MX Telecom Reverse Billing SMS Service - Ireland Details

Overview

The MX Telecom Reverse Billing SMS Service is the future of Micro-Payment SMS (Short Messaging Service) billing. There are however several implementation issues that exist with such a service, and are detailed below.

In Ireland, the MX Telecom Reverse Billing SMS Service is currently available on the following networks:

Mobile Operator Subscribers (Sept 2006) SMS Billing
Post-Pay Pre-Pay Total
Vodafone 564,250 1,525,566 2,089,816 Yes
O2 448,043 1,152,109 1,600,152 Yes
Meteor 54,563 627,469 682,032 Yes
Hutchison 3G - - - Yes

Source: ComReg, September 2006

Contents

Before launching a Reverse Billing SMS Service in Ireland, the following issues need to be understood, addressed and implemented:

"Opt-In" and "Opt-Out" Nature of a Reverse Billing SMS Service:

  • Legal Issues

    You must ensure that each User receiving Reverse Billing SMS Text Messages has "Opted-In" for receiving Reverse Billing SMS Text Messages. You must also ensure, that the User can easily "Opt-Out" of such a service as well.

  • Best Implementation Strategy

    Users need to initially send a Normal SMS Text Message into a Short Code "Send-In" number. (For sending in this Normal SMS Text Message, the User will pay their normal text messaging price). This confirms a user has "Opted-In" for the service you are offering. With a User's consent, you are then entitled to keep on sending Reverse Billing SMS Text Messages to that User, as long as the User can somehow "Opt-Out" of the service at any stage. To achieve this "Opt-Out", examples include providing the User with the ability to send a Normal SMS Text Message "Opting-Out" of your service, or a phone number to dial "Opting-Out", or even sending an email cancelling the service subscription.

  • Technical Restrictions

    In order to enforce the above, the MX Telecom SMS Server Reverse Billing Edition will not allow a Reverse Billing SMS to be sent to any User unless they have sent in a Normal Text Message to your Short Code.

Need to ensure the User receiving Reverse Billing SMS Text Messages is on the Correct Network:

  • Legal Issues

    You must ensure that each User receiving Reverse Billing SMS Text Messages is on the correct Mobile Network. For example, if a User is an O2 Ireland subscriber, but signs up to your service which only covers Vodafone Ireland users, then you must ensure you do not send them Vodafone Reverse Billing SMS Text Messages. If not, no revenue will be generated from that user and you will be charged for sending that text message.

  • Best Implementation Strategy

    The only way of confirming 100% that a user is on a certain Network in Ireland, is if they can send a Normal SMS Text Message into a Short Code that is only accessible from their network. In Ireland each mobile network has its own short codes, which can only be accessed by users on that particular network. For example, users on the O2 network cannot send a Text Message into a Vodafone short code. It is possible, however, to set up the same 5-Digit Short Code number on each of the Irish networks.

  • Technical Restrictions

    In order to enforce the above, the MX Telecom SMS Server Reverse Billing Edition will not allow a Reverse Billing SMS to be sent to any User, unless they have sent in a Normal Text Message to your Short Code.

Mobile Terminated versus Mobile Originated Reverse Billing SMS:

  • Issues

    All of the Irish networks offer Mobile Terminated (MT) Reverse Billing SMS. This means the end user is billed for receiving Reverse Billing SMSs. Vodafone also offers Mobile Originated (MO) Premium Rate SMS Billing. This means the end user is billed when they send into a Premium Rate SMS Billing Short Code.

  • Best Implementation Strategy

    Mobile Terminated Reverse Billing SMS offers far more flexibility than Mobile Originated Reverse Billing SMS. The main reason for this lies with the ability to run subscription based services. For example, Users need only send in one normal SMS Text Message with the word "Subscribe", and receive Reverse Billing SMS text messages on their mobile phone each day for the rest of the year. Users do of course, need the ability to unsubscribe to a service should they so choose.

  • Alternative Solutions

    If running a competition or voting service, where the service only requires a user to send in a Text Message, Mobile Originated Reverse Billing SMS would be the preferred option. However, using Mobile Terminated Reverse Billing SMS, you can simply reply to the User who has voted / entered a competition, with a Reverse Billing SMS Text Message informing them that their vote / entry has been received.

