Telefónica has struck global direct-to-bill deals with Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Research In Motion, enabling users to pay for content through their mobile phone bills.
The framework agreements with four of the world's biggest technology firms will allow Telefónica's millions of customers around the world to pay for digital content and services via Facebook, Google Play, the Windows Phone Marketplace and BlackBerry App World, through their mobile phone bills.
The company has already started to roll out the capability in Europe and plans to have it live in 14 of its operating businesses, through its digital unit, by the end of the year.
Telefónica says the service can prove particularly useful for driving downloads of paid for content in developing markets where credit card penetration is low. In Latin America, where the telco has a strong presence, 60% of the population do not have bank accounts and direct-to-bill trials have proved successful.
Meanwhile, in the more developed market of Germany, 400,000 customers per month on average are now making payments for a variety of products and services across different platforms using the capability.
Dan Rose, VP, partnerships, Facebook, says: "Mobile payments are an important part of the business model for mobile Web developers, but today the options are too complicated for users. We're excited to be working with Telefonica to implement a streamlined operator billing solution that simplifies the purchase process for their consumers and expands pricing options for mobile Web developers."
Matthew Key, chairman and CEO, Telefónica Digital, says: "Few organisations can claim to have a direct billing relationship with hundreds of millions of customers globally. The creation of Telefónica Digital has allowed us to better harness the power of this capability and use it to help drive the mobile monetisation strategies of some of the world's largest technology companies."