For a company entering the wireless services part of the business, or indeed a carrier entering the M2M market, billing is pivotal to success. In M2M, billing is not as straightforward as in basic consumer services that may include all-you-can-eat plans generally based on fixed rates. M2M demands a variety of options not suitable for consumers that includes billing a chain of customers and resellers as well as the end-users.
Despite the obvious need to produce invoices for the collection of revenue, providing name-branded billing services to VAR’s and their resellers and calculating revenue splits and commissions, are pivotal to the success of the business. To help you better understand the needs of an M2M billing server or service, the following paragraphs describe the area of business in which a wireless provider could find itself. There are three types of wireless service providers in an M2M business:
- Wireless carrier
- Wireless aggregator and VAR
- Wireless services reseller
Generally, a wireless carrier is the least ideal direct service provider for M2M given its limited understanding of wireless data and vertical markets in general. Carriers tend to shy away from markets and technologies they do not understand, and thus they would be undesirable business partners for a number of reasons including:
- Their billing services and technical support centers are not geared towards M2M
- One carrier can only provide the coverage and reliability of one carrier
- Their data plans are generally not oriented to M2M and the various schemes demanded by M2M solution providers
The only instance in which a carrier would be ideal to work with would be when a division is created to deal exclusively with M2M, and infrastructure and staff are in place to deal with the demands of M2M customers. This includes a variety of billing services, afforded to each customer for their individual demands that will spread across direct customers, VAR’s and resellers.
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