Hutchison Whampoa’s 3 group has successfully integrated Google Play direct carrier billing into the network of its Austrian subsidiary, 3 Austria. The company has already rolled out the system in Sweden, Ireland and Hong Kong, allowing apps and other digital goods such as books, music, games as well as the music streaming service Music All Access to be paid for via the mobile bill.
According to a report published by Juniper Research operators are set to lose $14 billion worth of voice and messaging traffic to OTTs such as WhatsApp, Facebook and Skype in 2014 alone. The report claimed operators in many markets, including the UK, Italy and Spain, have seen 60% decrease in mobile voice revenues in five years.
Telefónica’s UK mobile operation, O2, on Tuesday said that its customers can now pay for items in the Google Play store through direct carrier billing —adding the cost of apps and content into their monthly bill or deducting it from their prepay credit.
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.
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.
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.