Keyword or Short Code Approach?:

  • Legal Issues

    MX Telecom offers companies the ability to have either their own Short Codes, or instead use use a shared Short Code. An added benefit of a dedicated Short Code is the fact that it includes a dedicated billing account from the Mobile Operator.

  • Best Implementation Strategy

    MX Telecom offers the use of its own "Shared Short Codes" or can instead provide you your own Short Code. With a dedicated Short Code, any SMS Text Messages that arrives on your Short Code is automatically sent to you via the Internet. If using a Shared Short Code, a Keyword needs to be chosen. Consequently any SMSs arriving on the Shared Short Code will need to begin with the chosen Keyword(s).

  • Technical Restrictions

    MX Telecom recommends the use of dedicated Short Codes where possible. Companies need to be aware that certain services, such as "Chat" services, where users responses are not based upon a keyword, are not compatible with a Shared Short Code.

Incomplete Revenue Outpayments & Separate Accounts:

  • Legal Issues

    Due to certain billing problems at the Mobile Network level, certain Network Operators do not always outpay 100% of the expected Reverse Billing SMS Revenue generated. Operators will only outpay revenues that they claim they have received themselves. All Reverse Billing SMS contracts take account of this issue.

  • Best Implementation Strategy

    By having a dedicated Short Code, you have your own billing account with each operator, meaning you have full visibility of statistics for all SMS messages sent from that short code.

  • Technical Issues

    A Reverse Billing SMS account, offers live online access to logs detailing sent messages along with a timestamp and the destination mobile phone number are available to each account. Logs also include the SMS messages themselves, as well as your optional sub account details, information notes, and IP addresses.

Advertising & Pricing Issues with Reverse Billing SMS Services:

  • Legal Issues

    All Message Prices need to be clearly identifiable to Service Users. Message Prices should be quoted inclusive of VAT on any promotional material. Users also need to be fully aware of the number of SMS Text Messages they will be receiving, as well as how to "Opt-Out" of a Reverse Billing SMS Service.

  • Best Implementation Strategy

    All advertising needs to be very clear and accurate.

Billing Cycles and Contract Duration:

  • Legal Issues

    As is the case for Premium Rate numbers, billing cycles are based upon Calendar months. Outpayments for each Calendar month are paid 45 days in arrears. The minimum contract duration for a Dedicated Short Code is 12 calendar months and for a Shared Short Codes is 3 calendar months.

  • Best Implementation Strategy

    If a Reverse Billing SMS account is opened midway during a Calendar Month, the revenue outpayments will be based upon that Calendar month only.

How to run a "Subscription" Reverse Billing SMS Service:

  • Legal Issues

    You must ensure that each User receiving Reverse Billing SMS Text Messages as part of a Subscription Service, is fully aware of how expensive and regular the Reverse Billing SMS Text Messages will be. The User needs to have "Opted-In" to the service, as well as have the ability to easily "Opt-out".

  • Best Implementation Strategy

    Reverse Billing SMS is an ideal solution for "Subscription" based services. Unlike Premium Rate numbers, a user can send one single SMS into a Short Code with the word "SUBSCRIBE", and receive a Reverse Billing SMS Text message every day for the rest of the year. The onus is therefore upon the user to unsubscribe from a service, rather than keep on subscribing each day for a Reverse Billing Service.

  • Technical Restrictions

    The MX Telecom SMS Server Reverse Billing Edition will not allow a Reverse Billing SMS to be sent to any User, unless they have sent in a Normal Text Message to your Short Code.

How to run a "Two-Way" Reverse Billing SMS Service:

  • Legal Issues

    You must ensure that each User receiving Reverse Billing SMS Text Messages as part of a standard "Two-Way" Reverse Billing SMS Service, is fully aware of how expensive the resulting Reverse Billing SMS will be. Because standard "Two-Way" messaging only involves a single reply to an information request, there is no need for an "Opt-out" requirement, as only one SMS response is generated.

