Home Consumers Prefer Operator Billing to iTunes, PayPal Accounts

Consumers Prefer Operator Billing to iTunes, PayPal Accounts

Consumers prefer operator billing for mobile content purchasing, according to analysts at Strategy Analytics. In a new report authored by Paul Brown, the firm asked consumers in the U.S. and Western Europe to rate their interest level for several different mobile payment options. Surprisingly, operator billing came out on top, even over the use of pre-registered accounts such as iTunes or PayPal and over the use of credit cards/debit cards.

For the survey, Strategy Analytics asked 1,000 consumers in the U.S. and 1,500 in Western Europe to rate how they would prefer to pay for apps, using a scale of 1 – 5. The percentages reported below are based on those who responded either 4 or 5 from the scale provided (4 = interested, 5 = very interested).

In the U.S., 38% of respondents said they would prefer operator billing and 40% said the same in Western Europe. And in both regions, paying for purchases via iTunes or PayPal are preferred over entering either credit card or debit card details.

Preferred Billing Methods

In the U.S., the breakdown is as follows (remember, participants were asked interest levels for each item, not to pick their favorite – these responses aren’t meant to total 100%):

  • 38% – Operator billing
  • 31% – Pre-registered accounts
  • 31% – PayPal
  • 22% – Credit or Debit Card entry, where information is saved
  • 22% – Credit or Debit Card entry, where you re-enter it each time

In Western Europe, the responses were:

  • 40% – Operator billing
  • 26% – PayPal
  • 18% -? Pre-registered accounts
  • 16% -? Credit or Debit Card entry, where you re-enter it each time?
  • ?11% – Credit or Debit Card entry, where information is saved

By Plan Type

When responses were broken down by plan type (pre-paid, post-paid or family plan), responses varied a bit. In the U.S., pre-paid users said they preferred PayPal, a pre-registered account or their credit card, while those on post-paid and family plans still preferred operator billing.

However, in Western Europe, both pre-paid and post-paid respondents showed interest in operator billing, with 44% or post-paid respondents and 30% of pre-paid respondents interested. The second most popular option was then PayPal.

Content Ownership

The report also looked at how consumers prefer to pay for mobile content – via ads, fees or rentals, for example. Not surprisingly, people said they prefer free content.

  • In the U.S., nearly half want free, ad-supported content and 27% said they want to pay a one-time fee to own the content.
  • In Europe, 40% prefer ad-supported content, while one and five prefer a one-time fee to own content.
  • Only 10% in the U.S. and 8% in Europe said they were interested in renting content.

The full report is available via the firm’s website here.

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