Wireless Carriers Could Become A Major Force In Mobile Payments

The idea of adding the cost of a mobile purchase directly to your phone bill doesn’t get a lot of attention as a viable way mobile payments could develop. Instead, mobile payments startups like Square and Stripe get a lot more attention from venture capital firms and traditional payment players, not to mention the press.

But a recent report from BI Intelligence finds that carrier billing technology has made some giant leaps since the days when you sent a text message to buy a ringtone. Carrier billing now offers a smooth, low-friction way for consumers to pay for digital content like apps and tokens within apps.

That’s why it has developers, app stores and mobile carriers so excited.

But that said, there are some major hurdles if carrier billing is ever going to take off and grab share of mobile payments volume. In particular, the high prices currently charged by mobile operators for providing carrier billing services has kept many app developers away. In the report, BI Intelligence explains how carrier billing works, who is using it, and whether or not it has the potential to catch on for physical goods, beyond the world of digital content.

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Here are some key points from the report:

In full, the report:

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