Is there a big change coming to the way we purchase apps?
Will applications be the new data? Being in the industry for so long we have seen lots of transitions. First voice was the hot item, then email, then data and now we see all of the options for apps.
We believe apps are going to be the new data AND they are now be able to be billed to your customer account.
Carriers are beginning to demonstrate the pervasiveness of apps by adding direct billing options for applications onto the wireless bill. Verizon will partner with Payfone to bring a one click payment option to cellphones. Google Inc. announced a partnership with Sprint that lets you add your Android app to your monthly wireless bill. And also, Google is already rolling out its Google Wallet feature in the New York and San Francisco markets this summer. Finally, Visa, which acquired mobile-payment company Fundamo for $110 million, is also exploring options.
Carrier Billing for Apps
This is known in the industry as “Carrier Billing” and we love it because it is one more way that we can help you optimize and manage your bill.
Deferring app payments has great benefits. First, it lets users decide how they want to settle a bill. Second, it allows customers without credit cards to purchase apps through a new medium. It certainly lets users purchase and pay for apps more easily (and this is key: less visibly). Plus many of these decisions are pushed to the user level which can be troublesome for enterprise wireless programs.
What the Carriers Are Saying
Sprint says, “It’s also important because it offers a convenient way to buy in demographics where credit cards are less common” (ahem, Enterprises!).
Verizon says, “Verizon will partner with Payfone Inc. to bring a one-click payment option to cellphones. Customers can use the Internet on their phones to order digital items such as music or e-books and have the charge placed on their monthly Verizon bill. For tangible goods and more expensive products, customers can link the service to their own credit card. Any Verizon customer using a phone with a browser will be able to use the service. No upgrades are needed; the one-click payment option will appear as a link on retail websites.”
And we say…..watch out for your enterprise wallets!
Industries are In a Slump
This is a very interesting proposition for Enterprises as we see opportunities for the bills to increase more than they ever have in recent history. Think about how easy it might be to download an application that you’re not sure if you purchased. As a wireless expense management provider, we see myriads of downloads every month with our Enterprises even if the account has downloads restrictions: they get past blockers if they are a new users or the carrier did not successfully add restrictions during activations. We of course monitor this and get credits, but woe to the people who do not have help managing the bill.
Enterprise Wireless Cost Could Skyrocket
We see downloads for Apps (needed or not) that cost 5.99, 9.99 or 19.99 (for example) EVERY MONTH. Once the Apps become more prevalent and can be easily paid by your Enterprise wireless bill, it may become the Wild West, but the carriers love it. Mobile payments has long been discussed as an opportunity for growth, but they have exploded over the last few months as companies begin to take advantage of this new billing system.
As the Verizon’s Greg Haller has said, “It’s a new market; Payfone helps us get wider adoption.” Now we all really know what that means, don’t we?