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Carrier Billing arrives in Middle East thanks to Bango and Etisalat deal

The global revenue from mobile content purchased via carrier billing will increase three-fold to more than $13 billion in 2017, according to Juniper Research. As per a recent press release by Etisalat, mobile payments provider Bango is partnering with the operator for Direct Operator Billing (DOB) services. This would enable DOB across Etisalat’s markets in Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

Bango is a payment platform provider for digital content platforms like Google Play, Facebook, Blackberry World, Windows Phone Store and Amazon. The smartphone revolution drove the company to focus on world’s largest app stores. Back in 2010, Bango had struck deal with RIM to provide billing for Blackberry world store. By the end of 2011, Bango established partnerships with Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft. At the end of 2012, Bango managed to bag a deal with Google. Bango’s ability to optimize billing for devices, on or off the operator network, has been strength in its payment platform.

The deal with Etisalat will deliver app store integration. This integration has already been done for the Google Play Store with more expected to be announced soon. Google Play users in the Middle East can do one-click payment, powered by Bango, thus charges being added to the phone bill. This would further accelerate sale of digital content by connecting tens of millions of Etisalat subscribers to operator billing.

As per IDC, Middle East is seeing substantial growth in smartphones. The device numbers are expected to double this year, it being 67 million in 2013. The new smartphone adopters are mostly under the age of 20 meaning there is rising demand for digital content. DOB is emerging as a vital mobile commerce enabler in Middle East as users are reluctant to pay via cards and with DOB, they don’t have to register their personal details as well. Bango’s DOB feature works even when user in on WiFi network instead of operator’s. Bango’s unique User ID technology enables automatic authentication of users for one-click payment.

The following context gives an idea of how Bango is able to manage interactions among the value chain players:

This commitment from one of the world's highest rated mobile operator groups is a key indication of the importance of direct operator billing to unlocking digital content sales. From today, millions of Google Play users can pay for their music, books, movies, games and apps with one-click. We are now working with the Etisalat team to connect the wider range of app stores through the Bango platform and will update on our progress in due course. said Ray Anderson, CEO of Bango.

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