In an audacious move that will see it challenge the likes of PayPal and Google Checkout, the infrastructure vendor Ericsson plans to launch a mobile payment system to enable newspaper owners to charge for their content.
When live, users wanting to use the SMS-based Web Pin Opt-in mobile payment service will need to enter their mobile phone number on the web page and are then sent an SMS text message with a four-digit PIN code. The PIN fee is taken from users' mobile operator bills and, when entered back on the web page, gives them either one-off access to individual articles or longer-term access as part of a subscription deal.
While the company claims that its new Opt-in mobile payment system is compliant with the billing systems of more than 60 mobile operators in 15 countries, no content publisher has yet signed up to the service which will be launched this weekend.
This lack of immediate interest could be due to Ericsson's intention to charge publishers up to €1100 a month for the service, together with wanting a share of payment revenue.
However, the company believes that content owners will be attracted to the service following successful trials where users of the mobile payment system generated 10 to 15 times higher conversion rates as a result.
According to Ericsson's UK and Ireland country manager, Peter Garside, the company believes this new mobile payment service has the least barriers to entry: "There's no pre-registration of banking details or anything, the only information you need to give is your mobile number."
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