Kuwait is the latest market to launch Google Play through the Bango Payment Platform, confirming the region’s importance for app stores

It comes as a surprise to many mobile payments watchers that carrier-billed payments have proved such a big hit with consumers in the Middle East region. With widespread credit card ownership and extremely high Android and iPhone penetration, is there really a market for alternative payment methods?

One indicator that smartphone and card ownership is not enough to monetize the million plus apps available to the regions wealthy consumers is the success of the Bango Payment Platform, which delivers carrier billing at “app store quality” in eight markets across the Middle East. Together, twenty app store activations are live, offering “charge to my phone bill” as a payment option in store, using the Bango Payment Platform.

The phenomenon started in 2014 in the United Arab Emirates, where multiple carrier-billed payment routes became available to the country’s big spending app store customers, all through Bango. The latest addition is Ooredoo Kuwait, who partnered with Bango to launch carrier billing in Google Play – a first for Kuwait. Ooredoo customers in the country join millions of subscribers across the Middle East who can purchase apps, games, music, films and other digital content from the Google Play store, using one-click carrier billing.

As the smartphone base in the Middle East continues to grow, Bango is reaching an ever-widening pool of consumers for one-click carrier-billed payments. IDC report that in the Middle East, 80% of smartphones are Android and only the Asia-Pacific region has more mobile phone users. Google Play is available across all Android devices and offers over 1.5 million apps. The Bango Payment Platform unifies these two giant markets, giving customers access to a wealth of purchasable content, with just one-click.

Bango technology has made carrier billing a highly successful payment method in the region as it delivers conversion rates in excess of 90%. There is no requirement for the customer to enter sensitive credit card data, instead with just one-click you can pay on your phone bill.

Bango’s twentieth activation in the Middle East is another example of how Mobile Network Operators are standardizing on the Bango Payment Platform. Google Play is the third app store that Ooredoo Kuwait have activated through Bango, having already launched BlackBerry World and Windows Phone Store.

Bango is committed to opening up the world of digital content to everyone across the globe, providing users with a universal payment method so everyone can enjoy the full app store experience.