Reverse billing not yet viable

"Huge problems" with SMS (Short Messaging Service) mean that implementing reverse billing services is not yet viable, the head of...

"Huge problems" with SMS (Short Messaging Service) mean that implementing reverse billing services is not yet viable, the head of interactive services at TV company GMTV warned this week.

Margaret Sawdon, who has overseen a number of successful premium number-based subscription SMS services for GMTV, said the UK's network providers need to agree on a short code standard to boost the business potential of reverse billing - where mobile users pay to receive rather than send SMS messages.

Each of the four network providers - Vodafone, Orange, One2One and BT Cellnet - use different short codes and pricing structures, meaning that promoting SMS services on air is often complex.

"At the moment, there are huge problems with SMS, which suffers from lots of glitches," said Sawdon. "Until these are ironed out and there is one price tag and one short code - irrespective of network operator - reverse billing will not be viable."

Nevertheless, GMTV will be conducting reverse billing trials when the technology issues have been addressed.

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