The Rise of Direct Carrier Billing Across the Global Payment Ecosystem

The global digital landscape is evolving swiftly with high rates of mobile penetration across the world even among the unbanked population. This has led to rapid changes in digital consumption patterns which fuel the need for swift, seamless, and secure payments. Rising to the occasion is Direct Carrier Billing (DCB). It has the upper hand compared to other payment modes.

The ease of transaction via DCB is what is leading the global market penetration. It is set to experience significant growth. The key highlight of this rise is the African region which is estimated 84% rise in revenue in 2023. But still, ensuring secure and seamless DCB transactions remains a cause of concern.

Let’s take a closer look at how various regions flourish with Direct Carrier Billing.

The Global Prospects of DCB

Direct Carrier Billing (DCB) has emerged as a powerful and convenient payment method that is rapidly gaining popularity across the world. In coming years, the DCB market size is all set to expand and grow at a notable CAGR of 13.13% in 2030 and is estimated to surpass US $115.72 billion by 2030.

So, what’s propelling DCB?

The answer is quite simple – need to make quick payments without any KYC or OTP. All it needs is a mobile phone and an active mobile number for billing. This has helped DCB find its foothold among the unbanked population in regions such as North Africa where internet penetration is limited and in the APAC region where high media consumption rates are driving DCB growth.

According to research, 49% of DCB growth originates from Asia Pacific regions. But the challenge is the fragmented market and competition from digital wallets.

Emerging DCB Markets:

The emerging market geographies make up almost 60% of the DCB market value.

Surprised? Don’t be. Factor in the high penetration of mobiles compared to emerging market’s unbanked population, then the number will look quite obvious.

Carrier billing is the most prominent means of online transactions among the unbanked population. People with pre-paid can simply top up and begin spending. For Postpaid users, it could also be the source of credit with buy now pay later as the operator’s monthly bill.

The key emerging market for DCB is the Middle East & Africa, where half of the population is unbanked, reaching as high as 70% in countries like Morocco, and in Central & South America, nearly 40% of the population is unbanked.

This can translate almost directly into growth rates. End-user spending via carrier billing is expected to grow fastest in regions like Latin America with a rapid CAGR of 41 % by 2025.

The Asia region (excluding the Far East & China), Africa, and the Middle East are not far behind, growing the second fastest at 24% CAGR to 2025.

A secure environment is also essential for expanding DCB into new markets, particularly in emerging economies where DCB has the potential to revolutionize access to digital goods and services. These markets may be more vulnerable to fraud, so implementing a secure payment system is critical to ensure that DCB is seen as a trusted and reliable payment method.

The DCB Ecosystem


The region is one of the fastest-growing DCB markets in terms of mobile connections, with a big percentage of the population owning mobile phones.

In a survey, 19% of consumers from the MENA region used cashless payment options last year. This is quite significant as the use of mobile payment methods is on the rise in the region. Another fact that came out of the survey was that 64% of consumers used one digital payment option at least. This also includes DCB (Source: FinTech News 2023). This highlights how payment systems are being adopted by the region.

The emerging markets, such as ticketing, online gaming, and physical goods, have a projected YoY growth rate of 31%, 57%, and 40%, respectively, for the next four years. It is a sector already showing signs of high potential. This year will close with $7M in ticket sales in Africa and the Middle East region. Specifically, these categories will represent an expense of $86M in 2022.

Credit card ownership in these countries is not widespread with only a small percentage of users. Therefore, options like DCB come along as a reliable and practical solution.


The region spent about $89 million for digital content and services in 2022 via Direct Carrier Billing (DCB) with a year-on-year growth rate of 16% and above. Between 2022-2026 it’s all set to reach $159M in 2026. (Source: “DCB Evolution and Trends 2022-2026” by Telecom)

DCB spending in South Africa represents around 15% of the global market in Africa and the Middle East, placing it as one of the most relevant countries by billing. South Africans currently spend an average of $4.2 per month on digital content. By 2026, this average figure will reach $5.5/month/user.

The digital market is largely the one that most stimulate users when it comes to paying for their purchases through the operator. The most popular content paid with DCB is, in order, video games, videos, and music.


It is estimated that the Asia-Pacific direct carrier billing market will grow at a CAGR of 14.52% during the 2019-2028 period, with Japan currently leading the adoption of this mobile-based digital payment mode. One of the biggest reasons for the stupendous growth of DCB is a steady increase in the usage of mobile phones and smartphones in the region.

Developed Markets

Even in geographies where a high percentage of the population is banked, DCB provides opportunity. Looking at younger generations, there is lower credit card adoption, and as an age group who grew up with mobile phones, DCB is a more natural option.

In the United States, only 50% of Gen Z have a credit card. Even among the card holders, the use is far less at 1.5 cards on average as compared to 4 credit cards for the average American.

Win-Win for businesses, direct carrier billing is an obvious win as it provides.

  1. Access to more customers (including those without bank accounts)
  2. Improved conversion (transactions made using DCB have lower abandonment rates)
  3. Enables provision of an enhanced user experience (great for repeat business)

Final Thoughts

The growth of DCB is particularly promising in emerging and high-growth markets such as Africa and the Middle East, where sectors like mobile ticketing, sports content, health, and fitness are expected to see the most growth. For example, the potential for DCB in regions like Africa is enormous with many unbanked populations. By implementing a long-term vision and smart DCB payment strategies, Telecom operators can fully realize the immense potential of the African market.

As the global payment ecosystem continues to evolve, it is clear that DCB will play an increasingly important role in the future of digital payments.

However, with the rise of DCB transactions, the risk of fraud is also increasing. This is where mFilterIt’s DCB Ad fraud solution comes into play. The solution offers a comprehensive approach to mitigate fraud and ensure secure transactions, protecting both users and businesses.

A more seamless & secure DCB ecosystem can help tap into the growing market potential. By integrating mFilterIt’s DCB Anti-fraud solution into their payment systems, businesses can not only safeguard their transactions but also increase customer trust and loyalty. The solution offers a range of features like real-time transaction validation and 24/7 monitoring to prevent unauthorized transactions and detect fraud attempts.

Get in touch to learn more about the Direct Carrier Billing.


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