Micro-payments going the carrier billing way in US, UK & India

PlayStation a Sony product will allow users to purchase downloadable games, add-ons, themes, movies and other content and pay through carrier billing. A service brought to you by Boku in partnership with some U.S. mobile network operators.

It is a 3 step process:

1. Users are asked to choose Payment Method as 'Mobile'

2. User need to add Mobile Phone Number

3. System Sends SMS to user & user has to Respond via SMS to confirm top-up.

The charges are directly added to mobile phone bill & it works as a prepaid account.

Sony expects mobile payments and carrier billing would increase the overall experience and sales of its digital goods. Sony is inclined to adopt new method of payments for smaller micro-payment transactions. This opens gates for selling different kind of digital content to consumers.

On the other side of the globe, Fortumo announced its partnership with Airtel, Vodafone, Idea & Tata Docomo in India. This is a big achievement to enter second largest population country with billions of phone users, infact more phones than people in the country. Furtumo's direct carrier billing solution enables users to pay without using SMS, which is faster & increases adoption.

It would be interesting to see how Fortumo is able to change the Indian gaming market in-game payments. Even though there is a big potential to generate transactions important thing would be to see how consumer experience & adopt the new way form of payment. In the past it has been observed Indian gaming consumers & industry itself don't feel need for any sophisticated mobile micro-payments for gaming industry.

Back in July, 2013 all of UK’s mobile network operators tied up with Gemalto’s Netsize subsidiary to extend their carrier billing offerings by connecting to a direct billing platform. This move enables UK mobile subscribers to pay from their handsets for shopping online or paying bills. The compelling reason for the users to switch to carrier billing service is to make purchases through their smartphones and not give out their bank account details.

Mach, a direct operator billing firm has also tied up with Vodafone, 3UK, O2 and Everything Everywhere to offer direct carrier billing. This practice has been in existence since 2012 and almost all networks in the UK have adopted it.

Gyan estimates that revenues from mobile gaming in India will reach 574 million USD by 2016. If this is the case for companies Boku, Mach, Netsize & Fortumo may have a promising future.