UK direct carrier billing (DCB) firm Infomedia is seeking to expand its presence in the Middle East, and expects to sign up additional carrier partners over the short- to medium-term.

The firm has existing partnerships with the UAE’s Etisalat, Zain in Bahrain and Orange and Etisalat in Egypt.

DCB allows mobile phone subscribers to purchase online content without the use of a credit card. The micropayments are charged along with the telecoms service charges that a customer incurs during a billing period.

The payment option is seen as quicker and safer for a certain segment of online content users. “The transaction is linked to the device …. No personal data is passed on to the telecoms company and the payment can be completed in two [mouse] clicks,” Michael Tomlins, CEO of Infomedia, tells MEED.

Tomlins says a DCB mechanism could potentially help curb the level of content piracy in the region. “The problem of piracy could be linked in part to the lack of availability of a payment mechanism,” the executive explains, adding that a DCB system is an effective tool to achieve a higher level of financial inclusion across the Middle East region, where four out of five adults do not have a bank account as well as a credit card.

Tomlins says government initiatives in various countries in the region to transform key cities into a smart and connected city provide great opportunities for the adoption of innovation and new services such as DCB.

In addition to the purchase on online content, other potential applications for DCBs include car parking space payment and purchase of physical products.

As a telecoms product, a DCB service is regulated by a telecoms not a financial regulatory authority.