Telefonica Adds Samsung As A Carrier Billing OEM For Apps, Games, Music And More

Posted: May 16, 2013 in eCommerce, Europe, GT, Mobile
Tags: , , ,

Telefonica is today announcing a deal with Samsung
that will see it make an even bigger move into the
area of carrier billing. Samsung will integrate the
carrier’s billing backend directly into its own mobile
services, meaning that the Telefonica customers (it
has 316 million worldwide) who use the Samsung Hub and Samsung Apps portals on Samsung smartphones
will be able to buy apps, music, videos, books,
games and more and charge them directly to their
phone bills. The agreement, which will use Telefonica’s BlueVia
payment APIs, is a significant one for Telefonica. So
far it has inked deals with app portal operators,
including Google, Facebook, Microsoft and RIM, and
with billing providers like Bango; this effectively
closes the loop for it by securing a deal with the world’s largest handset maker, although a recent deal
to help the carrier finance the procurement and
distribution of BlackBerry devices could point to
Telefonica gearing up for a similar deal with that
handset maker, too. In addition to Bango, Telefonica also works with
BOKU, where it led a $35 million investment last
year. It’s not clear how this deal with Samsung will
play out between these two rival billing providers. In
the past Telefonica has been vague on the subject,
saying that it will work one or the other depending on the situation. Telefonica has been especially bullish on trying to
come up with a way to get a piece of the action on
apps and other content that is getting purchased on
smartphones and tablets. Apple’s early move into the
area with its very popular App Store (just this week
marking its 50-billionth download) set a precedent for all but cutting carriers out of the picture, with Apple
handling the payment on its own platform and then
dividing up resulting revenues with the app publishers. Mobile advertising alongside often-free apps is one
other area where carriers and others have tried to
play, although these revenues are still small in
relation to those collected from downloads and in-app
purchases. But the promise of carrier billing, as we have noted
before, is that it not only offers carriers a look in to
the growing pot of money being made from
smartphone content, but it also provides a route for
publishers to better target consumers in parts of the
world where smartphone usage is growing rapidly, but payment card penetration is not so much. The carrier framework can be used not only for
consumers who take monthly plans, but also for
prepaid accounts, with each purchase deducted from
there, as already happens with phone minutes, data
bytes and SMS messages. This is an area where
Spain’s Telefonica, which has more users in emerging markets in Latin America than it does in any single
market in Europe, can hope to gain a foothold with its
carrier billing offering, even if it has (so far) missed
the boat in more developed markets. Nevertheless, this deal will be implemented in
phases, starting first with a rollout with Telefonica’s
subsidiary in 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.” For Samsung, meanwhile, it gives the company the
ability to promote its own content portals as easy to
use — one way of driving more users there instead of
to Google’s services. As Samsung tries to further
differentiate itself from the other OEMs using Android,
and Google itself, little things like this could help it along the way. “Samsung is committed to ensuring that our
customers have choice and convenience when
purchasing content on our devices,” Lee Epting, VP
of Media Solutions Centre Europe for Samsung
Electronics Europe, said in a statement. “Our
partnership with Telefónica Digital allows us to deliver yet another easy and convenient purchasing
experience to our Samsung Hub and Samsung Apps
customers.” Telefonica and Samsung are not strangers to each
other in the area of new services; they have co-
invested in the latest round for semantic, real-time
search startup Expect Labs.

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  2. […] Telefonica Adds Samsung As A Carrier Billing OEM For Apps, Games, Music And More ( […]

  3. […] Telefonica Adds Samsung As A Carrier Billing OEM For Apps, Games, Music And More ( […]

  4. […] Telefonica Adds Samsung As A Carrier Billing OEM For Apps, Games, Music And More ( […]

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