Bango (AIM: BGO), the mobile web payments and analytics company, today announces that it has launched direct operator billing for Microsoft's Windows Phone Store (NASDAQ: MSFT) in Indonesia with the Mobile Network Operator (MNO) Indosat (IDX:ISAT, NYSE:IIT), a leading MNO with approximately 50 million mobile subscribers and a subsidiary of Qtel Group.
Windows Phone users on the Indosat network are now able to purchase digital content through one-click operator billing. The Bango payments service, when introduced to developed markets with high credit card penetration, has led to an increase of 300%-400% in the sales of digital goods. When introduced to emerging markets, Bango has seen increases in sales of digital goods in the range of 1000%. Recognising this impact, Microsoft has implemented a gradual expansion of operator billing in the Windows Phone Store.
The Indonesian smartphone market is seeing rapid growth, with the research firm GfK reporting a 37% increase in the year to March 2013, and overall volume sales of 15.8 million units.
Bango continues to work with Microsoft to expand operator billing in the Windows Phone Store and expects to announce further progress in the coming months. The Board believes it is too early to accurately forecast the level of business which may be generated.
Ray Anderson, CEO of Bango, commented: "Today's launch with Windows Phone Store is strategically important as it marks our first integration with Microsoft, and is in Indonesia, a country with the largest smartphone market across all of South East Asia.
"Bango continues to make important progress, further establishing itself as the industry mobile billing platform of choice and is experiencing a high level of interest from operators in markets where other payments methods are scarce. Significant growth is being seen across the Payments Platform as well as the Analytics product. Daily end user spend for H1 2013 is expected to be double the end user spend for the previous six months, driven by Blackberry, Google, Facebook and now Microsoft. We look forward to rolling out these live services which are currently in their early stages into other geographies, and also launching with currently non-live partners in due course."
Todd Brix, General Manager, Windows Phone Store, Microsoft said: "Mobile operator billing gives consumers a convenient payment option with significantly higher conversion rates than credit cards, greatly benefiting Windows Phone 8 customers and developers. We're happy to see companies like Bango and Indosat working together to expand monetization opportunities for developers and provide seamless purchasing experiences for Windows Phone users."
Alexander Rusli, President Director & CEO of Indosat, added: "We are happy to be partnering with Bango to make operator billing in Indonesia attractive for app stores and content providers. This partnership between Indosat and Bango is the first of its kind in Indonesia. This shows our commitment to providing the best value and experience for Indosat customers. We look forward to continuing our partnership with Bango, extending the reach of frictionless payment to all."
Microsoft has partnered with Bango for the launch of operator billing in Indonesia due to the depth and quality of Bango's existing operator connections across a range of app stores and operators. Bango powers mobile payment for a number of the world's leading app stores. Existing app store connections include Blackberry App World, Facebook, Opera Mobile Store and operator-led connections into Google Play. Bango has also announced an agreement to provide payment services to Amazon and Mozilla's soon to launch FireFox Marketplace. Bango recently announced it had reached 110 mobile operator connections globally, and a reach of more than one billion mobile subscribers.
Bango's launch in Indonesia is part of a broader strategy to focus on fast-growing emerging markets, which could benefit most from operator billing (as credit card use is less prevalent in these markets), where the operational challenges are greater and Bango can demonstrate its technology leadership. Earlier this year Bango strengthened its balance sheet with new investment, principally to support its growth in these emerging markets.