Going for a Zong – eBay buys mobile payer

Rating: High hopes of addressing four billion phone users

It seems that at least one US based giant, eBay, has recognised the value of having a mobile arm which can process payments for mobile phone users. Consequently, it has announced its intention to buy the mobile-payments company, Zong, for about $240 million. The advantage is that Zong possesses connexions with over 250 different mobile operators in 45 countries worldwide. eBay already has a payments arm, PayPal, and the company is obviously hoping that Zong will help build its position in mobile payments. PayPal virtually disenfranchises the young and the unbanked – two of the most important sectors amongst mobile phone users. The question is – who will be next? Android fans find it incredibly hard to make purchases from the Android Market, so maybe Google should have bought Zong, perhaps? And Bango surely must be an ideal target for anyone wanting to get into the mobile payments business. The most important feature about Zong is that it makes it possible for mobile phone users to make purchases via carrier billing.

This is a major advantage given the growth in the digital goods market. For goods read apps or games.

PayPal’s president, Scott Thompson, commented, “We believe that Zong will strengthen this value by helping us reach the more than four billion people who have mobile phones, giving them more choice and security when they pay.”

GoMo News wonders just how many of those four billion are unbanked? At least one billion?

What’s interesting is that Zong is behind digital goods payments systems used by both Facebook (Credits) and MySpace – mainly to buy games. This is where Zong appears to have first worked closely with PayPal.

The big question is … how will Amazon react to this latest move by eBay?

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