Framework studied to preempt 'knee-jerk' mobile regulation

UK framework and PayforIt brand targeted to boost consumer confidence

The Telecommunications Carriers’ Forum (TCF) is studying a UK mobile payment framework, which it plans to adapt to New Zealand conditions to boost payments from mobile phone and to prevent any “knee-jerk” regulation by government.

Among several significant workstreams on the TCF’s agenda right now, a working party is reviewing the Trusted Mobile Payment Framework, developed by mobile network operators in the UK, and will also review the adoption of the PayforIt brand in New Zealand to spur consumer adoption.

Through the exercise, the TCF hopes to promote a “safe and trustworthy environment under which mobile phone users may purchase goods and services, and charge the cost to their mobile phone accounts”.

The framework separates the payment mechanism from the merchant and defines strict rules for the presentation of payment pages before, during and after the transaction.

New Zealand consumers are increasingly using mobile services as a form of entertainment, the TCF says.

The availability of high-end smart devices and the rise of mobile internet access have resulted in customers increasingly using mobile internet services to obtain content and information.

“While the current management of services is working reasonably effectively, there are still public concerns over misleading advertising and inappropriate use of Mobile Premium Messaging Services,” the TCF says. “This in turn is undermining end user confidence in the market.”

Customers would benefit from a uniform user experience for the purchase of goods and services billed directly to a consumer’s mobile phone, the carrier group says.

The UK framework allows mobile users to buy goods and services from content retailers and charge the cost to their mobile phone account. Merchants use the services of an intermediary payment service provider to facilitate a cross operator charging mechanism.

“By adapting and adopting the PayforIt scheme and framework proactively, the mobile network operators will be seen as being responsible corporate citizens and thereby avoiding any potential ‘knee-jerk’ reactions from government authorities in response to consumer concerns,” the TCF says.

In another workstream, the TCF is developing a self-regulated code of practise for mobile non-premium rate message services.

While current Mobile Non-Premium Rate Services are working effectively, the TCF thinks customers and the industry would benefit from a self regulated industry code of conduct to provide “stronger and clearer guidelines” for non-premium services, it says.

The planned code would be a voluntary and, according to TCF chair, Richard Westlake, may become part of the premium rate code.

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