Mozilla and Bango Bring Phone Bill-based Payments to Firefox OS Users
Bango PLC, a mobile payment and analytics company, has announced the integration of its Bango Payments Platform with Mozilla's Firefox Marketplace. Among other things, the news represents an important step forward for Mozilla's Firefox OS strategy, because it will allow users of Firefox OS-based mobile phones to pay for the apps they buy directly from their phone bills. Bango could end up being an important part of how Firefox OS phone users make other kinds of mobile payments as well.
According to the announcement:
"Bango is providing operator billing and other billing options, as well as collection and settlement for content purchased through Firefox Marketplace. The Bango Payments Platform enables users of Firefox Marketplace to easily purchase digital content without the need for a credit or debit card, charging the cost of digital purchases directly to the users' phone bill instead. Bango's unique billing identification technology ensures users enjoy one-click operator billing, paying on their pre or post-paid phone bill. As a result, Bango achieves industry leading conversion rates."
Bango and Mozilla have moved quickly, too. The service has launched for Firefox OS customers in both Spain and Colombia through the Mobile Network Operator (MNO) Telefónica, and in Poland through T-Mobile. In addition, Venezuela has launched using Bango's credit card billing connectivity initially,to be followed by operator billing. According to the announcement, further markets are expected to be announced in the coming weeks.
In a statement, Ray Anderson CEO of Bango said, "Firefox Marketplace is the first app store to embrace operator billing from launch. We're proud that Mozilla has chosen Bango, and we are pleased to be opening-up direct operator billing for our partners in these exciting, emerging smartphone markets. For many consumers in fast growth markets, a Firefox OS device will be their first smartphone. Operator billing from Bango enables every user of a smartphone to pay for apps and other digital content with one-click, without exception and even over Wi-Fi."
To make the point very clear, as we've noted many times, Mozilla is focusing on the low hanging fruit in the mobile phone market. Its phones are currently only in emerging markets and many users of these phones have limited financial resources. There are going to be users of these phones who don't have credit cards and have never had them. So being able to have app and digital content costs wrapped into phone bills will be useful for a lot of these users.
In conjunction with the announcement, Mozilla officials also noted that the arrangement with Bango will provide "flexible monetization for developers." Mozilla needs app developers to take a shine to its mobile platform, and monetization options will be key to succeeding in that effort.