Microsoft to super charge mobile commerce on Windows Phone following Bango deal

27 Jun 2013

In a move that could have significant consequences for the growth of mobile commerce on Windows Phone devices, Microsoft has forged a deal with mobile payments player Bango to enable direct operator billing for app purchases. The first mobile operator to switch on the billing platform is Indosat in Indonesia.

The payment platform – also used by Facebook, Amazon, BlackBerry, Opera and Google – enables users to easily purchase digital content in one click without the use of premium SMS or the limitations of credit cards.

Where Bango has introduced operator billing to developed markets with high credit card penetration, the sales of digital goods has routinely increased by 300pc to 400pc. When introduced to emerging markets, Bango has seen increases in the range of 1,000pc, the company said.

Microsoft research reveals that operator billing, when offered, is preferred by 75pc of Windows Phone users who have access to it and drives more than double the number of paid downloads compared to credit card billing. In markets such as Indonesia, Bango data shows that more than 90pc of customers use operator billing, for many, it is the only way to pay online.

“Mobile operator billing gives consumers a convenient payment option with significantly higher conversion rates than credit cards, greatly benefiting Windows Phone 8 customers and developers,” said Todd Brix, general manager, Windows Phone Store, Microsoft.

“We’re happy to see companies like Bango and Indosat working together to expand monetisation opportunities for developers and provide seamless purchasing experiences for Windows Phone users.”

Bango has also announced an agreement to provide payment services to Amazon and Mozilla’s soon-to-launch Firefox Marketplace. Bango recently announced it had reached 100 mobile operator connections globally, and a reach of more than 1bn mobile subscribers.

“Bango is experiencing huge interest from the operator community in markets where other payment methods are scarce, with operators in Indonesia and India particularly engaged,” Bango CEO Ray Anderson said.

“Today’s launch is exciting as it marks our first integration with Windows Phone Store and further progress in Indonesia, a country with the largest smartphone market across all of south-east Asia,” Anderson added.

Mobile payments image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years