One of – if the not the key – reason mobile app stores work so well is that they provide an enormously easy means to making payments – typically (though not always) through an agreement with the wireless carriers to simply pass charges along to a user’s (that is, the wireless carrier customer’s) wireless phone account, where the charges then show up as part of the customer’s monthly wireless bill. It’s fast, it’s convenient, and without it there would be a lot more resistance to buying mobile apps.
Research In Motion (RIM) has long had such relationships with a select collection of carriers, but today the company announced that it now has more than 50 carriers in hand that have implemented integrated carrier billing on the BlackBerry App World storefront for their customers. Everyone – from the app developers and content providers to the wireless players and on to the mobile consumers – benefits from the capability. Integrated carrier billing is integrated with RIM’s BlackBerry Payment Service, which enables developers and content providers to offer in-app purchases (such as additional levels in a game), as well as supporting one-off and recurring (subscription-based) purchases, without interrupting a customer’s app experience.
For RIM it is yet one more thing on its long BlackBerry 10 pre-launch “to do” list to nail down to ensure that its upcoming January 30, 2013 launch day goes well that it can now cross off the list.
Ronjon Nag, vice president for the BlackBerry App World storefront at RIM says, “We’re delighted to announce that over 50 of our carrier partners are now offering integrated carrier billing to customers on BlackBerry App World. We remain committed to developing innovative ways to support our carrier partners, while providing a platform that benefits the whole mobile ecosystem.”
Carrier billing services are not only convenient for the user, but also for the sellers in that the service provides valuable aggregated data on customers’ propensity to purchase apps (in this case on BlackBerry App World). Typically, when carrier billing is offered sell through increases, with an average of 75 percent of gross sales transacted through the carrier. Average carrier revenue derived from apps has historically increased between 100 and 300 percent after launch.
Ray Anderson, the CEO of Bango, whose mobile payment platform enables charge-to-bill payments in BlackBerry App World, notes that “Our relationship with RIM goes from strength to strength and we’re delighted to see the integrated carrier billing experience Bango enables on BlackBerry smartphones in the hands of more and more customers. We’ve seen smartphone users increasingly rely on the ability to charge the costs of digital goods to their carrier bill, and with RIM, we’re providing them with a frictionless payment experience." Bango recently worked closely with Facebook to enable related capabilities - mobile Web carrier billing in Germany, the UK and USA as part of an improved mobile payments flow - for the social site.
BlackBerry App World is now available in 170 markets and territories worldwide, and we anticipate the company having over 100,000 BlackBerry smartphone apps available when the launch of new devices takes place next year. RIM provides a full list of the 50+ carriers that will offer integrated billing on its website.
Edited by Brooke Neuman