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PRS Regulator Highlights Mobile Growth Areas

Andy Penfold

The premium rate service (PRS) regulatory body, PhonepayPlus, has identified social networking and mobile internet as potential growth areas for PRS. In its annual report, PhonepayPlus tfound that the market for virtual goods, bought using PRS on social networking sites, grew by over 400 per cent last year - up from £1.5m in 2009 to £8.1m in 2010. 

The overall market for PRS grew slightly in 2010, according to the figures. According to the PhonepayPlus report, the PRS market was up from £810.1m in 2009 to £816.2m in 2010 - a rise of 0.8 per cent. 

PhonepayPlus's annual market report is released as the regulator prepares to publish a new Code of Practice for the PRS industry. The new Code of Practice moves from a "rules-based to an outcomes-focused approach to the regulation of the PRS industry" according to the organisation. 

Paul Whiteing, PhonepayPlus chief executive, says: "The landscape for PRS is changing fast. We need regulation that allows industry to take full advantage of the opportunities that such innovation throws up while always keeping in full view the need to pre-empt and prevent consumer harm."

The report found that a decrease in income and disinterest in the services offered were the most common reasons for consumers not to use more PRS services. Only 3 per cent of phone-paid service users cited "lack of trust of the companies offering these services" as the reason they weren't interested in using additional types of phone-paid services.