Italian carrier Wind this week introduced a Facebook application that enables its prepay customers to top up their credit directly through the social networking platform.
The Ricarica Wind service was delivered by electronic payments specialist Vesta Corporation and is accessible via the Italian operator’s Facebook page.
Payment and user data accessed through the social media site is fully managed and processed by Vesta’s PCI-compliant payments-as-a-service platform, guaranteeing 100 per cent transaction fraud protection, and remaining independent from Facebook.
Users of the application, including non-Wind customers, can also send a top-up gift to a Wind prepaid number. Alternatively, users who find themselves running low on credit can send a begging request to friends to top-up their account.
At MWC this year the social network began partnering with mobile operators to aggregate links to their billing systems and enable virtual-good purchased and other in-app payments through users’ mobile bills. This offering from Wind is an extension of that initiative and its notable that in February Facebook had struck deals with AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon in the US; Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telefonica and Vodafone in Europe; and KDDI and Softbank in Japan—several of which are Vesta’s customers also.
Speaking to Telecoms.com earlier this year, Henri Moissinac, head of mobile business at Facebook, said he saw Facebook as “making these platforms more and more relevant for developers. We’re making them social, focusing on social apps.”
For Facebook, in a mobile environment at least, its greatest traction comes through the apps, on various platforms, as every time a user migrates from a mobile site to the app Moissinac says the company sees “engagement going through the roof” due to a better and faster experience.
Take Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN), which late last year launched a self-care app for Facebook, allowing operators’ customers to personally manage their fixed and mobile telecom services from their phones. The app enables end users to check their balance, buy special offers and subscribe to services from their respective service providers. The app aims to offer an improved service from operators by allowing them to engage with customers where they spend most of their time online. It also hits a sweet spot with operators by setting up a self-care platform, freeing up the carrier’s in house resources.
With Amazon and Google launching smart home initiatives, have the telcos missed out on their chance to cash in on this market?
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