Leading content providers choose WAP billing to deliver a superior consumer experience

Bango reports a shift in the way mobile content is sold in the US with WAP billing gaining momentum as the industry realizes the mobile web delivers a superior and safer consumer experience. Key stakeholders in the mobile industry ranging from mobile operators and leading content providers to the Mobile Marketing Association are supporting WAP billing for mobile content sales, according to Bango which powers off-deck WAP services.
In the last three months alone, Bango has seen a four-fold increase in the number of WAP transactions in the US. Leading content providers including Gameloft and Dada Entertainment are choosing to sell their content using Bango’s mobile billing relationships with AT&T Mobility, Sprint Nextel and Virgin Mobile.
This means over 130 million subscribers on these networks can now pay for mobile content either per download or as a subscription. They charge it to their phone bill using the same familiar “browse and buy” experience used on the PC internet and their operator’s deck.
WAP billing has become popular because it delivers a more transparent payment experience. Customers can see the price and conditions of purchase before they click to pay. And, because users choose to buy content and then pay in one seamless internet session, there is little room for error compared to the two-step Premium SMS process.

“The shift to WAP browse and buy is a solid response to the recent claims of inappropriate charging of consumers,” said Anil Malhotra, SVP of Marketing at Bango. “Content providers are adapting to these challenges by using WAP to deliver a clean, clear buying experience for the user. Their businesses also benefit with far low customer service costs.”

The improved consumer experience delivered by WAP billing brings the benefit of significantly lower customer care costs with refund levels of less than 0.1%, compared to levels approaching 10-20% where content is purchased with Premium SMS (source: industry research firm iGillot).
This is what key stakeholders in the mobile industry had to say about WAP billing:

“The mobile web market is booming in the US – 65% of all new phones purchased are now music-enabled,” said Massimiliano Pellegrini, Chief Executive Officer, Dada Entertainment. “WAP billing offers an easy, seamless experience for our Dada.net consumers and fits in well with our overall mobile music strategy.”

“WAP billing provides a better consumer experience through its phone recognition system, a better user-flow and a clearer offer,” explains Jean-Sebastien Laverge, US D2C Manager, Gameloft. “All of which, increases consumer satisfaction and drives more volumes in our off-deck sales.”

“We continuously strive to offer great user-experiences to our Virgin Mobile customers. Bango’s WAP Billing model enables an improved off-deck shopping experience, and greater control for adherence to the MMA’s best practices guidelines. It provides a win-win situation for the operator, content provider and end-users,” said Lauren King, Manager, Off-Portal Content, Virgin Mobile USA.

“Through the MMA’s Consumer Best Practices, we’ve achieved the standardization of a cross-carrier, consumer-friendly model for off-deck WAP services, which today continues to influence the rapidly growing mobile marketing industry,” said Laura Marriott, president of the MMA. “The MMA continues to work with our members to generate industry-wide practices and guidelines to ensure the best outcomes for all.”

More businesses are now launching a mobile web presence so they can engage directly with their consumers anytime and from anywhere. Through a common integration point, Bango makes it easy for them to drive traffic to a mobile website, understand who the visitors are, track marketing campaigns and collect payment for digital content world-wide.  For more information on Bango WAP billing in the US, go to https://bango.com/payment.
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