Telefonica intros carrier billing via BlueVia

Telefónica’s global API program, BlueVia, has this week released a new billing API designed to cater to carrier billing functionality for app developers.

The Spain-based carrier selected online mobile payments firm Boku to support BlueVia’s in app payments with its bank-grade mobile payments technology, reducing the barriers to users for making in-app purchases, which can be linked to mobile operator bills without additional authentication.

The carrier cited research which claims that while only four per cent of apps in the Apple App Store support in-app payments, they account for 72 per cent of revenue.

“In-app payment is a hot topic within the developer community, as all the research suggests it can have a high positive impact on revenue.  Mobile operator billing offers a way to charge for goods and services using financial relationships that in some markets are more prevalent than credit cards,” said José Valles, head of BlueVia. “Our goal with BlueVia is to create a compelling, unified set of APIs that offer developers a suite of web services that add value across the multiple devices, operating systems and operators in the Telefónica Group.”

Last week Vodafone begun rolling out direct operator billing for apps sold through the Android Market in the UK and Germany, allowing users to charge purchases direct to their phone bill.

Being able to charge Android Market purchases straight to a phone bill or prepay account avoids the user having to enter credit card details. Moreover, billing is often cited as one of the areas where carriers have the upper hand through their relationship with the end users, and can provide value to over the top players.

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