Rating: Implications for mobile billing are key
Last week, Facebook launched its App Center in the USA (without any guidance for when the rest of us will get access). The company’s aim is to make it easier for its 900 million or so users to find apps which they can enjoy and share with friends. Crucially, the App Center features mobile apps as well as web apps. To make it easier for Facebook users to find social apps for their mobile devices, the App Center is now available in the Facebook iOS and Android apps, as well as on Facebook.com. There two things here in GoMobile News‘ view. Firstly, surprise that Facebook didn’t even hint at this when its share price was plummeting through fears that it couldn’t monetise mobile.
Secondly, as MACH’s Michael de Jongh – sales director for mobile billing and payments, points out, there are clear benefits to be derived by operators from the Center’s support for mobile billing.
A key feature of the App Center is that those apps discovered on a desktop computer can thus be sent to a mobile device using a new ‘Send to Mobile’ feature.
If an Android or iOS app requires a download, users will be sent to the Apple iTunes App Store or Google Play (formerly Android Market) in order to install it.
It is our understanding – given that being based in the UK, GoMobile News can’t test out the App Center quite yet – that Facebook apps will prove purchasable through operator billing.
Michael de Jongh observed, “The news that Facebook has begun rolling out a new mobile payments system is certainly good news.
However, direct operator billing will also bring a number of benefits to those operators that are onboard with this venture.”
de Jongh continued, “Through Facebook’s new one-click system, operators will be elevated to the position of a payments service provider.
In an instant, they can place themselves in the e-commerce value chain and start to win market share from players such as PayPal who have hitherto dominated the space.”
de Jongh continued, “New revenue channels will also be opened for operators, who will find themselves with a place in Facebook’s content value chain.
The high volume of payments on the operator’s networks will allow them to drive up revenues for themselves as well as the content provider.
In the future, it is even possible that through DoB (Direct operator Billing) operators will be able to extend their e-commerce credentials into physical goods and services.”
If this situation arises, then the potential benefits to operators will be significant and may fundamentally alter their role for years to come.”
It certainly seems jolly good stuff for mobile operators. Curious that Facebook didn’t leak anything about this before, though.