Samsung and Telefónica ink global carrier billing deal

Telefónica Digital has announced a deal with Samsung Electronics in a move that many are hailing as the most significant carrier billing agreement to date as it unites one of the world's largest operators with the world's biggest handset maker.

Under the agreement, Samsung will become the first OEM to integrate Telefónica's billing backend into its smartphones and tablets, using the BlueVia payments applications developed by Telefónica Digital.

In a statement, Telefónica Digital said customers that use Samsung Hub and Samsung Apps will be able to purchase apps and music, video, books, games and learning services from their devices by simply charging the payment to their phone bill or prepaid credit, avoiding the need for a credit card.

Direct carrier billing is seen as a crucial tool for operators as they battle against falling revenue from voice and data services and the threat from over-the-top players. Telefónica said the ease and convenience of direct to bill payments has been shown to increase sales of digital content through mobile devices. "This is especially the case in the developing world where the penetration of credit cards and even bank accounts is low," the company added.

The operator said direct-to-bill on Samsung devices will be rolled out to Telefónica's operating businesses in phases, starting with Telefónica Germany in the coming months.

"We strongly believe that carrier billing has the potential to drive the monetisation of digital content," Wayne Thorsen, vice president of global partnerships at Telefónica Digital, said in a statement. "Partnerships like this allow us to harness the power of the billing relationships we have with our customers to make it easier for them to consume content on their tablets and mobile devices."

The agreement with Samsung joins other similar deals Telefónica has with companies including Google, Facebook and Microsoft. TechCrunch also noted that the operator also has deals with billing providers Bango and BOKU, and it is not yet clear how the Samsung deal will affect these two billing providers.

For more:
- see this release
- see this TechCrunch article

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