Rating: Strikes deal with Facebook, RIM, Microsoft and Google
Many have talked about helping to monetise mobile content but Telefónica Digital has made serious strides ahead with the partnerships it has announced for its ‘Direct to bill’ payments platform. Its partnerships read like a Who’s Who of the mobile industry and includes: -RIM (BlackBerry App World); Microsoft (Windows Phone Marketplace); Google (Play); and Facebook. In developed markets the platform offers Telefónica/O2/Movistar customers a convenient form of payment. In emerging markets Direct to bill is a means of targeting the unbanked. Mathew Key, CEO with Telefónica Digital, claimed that in the Latin American regions his company serves something between 60-65 per cent of the population is unbanked.
Telefónica’s global billing platform is already live in Germany and will soon be followed by availabilityfor Movistar customers.
Key claimed that Direct to bill will have gone live with 14 operators by Q1 2013.
For software developers and content owners the advantage will be that they will only need to make the one agreement to reach Telefónica’s 300 million plus customers worldwide.
Another advantage is that Telefónica Digital will take care of the localisation of payments for app developers.
There’s an apocryphal tale of at least one developer who faces arrest for $100,000 worth of local taxes.
“Our data suggests that customers’ propensity to purchase apps on BlackBerry App World increases when this simple, convenient method of purchase is offered,” explained Ronjon Nag, vp for storefronts & payments with RIM.
Nag continued, “This provides for customers an easier way to pay for the content they download, and drives greater profitability for developers that create and market mobile content.”
Operator billing is, of course, a growing phenomenon. Recent research from MACH found that over a third of European smartphone users have paid for applications via operator billing.
The above figures are taken from research commissioned by MACH and carried out by Opinium in April 2000 which involved 2,000 consumers in UK and Germany.