Interesting news has reached us that Skype users will soon be able to buy Skype credit by charging the cost to their mobile bill – operator billing.
The move should give some momentum to operator billing for the desktop, where Skype is strong with its VoIP client, supporting some one hundred billion minutes of calls per quarter. It’s also a mark of Skype’s acceptance into the operator community, which has traditionally seen Skype as a dire threat to its business. More particularly, this is an interesting example of how mobile operators can generate business upside from the replacement of fixed line operators by disruptive services like Skype.
Bango is focused on bringing operator billing to mobile devices, rather than fixed line services – with a decade of experience in the mobile space, we’re ‘mobile first’. As the focus of online revenue has migrated from the PC to mobile devices, the massive strategic challenge is to monetize on mobile. To convert browsers into buyers. The central approach is to provide a frictionless payment experience, one-click where possible, replacing the fiddly and failure prone reliance on the credit card with the mass market of phone and phone bill.
Bango’s approach to operator billing is unique. We use our pervasive presence across the mobile web to create a platform effect, identifying hundreds of millions of users and maximizing the number of one-click payments. As new partners plug into Bango, the whole ecosystem benefits. In short, more users convert and pay.
Because of this, Bango has become the mobile payment platform of choice for the world’s leading app stores, operators and content providers. With more than 90 operator connections in place around the world, Bango has launched operator billing for Facebook, RIM, Opera Mobile Store and operator-led connections to Google Play for Android. Additionally, Bango has announced an agreement to provide payment services to Amazon and has become a technology partner for Mastercard’s PayPass mobile wallet. BlackBerry music, paid for on a user’s mobile phone bill, is a powerful example of mobile operators partnering with Bango and BlackBerry to take a share of revenues otherwise ‘lost’ to Apple and credit card companies.
As Microsoft, which owns Skype, begins to make progress in mobile, the relationship Microsoft has with Bango for mobile payments for apps could become useful for services like Skype, if that achieves success on mobile devices. We welcome Skype’s announcement, and look forward to the day when operator billing on the desktop is as prevalent as it’s becoming on the mobile device.