Today, Telefonica Digital announced a new deal with Facebook, Google, Microsoft and RIM.
The deal is a great opportunity for the companies involved to better monetize mobile content by incorporating payments into a user's mobile phone bills.
Telefonica, which is based in Europe, already has the framework in place to offer the service, and plans to have it up and operational in 14 of its businesses by the end of 2012.
Specifically geared toward virtual purchases like games, apps, and in-app buying, direct to bill service offers the unique convenience of not using a credit or debit card. The charges simply get tacked on to your mobile bill.
Matthew Key, Chairman & CEO of Telefónica Digital comments on the utility of their payment service:
“Few organisations can claim to have a direct billing relationship with hundreds of millions of customers globally,”
“The creation of Telefónica Digital has allowed us to better harness the power of this capability and use it to help drive the mobile monetisation strategies of some of the world’s largest technology companies. We believe that direct to bill will become an increasingly significant part of the overall mobile commerce market.”
It is an especially powerful billing tool in Latin America, where almost 60% of the population doesn't even have a bank account. In other countries, like Germany, the Telefonica service has become popular very quickly, and currently, they are handling over 400,000 transactions per month.
Dan Rose, Vice President of Partnerships at Facebook comments on what Telefonica can do for them:
"Mobile payments are an important part of the business model for mobile web developers, but today the options are too complicated for users,"
"We're excited to be working with Telefonica to implement a streamlined operator billing solution that simplifies the purchase process for their consumers and expands pricing options for mobile web developers.”
Tony Mestres, Vice President of Partner & Channel in Windows Phone Division at Microsoft also comments on the deal with Telefonica:
“Enabling direct-to-bill with Telefónica Digital is yet another important step to continue growing our more than 100,000 apps in the Windows Phone Marketplace,”
“Direct-to-bill for Windows Phone makes it convenient for Telefónica subscribers to make digital purchases on their Windows Phones and also helps grow our app developer ecosystem with increased monetization.”
Ronjon Nag, Vice President of Storefronts & Payments at RIM comments on their partnership with Telefonica:
“The agreement between RIM and Telefónica Digital means direct to bill purchasing can be extended to our mutual customers globally."
"Our data suggests that customers’ propensity to purchase apps on BlackBerry App World increases when this simple, convenient method of purchase is offered, so we’re delighted Telefónica’s BlackBerry customers can take advantage of this convenient feature. 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.”
We'll keep you posted on further news regarding the availability of the service and more partners.