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Facebook Turns On Carrier Billing Mobile Payments In France With Orange France And Bango

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Another step in Facebook’s plans to make more money out of its mobile business: the company is now accepting mobile payments in France, covering services like virtual gifts and game credits for its HTML5-based content, which can now be billed directly to a user’s mobile bill rather than via premium SMS or credit cards. France comes on the heels of an the initial rollout of the service in the U.S., UK and Germany that went live earlier this year.

As with the earlier news, mobile payments specialist Bango is powering the service. Facebook and Bango first confirmed they were working together back in February 2012.

In France, the service is first rolling out with one carrier, Orange France (release in French here; English here), which is the largest in the country with 26 million subscribers.

A Bango spokesperson says that Bango is “working to be live across each of the main operators by next quarter… Dev work is very advanced on each.” Globally, Bango has launched Facebook carrier billing so far with 11 major operators, across UK, Germany, USA and now France.

Bango says that users connecting using WiFi also get access to the payment facility, and the service works across iOS, Android, Windows Phone and bada devices.

The promise of carrier billing is that it is significantly easier to execute, requiring only two clicks, and therefore has a higher conversion rate among consumers. Bango — which also works with BlackBerry (powering carrier billing in its App World), Windows Phone Store, Amazon and individual brands like CNN and EA Mobile — says that conversion rates for carrier-billing can be up to 77%, compared to 40% for other mobile-based billing services like premium SMS or credit cards.

Bango is in the process of rolling out Facebook carrier billing to more markets in Europe, the company says.

“We are delighted to be powering operator billing in France for Facebook,” said Ray Anderson, Bango CEO, in a statement. “The enhanced user experience for smartphones and other connected mobile devices means that Facebook users who connect either through the Orange network or through WiFi can consistently pay on their Orange France phone bill. Bango and Facebook are currently working on rolling out this new development across the rest of France and additional markets in Europe.”

At a time when Facebook has been making some pointed moves back to native environments and apps designed for native mobile platforms, move is also a boost for the company’s HTML5 efforts, which are nevertheless ongoing. Enabling carrier billing in the HTML5 environment is not only an important step to further functionality on the web, but it’s an important way for Facebook to keep developers interested in the platform:

“This simplification of purchases for Facebook members will also be popular with developers who have committed to HTML5 and want to be accessible on all mobile handsets,” Bango notes in its release.