Bango notes the recent press commentary about the availability of Direct Carrier Billing for some iTunes users in Germany:
"Telefónica Germany is working with Apple related to carrier billing,¿ a spokesperson told us in an email. ¿Payment via the O2 phone bill is now available for Apple Music, iTunes, App Store and iBooks Store Purchases. The service is gradually being rolled out and will be available for all O2 customers (prepaid and postpaid) in Germany by the beginning of November 2015.¿
We have heard on the grapevine that Apple had been talking with Bango, a carrier billing provider, to roll out carrier billing functionality on iTunes. Another source says that it¿s not Bango working on this deal, pointing out that O2 also has a relationship with Boku, another carrier billing provider that O2 has backed financially.
However, contained in the report Bango refers to published by Progressive Equity research,
searching for the term ‘Boku’ in the report highlights only the following information:
“US-based, Boku claims connections to over 250 operators globally. It also has a blue-chip list of merchant clients, including EA, Facebook, Sony and Spotify. However, we note that the website does not list any of the key mobile app stores on its client page. Boku is privately / VC owned, and has completed a number of fundraisings over recent years. As a private company, publicly-available financial information is limited. However, market sources suggest that the company delivered revenue of c$200m in 2013 and has raised over $75m of funding over the recent past.”
Searching for the term ‘Bango’ and further digging reveals this:
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the initial DCB deployments were instigated by MNOs attempting to interface directly with the app stores. However, anecdotally, we believe that over recent years operators are appreciating the value of leveraging third party platforms to offer carrier billing in app stores. Telefonica Group, for example, launched an in-house DCB platform called BlueVia in 2010…”
Googling ‘Boku BlueVia’ and ‘Boku O2’ arrives at a number of results that link to various articles, in particular these two (articles also available on the Boku website):
However, it suggests in the Progressive Equity research PDF, Link 2, just a bit further down from the last snippet about Competitive Positioning, that the business created by Boku’s partnership with BlueVia and O2 around 2010 and 2011 has since been taken over by the Bango service:
“…However, after just 2 or 3 years, this was dropped, with Bango picking-up much of the business that was slated to run across the BlueVia platform…”
We estimate that there are currently 278 DCB activations globally, with Microsoft, Google and Blackberry representing 263 of these. Of the 278, we believe 127 are direct app store:MNO relationships, with the remainder being third-party connections. Of the third-party activations, the market is dominated by one player ¿ Bango, which has 119 activations. This represents a share of over 40% of the total market (278), and is almost three times the aggregate of the key third-party DCB suppliers. As will be discussed below, Bango was an early entrant into the mobile payment space. Over the past sixteen years it has made significant investments in both its platform and product set. The benefit of this historic investment appears to be apparent - it has almost half the market. Bango is the exclusive DCB provider to the Amazon, Blackberry, Mozilla and Samsung app stores. It has one third-party competitor on the Microsoft store and a strong position on the the Google Play store.
So could Bango really be on the brink of realising a maximum potential here with its biggest partner to date?