Carrier-billing may not be the most-preferred mode of payment for app purchases on mobile app stores, but many startups from around the world have shown interest in the sector, even though paying directly via credit cards remains the most preferred option globally. However, that hasn’t stopped Bango, the company that claims to be the ‘largest provider of app store carrier billing’ in the U.S., from acquiring BilltoMobile, which was one of its smaller rivals in the market until now. The acquisition now establishes Bango as the largest company in its sector worldwide, and it also claims to be the only company that has the rights to process carrier billing transactions across all four major American carriers – Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint.
In its press release, Bango also says that along with the four major carriers in the country, the company also works with partners like Google and Microsoft, both of whom use technology from Bango to provide carrier billing services for app purchases in the U.S. According to Mr. Ray Anderson, CEO of Bango, “The unmatched combination of Bango’s powerful technology, coupled with the depth of BilltoMobile’s high-quality software and trusted operator relationships, will now create a premier customer experience for Bango and its app store partners in the U.S. market”. The company has also announced that carrier billing transactions in the country have gone up by as much as 70% over the past year, with over $80 million of total business in 2015.
Even as Bango has been able to scale its business to an extent in the U.S., it still represents a miniscule fraction of the total app economy, which runs into billions of dollars. Meanwhile, companies in other parts of the world, like in India, are only now rolling out carrier billing in the right earnest. A report last week revealed that Google has tied up with the country’s third-largest carrier, Idea Cellular, to roll out carrier billing to post-paid subscribers for Play Store purchases. It is still a fairly novel idea and only available to a very small number of users in the country, so it remains to be seen how target audiences will react to it.