First generation m-commerce stalling consumer market development in Europe – Qpass


Inadequate business systems are holding back the development of mobile commerce amongst mobile phone users in Europe. This is the key finding of the Qpass ‘Mobile Content Providers Confidence Study’, which examined the views of Europe’s leading content providers, on how the business systems relied upon by mobile network operators (MNOs) support mobile commerce in Europe.

“The value that Qpass brings to the European market is more than four years experience working with the largest mobile operators in the US, who over this time have created a highly successful m-commerce offering for their subscribers,” says Ken Parkinson, sales and business development director, Europe, Qpass.

“So successful, in fact, in the last 18 months one operator in particular has seen growth in revenues of 3,500%. Indeed our customer base in the US will account for more than $200 million of pure m-commerce revenue (i.e. not counting revenue from transport and peer-to-peer SMS).”

The study found that 85% of mobile content providers believe European MNOs (mobile network operators) are constrained by poor or inadequate systems for mobile commerce. Additionally, 70% of mobile content providers reported that they deemed this situation unacceptable and that European MNOs have inadequate business systems compared to MNOs in other geographical regions.

“The problems stifling European m-commerce, such as poor time-to-market for new content, inflexible pricing and an inability to market products are all caused by outdated systems for managing mobile commerce business,” explains Parkinson.

Mobile commerce content providers jointly ranked time-to-market for new content and the inability to link seamlessly into MNO billing systems as the key issues holding back consumer adoption of m-commerce and future revenue growth. In addition, inability to support a flexible pricing model and a lack of real-time sales analysis from MNOs were jointly ranked as the second issue holding back consumer adoption and revenue growth.

“European mobile content providers are clearly struggling to work within the confines of first generation m-commerce platforms,” continues Parkinson. “They need to develop and promote products in real time, rather than taking months as is currently the case, and extract sales information in real time, rather than being tied to a billing cycle. If MNOs do not provided solutions to these problems, they will continue to haemorrhage revenues.”

“The Qpass platform will be capable of supporting not only micro but also macro payment transactions and will be compatible with multiple payment associations like Simpay,” he adds.

“From our experience with customers in the US we have also developed additional workflow based merchant acquiring and product/offer submission, dramatically reducing the time taken for merchants to put their content on the operator’s portal from months to days.”

Between August 23 and September 6, Qpass interviewed 20 European mobile content providers, whose offerings included ring tones, images, messaging, games and information services. More than two-thirds of these content providers reported that it typically took longer than a month to release new content products once a distribution agreement had been signed with a MNO; 40% reported that it took more than two months; and 25% more than three months. The majority of content providers reported that the time taken to release new content products was unacceptable.


Ken Parkinson

Tel: +44 7904 881339