Boku, a leading carrier billing mobile payments company, recently announced the acquisition of Mopay. Mopay is a Germany based company which itself is one of the largest carrier billing companies in the world and is also Boku’s leading competitor. The acquisition has made Boku the largest provider of carrier billing mobile payment services as it has added Valve, Gameloft, Wargaming and hundreds of other merchant customers. Boku’s existing merchant base itself includes big brands like Facebook, Sony and Electronic Arts.
Both Boku and Mopay have similar value propositions and provide merchant services across virtual, digital and physical goods categories. The acquisition will result in higher scalability, better operational efficiency and most importantly, a more standardized carrier billing solution that will benefit merchants, carriers and consumers. Boku and Mopay combined have about 185 employees with customers across 80 countries. Boku alone works with more than 250 operators.
Here is an illustration of Mopay's services:
Boku’s interest in Mopay can be attributed to the fact that Mopay has more than 500 clients and processes over 5 million monthly payments. Mopay also operates in countries like Vietnam and Indonesia where traditional networks are less prominent. This is Boku’s second acquisition after it had acquired Qubecell last year to expand its reach in India, and other parts of Asia and the Middle East.
Jon Prideaux, CEO of Boku said: “By coming together we've created a company that can realize the vision of charging purchases to your phone bill as a truly global payment method at scale. Together, Boku and Mopay serve some of the largest digital merchants in the world and we have a tremendous pipeline in the works.”
Ingo Lippert, CEO of Mopay commented: “This is a merger from strength. Both companies have strong growth plans, but felt that our customers would be best served by coming together to build a market leading mobile payments platform.”
Paying via phone number appeals more to customers who purchase mobile games, virtual goods and other digital content. These are usually low-value purchases and thus making it manageable if the deductions are added to the carrier bill. On a broader scale, carrier billing alleviates the need for a customer to have a credit card or even a bank account.
Carrier billing companies are largely focusing on developing markets. These markets have high smartphone penetration but low credit card penetration making carrier billing a viable option. Along with developing markets, Boku is looking to extend carrier billing for purchases of all kinds of goods. It recently signed a deal with three major carriers in the UK – O2, EE and Vodafone - in order to facilitate e-money services.
At the current pace, we can expect Boku to further expand its payments portfolio in the near future. It will play a major role in shaping the future of carrier billing. Other prominent companies are also contributing to carrier billing in the mobile payment ecosystem.