We’ve written in the past about the challenges of being a mobile network operator (MNO) in today’s highly connected mobile world. Here are some very simple statistics that demonstrate one of the problems that today’s MNOs grapple with, and an explanation of why so many are plugging into Bango.

The data refers to Bango’s mobile traffic across the majority of our partners, including both payment and analytics customers, during the first week of March 2013.

The overall sample size is in the tens of millions, and those users were using apps, visiting mobile news sites, buying games content and a huge variety of other activities on their phones and tablets.

Mobile Network


Page Views






So the bare facts are

  • Most of us – 70% – are connected to Wi-Fi when we use our mobile devices
  • Nearly all of us – 96% – are connected to Wi-Fi when we buy something

In interpreting this, there’s an issue of cause and effect. Perhaps we can say that users prefer the stability or the bandwidth of a Wi-Fi connection for purchases. Alternatively, perhaps it’s just that people tend to look for content when they’re sedentary and relaxed in the home, rather than out and about when they’re more likely to be connected to their MNO. Of course users are also switched-on about the cost of connections.

On the face of it, this isn’t a huge problem for the MNOs. Cisco’s recent “Visual Networking Index” revealed that 33% of total mobile data traffic was offloaded onto the fixed network through Wi-Fi or femtocells during 2012, and there’s a thriving industry in such “offloading” as a means of satisfying our endless thirst for bandwidth without stretching the mobile networks to breaking point.

The problem is this: Operators are increasingly looking to leverage operator billing in order to monetize from the ‘over the top’ services, such as app stores, which they support. In order to do that they need to offer a frictionless payment experience, using the knowledge they have of their users to facilitate a one-click purchase. But that instant authentication is virtually impossible when the user is connected to Wi Fi, as most of us are.

What does this look like in the real world? 96% of customers don’t actually get operator billing. Instead they get a compromised payment experience in which they are asked to enter their mobile phone number and send text messages, with numbers to remember and type in.

Our preference for Wi-Fi risks robbing operators of their ace card – the ability to bill their users in an instant. As a consequence, app stores and content owners simply lose sales.

This is where Bango comes in. Bango’s unique ID technology and platform approach allows us to automatically authenticate users for one-click payment, even on Wi-Fi.

So far we have in excess of 200 million billing IDs and we’re aiming for everyone: Our mission is to develop billing grade identities for the world’s mobile users. Customers who plug into Bango include Facebook, BlackBerry World, Windows Phone Store and others to be launched very soon. As more connect, we expand our already massive reach, building an ever-larger pool of billing-grade identities, and all of our clients benefit from this widening one-click payment reach. This is how our app store partners will thrive in today’s Wi-Fi world.