Telefonica announced it is partnering with social network giant Facebook as well as app store owners Google, Microsoft and RIM to let users make purchases with their phones and have the amount added to their phone bill, no credit card required.
Telefonica is already rolling out the operator-billing capability in Europe via its Telefonica Digital subsidiary, enabling O2 customers in Germany and Movistar subscribers in Spain to try out the capability. It plans to have it live in 14 of its subsidiaries worldwide by year end.
Yankee Group Senior VP of Research Eugene Signorini comments
“This is not an unexpected development by Telefonica, and operator billing represents the best path for operators to cash in on mobile payments. Instead of focusing on creating entirely new payment initiatives (such as Isis), operators would be smart to focus on a billing relationships and payment method they already enable—namely the customer bill. What Telefonica has done wisely is to essentially use the subscriber billing relationship as a platform for other vendors—Facebook, Google, Microsoft and RIM—to plug into. While we don’t expect operator billing efforts to be a predominant form of mobile transactions, certain subscriber groups in particular geographies, such as Telefonica’s Latin American subscriber base, will be strong targets for services such as these.”