The top ten direct carrier billing (DCB) hotspots in Africa driving investment in mobile billing

CONRAD ONYANGO, BIRD

DATA that tracks mobile consumer trends in Africa is shining a spotlight on ten hotspots of innovative mobile payment platforms that allow users to settle bills for goods and services bought online.

The inaugural direct carrier billing (DCB) index, titled, The State of DCB and its Potential per Country, shows Egypt leads other African nations in setting up the most attractive DCB markets on the continent.

“Egypt is a true breeding ground for DCB development. Many local mobile operators and merchants are working together to promote DCB as an effective payment method,” said the index report, prepared by research analysts at Evina, experts in DCB protection, and Telecoming, experts in DCB implementation.

Africa’s young, fast-growing, tech-savvy population is expected to drive the continent to a record 1 billion connections in 2024 and 50 percent subscriber penetration by 2025, according to an earlier study, The Mobile Economy: Sub-Saharan Africa 2020.

Infinity Business Insight projects the global DCB market will nearly double to 70 billion US dollars by 2027, at a compounded annual growth rate of 11.5 percent.

The DCB Index ranks countries based on fraud protection levels, innovation, penetration (based on the number of mobile operators that offer DCB) and growth potential.

Tunisia, Senegal and Morocco were ranked second, third and fourth positions respectively. Tunisia was described in the report as an exciting market. The unlocking of payment gateways in the region by tech giants like Huawei highlights the growth potential of DCB there.

Senegal is already seeing innovative companies leveraging DCB payments to settle life insurance bills via mobile phone and the market there is experiencing a ‘surprisingly high rate of innovation in DCB payment modes,’ says the report.

The popularity of mobile payments in fifth-ranked South Africa, Ivory Coast (6th) and Kenya (7th) is also leading to a high uptake of direct carrier billing products in those countries and points to wider opportunities across the continent.

“DCB has been gaining presence in the region’s digital economy. This innovative indicator shows that many countries are on the right track,” said Roberto Monge, CEO of Telecoming.

In Kenya, the growth of DCB billing is expected to result in new and different uses of DCB, thanks to the highly innovative startup culture there.

In Ghana (8th), DCB penetration is mainly driven by ‘forward-thinking’ African mobile payment providers that leverage DCB services to offer mobile wallets, while in Burkina Faso (9th), where DCB penetration is slightly below the African average, mobile users are eager to use alternative payment methods such as mobile wallets and mobile money, showing promising opportunities for mobile players that want to implement DCB.

Cameroon (10th), with 60 percent of its population reachable through DCB, has drawn many new merchants to the market.

With these high engagement rates, fraudsters are also on the loose – requiring mobile operators to invest in more secure platforms across these markets.

David Lotfi, founder and CEO of Evina, says high rates of fraud can dampen growth in countries looking to maximize the potential of direct carrier billing.

“These findings strongly suggest that anti-fraud measures need to be more extensively and consistently implemented so that DCB becomes not only a widely used, effortless payment method but a source of greater revenue for mobile players,” said Lotfi.

The opportunities to fight fraud also offer opportunities for digital innovation on the continent, where DCB is likely to continue to see substantial growth.

The reports mentioned in this story can be found here:
https://www.telecoming.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/20211014-INFOGRAFIA-DCB-INDEX-EVINA.pdf
https://www.gsma.com/mobileeconomy/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/GSMA_MobileEconomy2020_SSA_Eng.pdf

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