Founded out of Cambridge, U.K., in 1999, Bango is one of a number of platforms that make it easier for companies to charge people for online purchases by adding those purchases directly to their mobile phone bill. It’s all about removing friction from the payments process. Bango has been a Microsoft partner for some time, letting Windows Phone users make purchases through the Windows Store, but today’s news sees the agreement rolled out to cover Windows Store payments on all devices — PCs, tablets, phones, and — eventually — Xbox.
The core raison d’être of carrier billing is to make it easy for consumers to buy things online — no credit cards or registration required. The user typically enters their phone number and the charge then appears on their phone bill. Bango also provides merchants with the software to process payments and view analytics. While carrier billing is being used to some extent in most markets, it is particularly popular in developing countries or countries where credit cards are not commonplace.
With Windows 10, Microsoft is seeking to unify the mobile and desktop experience by letting developers build apps that work across all platforms, including tablets, desktops, mobile, consoles, and even the Internet of Things. And given that Microsoft has previously declared its intention for Windows 10 to be on 1 billion devices by 2018, this new agreement could prove lucrative for Bango. But the news also comes as little surprise — given that Microsoft is striving to create a unified experience, it makes sense that it would expand existing commercial agreements to cover all devices.
While Bango is the exclusive billing provider for a number of big tech companies, including Amazon, Samsung, Blackberry, and Mozilla, Microsoft uses a number of different providers. Indeed, just last month news emerged that carrier billing was coming to Windows 10 in the U.S. via Bango’s competitor Boku, in a tie-up with U.S. operator Sprint.
Neither Bango nor Microsoft has revealed which markets or operators will be included in their agreement, but the deal will apply “globally,” and specific operator availability will be announced throughout January.