There is no other micropayment-tool, no credit card nor any other payment instrument available today which can reach and bill as many people in as many countries as Premium Rate Numbers can. This might be the reason why we see so much sustaining growth in this field at the interface of telecom and financial services.
I have entered the IPRN Segment of telecom industries about seven years ago and still remember how tough it was back then convincing Tier-1 or even any carrier to collaborate with a provider of this service of bad reputation. And there was - no doubt - good reason for them being skeptical. There was plenty of fraud: like hacking PBXs, like highjacking whole country codes, of credit card theft and even worse for the established carriers, there were international whole-pricelists in the market that was full of heavy pricing mistakes and offered enormous arbitrage potentials. No doubt, a kind of wild-west-mentality was around.
But since then - also through our contributions with KWAK - these times have significantly changed! Significantly.
If I look at the PRN markets today there’s hardly - at least as I know it from my experience with KWAK - any PBX hacking happening anymore today. And in the few cases if some old fashioned fraudster gives it a try, our fraud detection systems identify this kind of fraud-traffic within minutes and block the payments.
Also highjacking is not that frequently happening anymore as it used to happen in the past. Since the speed and quality of information between the carriers is accelerating highjacks are exposed rapidly within the market.
And finally the price-lists full of mistakes have disappeared thanks to all the ambitious arbitrageurs who forced the global carrier-community to work more professional or being punished by arbitrage. And at the end of the day this development driven by IPRN was pretty important for the overall quality and balance of today’s telecom-markets.
The fact that value creation with wholesale markets is slightly improving despite heavy competition has one of its important reasons within the IPRN segment and its entrepreneurial players who punish prices below the market interconnection rate immediately and costly.
Maybe it’s about these positive development and aspects why more and more entities within international telecom markets are becoming eager to collaborate with IPRN providers to improve and widen their services and take advantage on their know how and experience within the fields of fraud prevention, call patter analysis and risk management. Even Tier-1 carriers try to find their interest and stake in this kind of business and contribute increasingly in collecting traffic and making numbers globally accessible. A kind of collaboration which was quite unthinkable a couple of years ago.
We realize that the reputation of this industry segment is improving rapidly.
A good reason for this improvement might also be the outstanding profitability of this kind of telco-business in comparison to many other segments what makes IPRN so attractive so an increasing number of players. While the classical retail- and wholesale markets in telecoms are still suffering decreasing margins without any outlook that this trend could change, more and more players discover the stability of margins created through value added services, such as IPRN, as a proper answer on their need to stop the downward trend in their core business.
The second major aspect for the upswing of IPRN services is the desperate need of media-companies to produce revenues. The golden times of advertising revenues are gone and especially for TV- and print-publishers it becomes more difficult to sell their airtime or space at satisfying price. Why? Because competition by internet, private TV-channels, social media, etc. has expanded todays advertising possibilities enormously and puts a lot of pressure on the individual entities.
Premium Rate Numbers provide these media companies to interact directly with their viewers and - even better - to collect money via this interaction from their audience. Famous formats like X-Factor, Dancing with the Stars, Germany seeks the Superstar and many others are solely created for this single purpose: To get the voting call at the end of the show and to collect the 50cents through the Premium Rate Number from the viewer. If we consider that a proper TV format can attract hurts of thousands or sometimes even millions of call - think on Eurovision Songcontest - we see that we are talking about real money and huge business potentials. For media companies as well as for telcos.
At KWAK we see an increasing demand - especially for our international accessible number solutions - which can be used to bill content services - like TV-Shows, Winning-Games, Hotlines, Web Content, etc. - around the world. And through the internationalization of huge parts of the media landscape international billing tools are needed more urgently than ever.
With IPRN we have created a tool-set that fulfills this need efficient, cost effective and globally: If somebody has a phone, we can bill him. And if we consider the global phone penetration we can say: We can bill almost anybody around the world!
This is the major USP (unique selling proposition) of International Premium Rate Numbers. There is no other micropayment-tool, no credit card nor any other payment instrument available which can reach and bill as many people in as many countries as Premium Rate Numbers can.