Bango and Telefónica announce global mobile payments partnership

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Bango and Telefónica announce global mobile payments partnership with TelefónicaBango today announce that they have signed a Global Framework Agreement. The two companies will partner globally to create an enhanced direct-to-bill payment experience for mobile app stores. The partnership will combine Bango's frictionless payment experience with Telefónica's BlueVia Payment APIs, connecting over 314 million chargeable customers worldwide to the Bango Payments Platform.

The ability to pay for digital goods and services via a mobile phone bill or prepay credit is a key way for content owners and developers to fully monetize their products. This is especially the case in developing markets, such as Latin America, where penetration of bank accounts and credit cards is very low. Trials of direct to bill in Telefónica operating businesses have proven its ability to drive sales.

By integrating the single BlueVia billing API into the Bango Payments Platform app stores will benefit from Bango's enhanced user experience for mobile devices, which generates higher payment conversion rates, especially from Wi-Fi-connected and other "off-network" devices. This is particularly important for the future of mobile payments as more than half of smartphones browsing app stores use Wi-Fi connections.

A key goal of the partnership is to accelerate the availability of a standardized and open payment platform for all app stores and content providers and to dramatically improve the customer experience. The platform will be available to all app stores, supporting operator-billing and other payment methods through a single, common platform. The advantage to the customer is a seamless payment flow with no requirement to enter personal information or leave the payment session.

As well as technology to improve the user experience, Bango is contributing to the partnership its market-leading expertise in managing payments at mass scale, developed over several years with industry-leading partners such as RIM, Facebook, Opera and others. The Bango platform expands the attractiveness of operator billing to third parties by automating all settlement processes, including tax reconciliation, local currency support and providing sophisticated analytics and reporting that enable app stores to optimize the mobile user experience.

Telefónica is rolling out direct to bill capabilities in its operating businesses and earlier this year announced global, framework agreements with Facebook, Google, Microsoft and RIM.

Bango CEO Ray Anderson commented that "Telefonica and Bango share a strategic vision: to widen access to paid content by standardizing and simplifying operator-billed mobile payments. BlueVia is a valuable and bold initiative by Telefonica to establish a unified set of billing APIs. We will standardize on BlueVia to connect with Telefónica's 314 million subscribers around the world and look forward to welcoming other operators who join this initiative, as Telenor has done".

Speaking for Telefónica Digital, Jose Valles, Head of BlueVia, said: "At the heart of every great service is first class customer experience and both Bango and BlueVia share the vision that mobile payments must be seamless and low friction for the customer.  Through this partnership, we are delivering a mobile billing ecosystem that empowers the app store and content owners to achieve mass scale in their business through global reach and a payment method far broader than credit cards".

The partnership between Telefónica and Bango was negotiated by Telefónica's Financial Services and Global Partnership teams, based in Madrid and Silicon Valley and headed by Joaquín Mata and Wayne Thorsen, respectively.