Join Date: Feb 2005
Mobile content industry decries pricing
Mobile content industry decries pricing policies
That's funny, we thought you were in charge
By Tony Dennis: Sunday 29 July 2007
GOOD OLD Andrew Bud, executive chairman of Mblox, has launched a stinging attack on the mobile content industry's pricing policies.
"A video clip that customers thought they were buying for £1.50 [can cost] £16.50," Bud told the Mail on Sunday. That's because some Virgin Mobile customers can end up paying a whopping £5 per megabyte.
He goes on to complain that, "The situation is scandalous and it could strangle the [mobile content] industry at birth." Indeed it could.
Unfortunately for poor Andrew, on paper it looks like he could be doing something about it. For starters, Bud is a board member of the industry enforcer, ICSTIS. Soon to be known as Phonepayplus.
That's the same body which fined Mblox over the Crazy Frog scandal. This was part of the judgement … "The Hearing Panel has made clear that consumers should not be made to work to find out what any premium rate service involves or costs."
Which is exactly what Bud is now complaining about.
The judgement continued ..."Although the Panel found that there was no fraudulent or malicious intent behind the service, the companies concerned showed a careless disregard and unprofessional attitude to consumers in failing to be clear on the exact nature of the service."
That was back in 2005. Nothing, according to Bud, has apparently changed in the meantime. Which is surprising since in addition to sitting on the Phonepayplus board, Andrew Bud is also executive chairman of the MEF.
That's the Mobile Entertainment Forum which labels itself the "Global Voice of Mobile Entertainment."
So if being inside Phonepayplus and the MEF hasn't helped matters, who exactly can force the provision of mobile content to be done in a clear and transparent manner?
It's good to see the media has started to connect some of the Icstis board with this mis-selling of premium rate crap.
Mobile music price 'scandal'
Simon Fluendy, Financial Mail
29 July 2007, 11:04am
Buying music and video clips with mobile phones is a minefield of hidden charges that leaves even industry experts confused, Financial Mail has established.
The situation is so bad that senior figures in the industry are going public in a bid to push for a single, clear system. In some cases, customers can end up paying £16.50 for a download for which they think they are paying only £1.50.
Andrew Bud, executive chairman of mBlox, which helps content providers such as record companies and movie makers sell products to phone owners, said operators such as O2, Vodafone, Virgin Mobile and Orange had made it impossible for phone users to understand the cost of downloading a song or video clip.
Once customers have paid a fee to buy a song or ringtone, they are often also billed separately for the amount of data downloaded. 'It can change the cost of a video clip that customers thought they were buying for £1.50 to £16.50,' said Bud.
There is huge variation in the charges of networks and contracts and it is hard to find out which will apply, he said.
'We had a Cambridge MBA student on an internship here,' he said. 'He spent a day going through mobile phone firms' websites and was completely at sea as to the costs. We are not talking about a young student here, but a 30-year-old executive with experience in telecoms. The situation is scandalous and it could strangle the industry at birth.'
Virgin Mobile is the most expensive network, charging some customers £5 a megabyte (MB), with the average pop song taking up two to three MB. O2 charges £3 for one MB, Orange £4, while some customers of the 3 network pay £1 per MB.
Vodafone charges just £1 a day for up to 15MB of data and asks £2 a MB thereafter. Bud thinks the solution is for data providers to pay download fees through deals with operators.
An O2 spokesman said customers had to be informed of charges when they bought their phones. Orange said customers were usually charged a flat rate for data and payments were transparent.
'It is like going to a store to buy a bargain bed or sofa,' an industry source said. 'If you're 100 miles away and drive a big car, it's up to you to recognise the petrol will cost money.'
It makes more sense now I've got the right article.
is it to do with this?
Last edited by El Gringo; 29-July-2007 at 23:15.