More than a third of smartphone users in Europe are thought to pay for applications via operator billing, according to research released on Wednesday.
An online consumer survey of more than 2,000 smartphone users in the UK and Germany, carried out by billing firm Mach and research agency Opinium in April, found significant demand for direct operator billing, suggesting it could be the preferred payment method of choice for apps and in-app purchases.
A total of 37 per cent of respondents have paid for apps via operator billing, with 29 per cent preferring the method, compared to 18 per cent that prefer credit card payments and ten pre cent that prefer debit cards.
Convenience and speed of use are the top reasons behind the popularity of one-click billing, with around 66 per cent and 50 per cent respectively citing these reasons. While around 19 per cent of smartphone users in the UK only said that they would be likely to switch networks if their provider was unable to offer direct operator billing.
Michael De Jongh, head of sales, mobile billing & payments at Mach, said app developers have been hindered by the lack of a solution to effectively monetise their products across all mobile platforms. Consumers are looking for an experience which allows them to be charged correctly for what they actually consume, while premium SMS is ambiguous in the way consumers are charged, and credit card payments are restrictive, inefficient and potentially insecure.
“Greater convenience presents a significant opportunity for operators and mobile content providers to differentiate themselves and offer a more compelling user-experience through direct operator billing. Deploying a frictionless purchase process has the potential to deliver greatly enhanced transaction completion rates, providing a real shot in the arm for the entire mobile content ecosystem,” said De Jongh.