Mobile operators are placing themselves at the centre of a burgeoning ecosystem as revenues from mobile content, monetised through direct carrier billing, is expected to rise from $2bn last year to more than $13bn by 2017, according to a new report from Juniper Research.
Software giant Microsoft is looking to gain ground on its mobile operating system rivals by extending its carrier billing capabilities for its Windows Phone Store app store.
Spanish operator group Telefonica has signed a deal to step up its carrier billing capabilities. The operator group has teamed up with mobile money solutions provider Mopay, granting it direct access to Telefónica’s billing platform BlueVia.
Internet browser developer Opera Software has teamed up with mobile commerce firm Neomobile to bring m-payment services to users of Opera Mobile.
Russia’s second largest mobile operator, VimpelCom, has implemented a carrier billing model with Google, allowing users to purchase app store content via their mobile phone bill.
More than a third of smartphone users in Europe are thought to pay for applications via operator billing, according to research released on Wednesday.
Google’s mobile wallet venture has become a commercial reality, although it remains very much in its infancy. A trial was announced in May and, at present, the service is supported only by the Samsung Nexus S 4G (WiMAX) handset on the Sprint network in the US, although the retail side is supported by the MasterCard PayPass network
Right now it seems like operators are falling over themselves to establish direct carrier billing functionality. Telefónica, which already signed up Boku earlier this week, seems to be spreading its bets through a secondary deal with PaymentOne.
Telefónica’s global API program, BlueVia, has this week released a new billing API designed to cater to carrier billing functionality for app developers.
Vodafone has begun rolling out direct operator billing for apps sold through the Android Market, allowing users to charge purchases direct to their phone bill.
Mobile games developer PopCap, recently acquired by Electronic Arts, has struck a global agreement with handset vendor Sony Ericsson to pre-load its games on Xperia devices.