Carrier Direct Billing Example

71362443What happened? – Details and Explanation:

Carrier Direct Billing or Direct Operator Billing is the latest way for users to pay Content Providers for products, services or content via their mobile phone bill. It means that users do not require a credit card or membership to access certain types of content. Charges for the content are applied directly to the user’s mobile phone bill.

In the event that you have not done so yet, we strongly advise that you contact your phone provider and request that ‘Premium Services’ (Carrier Direct Billing) are blocked, in order to avoid any further charges from such sources.

There are two (2) methods by which Content providers charge a user;

  • Accessing Content via 3G or 4G internet compatible phone: When users visit the content providers marketing page on a 3G, 4G or 5G internet compatible device they will be asked to subscribe by pressing a button that says ‘Subscribe’. When a user presses the ‘subscribe’ button the user’s subscription is verified by the content provider as well as the users telephone carrier. This verification is achieved by the network communicating with the phone itself at carrier level.

Once the subscription has been verified the user receives a message via SMS such as:

FREEMSG: Great, you are subscribed to {name}. Play {service} and win prizes {amount}/week, help? (Telephone number) Stop? Send stop to {shortcake}

  • Accessing Content on a desktop PC, tablet or device not connected to a mobile network: When a user reaches content providers marketing page and no 3G or 4G carrier network connection can be determined, they must enter their mobile number into a field as well as press a ‘subscribe’ button. Upon submission the content provider sends an SMS with a unique pin code to the entered mobile number. Subsequently, the user fills in this pin code on the content providers web page, so that the user’s identity and phone number are identified, cross-checked and confirmed.

FREEMSG: 123456 is your verification code to confirm your identity. Please ignore this message if you did not request a verification code.

Once the user enters the verification code into the web page, the subscription is deemed as being verified and charges start. The user will receive a message similar to:

FREEMSG: you have been charged {amount}/week for your {service}. help? {telephone number}. Stop? Send stop to {short code}

This ‘double opt-in’ mechanism prevents someone subscribing another person’s phone number to a competition without that person’s knowledge. Again, in this free SMS message, the costs, how to opt-out and the game’s helpline details must be stated.

In the majority of cases a user comes to be subscribed on an online (internet) based marketing campaign, for instance: “Win a mobile phone!“.

On the marketing page where the participant fills in their phone number or subscribes, the T&C’s and the costs to participate in the campaign must be stated.

Once a user has subscribed, the content provider may ask them to take part in a weekly Game/Quiz and or Survey to be eligible for the prize or gain extra points into the competition as indicated on the marketing page.

Please Note: Because these services are subscription services, the user will continue to be charged unless they end their subscription. Deleting a message will not stop future or existing costs.

Reminder messages

In most countries, every time a user reaches a certain accumulated spend, a courtesy SMS message stating “You have spent ‘amount’” will be sent to the users phone. This message, again, must include the opt-out instructions, helpline number and weekly price for the subscription.