issue:

If you’re a content provider selling, say, a video or a music track via mobile at a cost of £3 — that’s not usually the final cost paid by the user. Data isn’t typically included. So you might end up having to pay £3 to the content provider — and then something stupid like £10 or more — to download the actual content.

Ridiculous and hugely, hugely problematic when you’re trying to encourage the market and prevent user bill shock. Well, mBlox have worked out a model whereby you, as a content provider, can pay for the data downloads of your customers (at, one imagines, a decently advantageous rate) so that the price you advertise your content for is the price the user pays. Rather smart.

Anyway. Over to Andrew to explain.

Find our more about Sender Pays here.

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  • JD

    Aren't most mobile operators moving to a flat rate model on mobile data? 99p a day for up to 50MB, or a flat rate for the month like on the iPhone. I'm not sure this is all that relevant any more, or at least it will be reducing in relevance over the next 2 or 3 years.

  • http://www.mobileindustryreview.com Ewan @ MIR

    If every UK operator introduced that tomorrow, I think we'd definitely see this reducing in relevance, JD. But here's a question for you: I'm thinking about buying an £8 video compilation of Man Utd goals on my mobile. It's 56mb. So will that cost me £8? Or, will that put me over my 50mb/day allowance? If so, what am I going to be charged for the extra data? Will I still pay £8? Or will it be £8 plus £10 per meg? In which case that £8 video will cost me £68. Or will it be £4 per meg over the 50mb limit? In which case that £8 video costs me £24 + £8 = £32.

    But it's ok, I'm on o2, so I only pay £3.50 per meg. Or is it £3? Or is it £2? No, I'm sure it's £1.50 per meg. No wait, it's fair use, isn't it? Or… is it? Who?

    What?

    Screw it. I won't bother buying it. I'll… just… I'll just wait.

    That scenario is going to keep on happening, happening and thrice happening until we get some kind of clear policy. Ergo I really like the transparency of the mBlox offering. Any moves from the operators to fix this issue would be highly useful.

  • jayceedee

    It is definitely an improvement on the current situation but this appears more like a short term opportunity rather than a long term one. If it gives people a clear price for a download then I'm all for it, but I can't help but feel that flat rate mobile internet charges will make this redundant in the next 18 months to 3 years. Still, its a good stopgap.

    I definitely don't get his fixed wireless play, the vast majority of broadband customers are on a flat rate charge and I don't see the content distributors wanting to pay for this, its just net neutrality in another guise.

  • http://www.mobileindustryreview.com Ewan @ MIR

    I can only HOPE that the situation gets better jayceedee… I just don't see that happening at the moment. I'm delighted that, for example, Vodafone has made all of it's new contracts (from memory) inclusive of fair-use mobile data. As long as you don't go nuts, they won't ever bill you extra for data. This is *super*. But what about the PAYG users? Gahh. And I wonder just how many Vodafone contract customers are using inclusive data price plans? A lot of folk won't be. It's messed up. And it's a *REAL* problem for anyone trying to sell content.

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  • Lonster

    This can only be good news for content providers and their customers.

    By having a fixed priced for content the customer knows exactly what they are paying and the content provider can only benefit from increased content downloads/sales as a result.

    Not everybody is on flat rate mobile data plans/tariffs and this will certainly see an increase in revenue from those on PAYG users or those with a zero data allowance.

  • Lonster

    This can only be good news for content providers and their customers.

    By having a fixed priced for content the customer knows exactly what they are paying and the content provider can only benefit from increased content downloads/sales as a result.

    Not everybody is on flat rate mobile data plans/tariffs and this will certainly see an increase in revenue from those on PAYG users or those with a zero data allowance.

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