Friday, November 28, 2003

Sms-services onder vuur

De Automatisering Gids rapporteert over een nieuwsbericht in de Wall Street Journal. Hieruit blijkt dat Europese Consumentenorganisaties geklaagd hebben over de hoge tarieven die voor de via de mobiele telefoon verzonden korte tekstberichtjes worden gerekend.

Volgens de Franse consumentenorganisatie UFC-Que Choisir betalen alleen al Franse consumenten ieder jaar 400 miljoen euro teveel voor hun SMS-berichten. De winstmarge op de tekstberichten zou volgens UFC-Que Choisir 82 procent bedragen. Dat is volgens het onderzoeksbureau Idate een realistisch percentage. Idate schat de Europese omzet van aanbieders van SMS-diensten op 11,7 miljard euro in 2002.

Interessant genoeg kwam dit thema ook tijdens de gisteren gehouden GTIAD ter sprake. Duidelijk werd daar dat de service fees van gereguleerde betalings-processors tussen de 5 a 15 % belopen, terwijl door telecomoperators bij de niet-gereguleerde SMS en premium SMS-dienstverlening service fees worden berekend van 30-60 %. De voorzitter van de meeting nam de suggestie van telco's dat de Europese Commissie meer intern moest communiceren ter harte en gaf aan dat hij zeker zou overwegen ook het directoraat concurrentie/marktwerking bij de discussie te involveren.

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

GTIAD bij E-merce, prepaid-systeem voor webhosting

Jan Libbenga gaat bij E-merce verder in op de mogelijke uitkomst van de GTIAD meeting over de juiste toepassing van elektronisch geld regels. Belangrijkste gevolg voor de consument is dat beltegoeden niet meer mogen verdampen maar op verzoek aan de gebruiker terug gestort moeten worden. Voor bedrijven is het gevolg dat elke aanbieder van pre-paid betaalmiddelen die gebruikt worden voor betaling aan derden, onder dezelfde toezichtsregels valt.

Eén van die aanbieders; Wallie timmert overigens aardig aan de weg en is op steeds meer plaatsen te verkrijgen. Eerder werd ook in E-merce gewag gemaakt van een prepaid systeem for webhosting. Het produkt heet PrePaidWebHost.nl en de aanbieder is NetMasters BV. Betaling voor de ISP-services geschiedt vooraf door middel van of de Wallie-card of een incassobetaling.

Monday, November 24, 2003

The Electronic Money Directive: Recapitulation and outlook

Today, 1.1a2 released this working paper, to be distributed to the members of the GTIAD, the working group for interpretation and application of banking directives (read this pdf for more info on the institutional role of the GTIAD as an advisory council).

The summary of our position in the working paper, which will be further explained during the morning session of the GTIAD meeting, reads:
1.1a2, the Association for E-money Institutions in the Netherlands, is the representative organisation for e-money issuers in the Netherlands. It envisages an e-money market of:
- credit institutions offering e-money products,
- e-money institutions offering e-money in remote e-wallets / m-wallets / ISP-wallets / cable-wallets
- technology providers, supplying white-labelled e-money solutions.
Already we see this market developing, both nationally and in Europe.

One of the main legal problems in the Dutch market is still the un-equal treatment of mobile telecom operators offering e-money and those that use other channels (Internet or e-money card sold through retail outlets). Thus, some non-regulated operators make considerable profits while others have little income and bear the cost of supervision and complying with supervisory rules.

In order to help create a level national and European playing field, 1.1a2 aims to contribute to the current discussion on e-money by providing both a historical overview on the E-money directive and an outlook on the e-money systems in the future. We think such an approach may be useful, in order to see that many arguments that are now on the table, already were presented earlier, were taken into account and actually led to the current lightweight regime for e-money issuers. In addition, the approach shows the pivotal role of a technology neutral approach.

1.1a2 recognizes that both institutional and market players may view the GTIAD-meeting as a way to influence a regulatory debate in their own interests. However, we would like to stress the need to respect the agreed institutional roles and procedures. The EMI-directive was promulgated. Local regulators have implemented it in various ways. And supervisors are now working on the basis of these local legal frameworks. The current role and competence of the GTIAD is only to clarify the meaning of the two central concepts in the e-money debate: electronic money and electronic money institutions. Having done so, determining the consequences for local regulation are an issue for the local regulators and subsequently affect the conduct of the competent supervisors.

As a consequence of the above, 1.1a2 rejects all suggestions in the debate that come down to agenda coupling (trying to solve the issue by linking it to the discussion on the legal framework in the single payments area) or industry specific lobby-efforts (trying to get an industry specific or technology specific exemption). It should be noted that most of the main e-money players of the future (ISP’s, cable providers, etc) are currently not present at this meeting, although the outcome will be of significant relevance to them. Still, the decision of the GTIAD should also reflect those interests. In order to make sure that all future occurrences of pre-paid payment mechanisms (and whether or not these classify as e-money) are taken into consideration, we have provided a framework that may be helpful.

1.1a2 notes that the GTIAD-advice will be a historical one for many reasons. It will not only clarify the legal framework for e-money players, but will also set an incentive structure for the conduct of market players and regulators. We hope that the decision will signal to all players, the benefits of acting timely, consciously and properly in the light of foreseeable EU-regulation. If -by any chance- the decision would favour different conduct, it may be detrimental not only for the development of the e-money market at hand, but also for the legitimacy of the European Union and all it stands for.

Friday, November 21, 2003

TSI Launches SIM Controlled Prepaid Roaming

A further look at the future reveals that interoperability will be ensured for all mobile phone users, including the use of value added service networks. See this press release of TSI about the launch of SIM Controlled Prepaid Roaming.

Thursday, November 20, 2003

M-payments are e-money, but when ?

This article in Mobile Today explains the position of third party payment agents that will fall under the e-money directive. It also hints at the EU-situation (although in the legal sense of the word it should be noted that the directive is already implemented and the issue is more about compliance than anything else).

Meanwhile, the EU is expected to delay its decision on the emoney directive for at least six months, which will allow the industry to continue providing pre-pay m-payments.

According to sources, the directive – which will ban pre-pay users from paying for third-party (non-operator) goods and services – was provisionally scheduled for enforcement at the end of this month, but is now delayed.

Bango, which has claimed significant growth over the last six to nine months, warned the industry to avoid jumping the gun on the legislation.

‘This will benefit the industry, which can continue providing m-payment services as it is,’ said Anil Malhotra, Bango VP of alliances and marketing.

‘But we should steer away from enabling pre-pay customers to buy third party goods on handsets or we could be sued.’

The EU directive could impact on Bango’s m-payment provision growth prospects, which currently focuses on contract customers.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Pre-paid i-mode as web e-money-model

RCR Wireless News reports breaking news. KPN is to launch prepaid i-mode. Their explanation shows how business models (web, phone) are merging:
The service will allow users to recharge their accounts using a Web site, be charged on the value of each service, and have real-time redirection and enforcement based on available funds.

Link naar meer algemeen weblog over betalingsverkeer

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