Mobile carrier billing company Bango continues its hot streak of signing up big name partners today, thanks to a new arrangement with Google to bring its carrier billing to Google Play, beginning in Australia. Bango provides carrier billing services to Facebook in the UK, France and Germany, and also partners with RIM for BlackBerry App world billing. Earlier this year, it announced deals to work with Amazon and MasterCard, too. For Google, it could be a key ingredient in driving up conversions and revenue for Android developers in addition to existing arrangements with other carrier billing partners around the world..
UK-based Bango built out support for Google Play at the request of mobile carriers. Bango CEO Ray Anderson suggested to in a press release that operator billing could be the next step in helping Android developers monetize their creations, alluding to the fact that despite its greater reach, Google’s mobile platform generates less revenue and fewer paid customers than rival Apple’s iOS.
“Android is winning the battle for smartphone market share,” he said in a statement. “As user numbers soar, we will see an increasing flow of developer talent and compelling content channeled through Google Play. We’re expecting that operator billing from Bango will boost conversion rates and developer monetization. It’s a new weapon in Google’s armoury.”
Bango touts its higher conversion rate as a main selling point for its services, claiming 77 percent compared to around 40 percent for alternate payment methods vis SMS or credit cards in November when it launched Facebook carrier billing in France.
Google Play is more than just a software ecosystem, however, and also includes books, movies and magazines. Carriers clearly have an interest in becoming a payment layer for all of that media as well as apps, since it brings them back into having a direct transactional relationship with their customers, something which initiatives like Apple’s App Store initially took away from their purview.
While Bango is kicking things off with Telstra in Australia, it says many mobile network operators have approached it to connect them to the Google Play store for payments, but the company also stresses that it’s too early to tell if this will become a significant line of business. Still, even with just a launch in Australia, it’ll be an interesting sandbox to see if more Android users down under pay for software thanks to the added convenience of carrier billing provided by Bango.