Bango extends operator billing in Windows phone store

Frictionless mobile payment in fast-growing Indonesian market endorses Bango’s leadership in Direct Operator Billing.

Bango has launched direct operator billing for Microsoft’s Windows Phone Store with the Mobile Network Operator ( MNO ) Indosat in Indonesia. This enables Windows Phone users to easily purchase digital content without the use of premium SMS messages or the limitations of credit cards. Instead, users enjoy one-click operator billing, charging the cost to their phone bill, without the need to register personal details.

The introduction of operator billing super-charges mobile commerce. Where Bango has introduced operator billing to developed markets with high credit card penetration, the sales of digital goods has routinely increased by 300% to 400%. Where it’s introduced to emerging markets Bango has seen increases in the range of 1000%. Recognizing this transformative effect, Microsoft has overseen a gradual expansion of operator billing in the Windows Phone Store. Microsoft research reveals that operator billing, when offered, is preferred by 75% 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 over 90% of customers use operator billing, for many, it is the only way to pay online.

Microsoft has partnered with Bango for the launch of operator billing in Indonesia due to the depth and quality of Bango’s existing operator connections across a range of app stores and operators. Bango powers mobile payment for a number of the world’s leading app stores. Existing app store connections include Blackberry App World, Facebook, Opera Mobile Store and operator-led connections into Google Play. 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 one billion mobile subscribers.

Bango’s launch in Indonesia is part of a broader strategy to focus on fast-growing emerging markets, where the operational challenges are greater and Bango can demonstrate its technology leadership. Earlier this year Bango strengthened its balance sheet with new investment to underwrite its growth in these emerging markets.

Commenting on the announcement, Bango CEO Ray Anderson said: “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. 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.”

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

President Director & CEO of Indosat, Alexander Rusli said “we are happy to be partnering with Bango to make operator billing in Indonesia attractive for app stores and content providers. This partnership between Indosat and Bango is the first of its kind in Indonesia. This shows our commitment to providing the best value and experience for Indosat customers. We look forward to continuing our partnership with Bango, extending the reach of frictionless payment to all.”

Indosat is a leading MNO in Indonesia, with around 50 million mobile subscribers. The Indonesian smartphone market is seeing rapid growth, with the research firm GfK reporting a 37% increase in the year to March 2013, and overall volume sales of 15.8 million units. Even with such growth, smartphone penetration has only reached around one third of consumers, pointing to strong growth for several years to come.

Bango continues to work with Microsoft to expand operator billing in the Windows Phone Store and expects to announce further progress in the coming months.