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Microsoft extends carrier billing for Windows Phone Store

Microsoft has announced that its acquisition of Nokia’s devices and services business is complete

Software giant Microsoft is looking to gain ground on its mobile operating system rivals by extending carrier billing capabilities for its Windows Phone Store app store.

The firm has implemented a carrier billing platform from micropayment solutions and messaging services firm Netsize, a subsidiary of SIM and authentication specialist Gemalto, which will enable more Microsoft Windows Phone users to purchase apps on their handsets and pay for them via their phone bill.

Windows Phone is the third most popular smartphone platform globally, according to research firm IDC, with a worldwide market share of 3.9 per cent as of February 2014. Apple’s iOS meanwhile has a 14.9 per cent global share, but market leader Android has its nose firmly in front with a 78.9 per cent global market share, according to the research firm.

However, with Microsoft in the process of acquiring Finnish smartphone maker Nokia for €5.44bn in cash, the software firm is ramping up its efforts to grow its market share. It already offers carrier billing services for its Windows Phone Store through 56 mobile operators spanning 34 countries, while Google has just 40 carriers offering the service for its Play store across 21 countries. Apple, meanwhile, does not use carrier billing as its customers must purchase App Store apps directly from Apple.  Netsize said that its platform will potentially allow Microsoft to extend the service to 160 operators spanning 50 countries.

Direct carrier billing presents an attractive opportunity for the operator community. A study conducted by Juniper Research last year estimated that revenue from carrier billing services will grow from $2bn in 2012 to more than $13bn by 2017. The firm said app stores that offer integrated carrier billing solutions have seen a five-to-six-fold increase in conversion rates compared with credit card billing, as well as an increase in average transaction values.

“Optimising the Windows Phone Store experience for customers and developers is a key priority for Microsoft,” said Todd Brix, general manager for Windows Phone Store at Microsoft. “Netsize offers extensive network coverage around the world and a strong platform infrastructure, providing the Windows Phone Store with more payment options for customers, and higher payment conversion rates for developers.“

Frédéric Deman, General Manager of Netsize added that it is necessary for Microsoft to build a Windows Phone Store ecosystem for its ambitious plans in mobile.

  • Nokia Corporation


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