  • Best Implementation Strategy

    As mentioned in the 8-Bit Smart Messaging and Multi-Part SMS issues section below, some messages (especially 8-bit messages) require more than one SMS Text Message to be sent. Consequently, the User will in fact be billed for each Reverse Billing SMS Text message that he/she receives. Therefore, if for example, a single 2-part ringtone is sent to a User on a 1 Euro Reverse Billing SMS Tariff rate, then the user will actually be billed 2 Euro. The User must be fully informed in such a situation of the costs involved.

  • Technical Restrictions

    The MX Telecom SMS Server Reverse Billing Edition will not allow a Reverse Billing SMS to be sent to any User, unless they have sent in a Normal Text Message to your Short Code.

8-Bit Smart Messaging and Multi-Part SMS issues:

  • Legal Issues

    GSM SMS Text messages have a limitation of 160 characters. For messages that are longer than this, the SMS Server automatically sends a multi part series of SMS Messages. The SMS Server is also able to send certain 8-bit Smart Messages (such as Ringtones, Group Graphics, EMS, Picture Messages and Operator Logos) to certain Nokia, Ericsson and Motorola mobile phones, many of which are multi-part SMS Text Messages. Users will therefore be billed for each multi-part SMS, even though it appears as if they have only received a single SMS Text message on their mobile handset.

  • Best Implementation Strategy

    It is important to check the number of SMS Text Messages that are required for each kind of Smart Message. Many Smart Messages vary in length (especially ringtones, whose length is based upon the duration of the tune).

  • Technical Restrictions

    Please take a look at the Smart Messaging section which details Smart Messaging compatibility and technical issues.

Technical Connection Issues and Limitations:

  • Legal Issues

    The MX Telecom SMS Server Reverse Billing Edition will not allow a Reverse Billing SMS to be sent to any User, unless they have sent in a Normal Text Message to your Short Code.

  • Best Implementation Strategy

    All Reverse Billing SMS Services needs to be based around the concept of a User initially sending an SMS Text Message into a Reverse Billing Short Code.

  • Technical Restrictions

    Although rare, contractually Mobile Operators have the right to delay the transmission of Reverse Billing SMS Text Messages.

  • Delivery Reports

    MX Telecom offers delivery notifications and confirmations of definitive delivery or otherwise of SMSs sent to mobile phones.

Codes of Practice (Regtel)

The key point to remember when implementing a Reverse Billing SMS Service is the "Opt-In" and "Opt-Out" functionality Users need to have. As long as you can prove a User can subscribe and then unsubscribe to a service, the Network Operators will have no issues. For concerns regarding implementation of a Reverse Billing SMS Service, please Contact Us or refer to Regtel (the governing body of Reverse Billed SMS), whose Code of Conduct can be found on the Regtel Website.

Account Setup

Before any premium SMS services are allowed to go live in Ireland, prior permission must be obtained from the Regulator, Regtel. MX Telecom can advise on this process, but please also see the Regtel Website for details. The RegTel approval process generally takes approximately one month.

A Dedicated Short Code needs to be setup directly by an operator. The time required for this can vary, but is usually in the region of 30 working days for each of the Irish networks. Shared Short Codes can usually be set up within 3 - 4 working days, but only once RegTel approval has been received (which takes approximately one month).

Service Level Agreement and Support

The MX Telecom SMS Server uses direct connections into the heart of Mobile Network SMS Centres (SMSCs), providing high capacity, reliable, and fast SMS connectivity, direct to an end users mobile phone. MX Telecom only uses its own leased line connections to various operators, and does not go through any third party providers. It is a complete solution, hosted, designed, developed and supported by MX Telecom.

Although MX Telecom can offer a Service Level Agreement (SLA) for the MX Telecom SMS Server Reverse Billing Service, the SLA only goes as far as MX Telecom delivering or receiving an SMS into or from a Irish Mobile Operators SMS Centre (SMSC). Unfortunately no Irish Mobile Operators currently offer SLAs for their SMS Services.

For more information, please contact us at 1-877-698-3532 or via email at sales@uk.openmarket.com.