Facebook turns on frictionless carrier billing – is it part of a bigger play to enter the payments arena?

facebook carrier billing

Facebook today turned on it's carrier billing functionality on it's mobile app in the UK, USA and Germany.

"Following an initial announcement of the partnership in February 2012, Bango now provides Facebook mobile web carrier billing as part of an improved mobile payments flow. This enables Facebook's mobile web users to easily purchase digital content without the use of premium SMS messages or the limitations of credit cards. Instead, users enjoy frictionless operator billing, paying on their phone, without the need to register personal details."

Heady claims from Bango:

"Conventional operator billing is expected to achieve a 40% conversion rate. Put simply, most mobile commerce customers who click ‘buy', do not successfully buy. Billing with the Bango payment platform delivers an average conversion rate of 77%. Most users who click ‘buy', do buy."

It's a clear signal that Facebook sees the future of it's business as being mobile – demonstrating it has ways of monetising it's mobile user base is vital for it's future at a time when it's stock price is falling – and this clearly demonstrates that Facebook sees this monetisation as beyond mere advertising.

“Facebook turning on carrier billing extends consumer payments choice.”

Says Jonathan Jensen of Sevendotzero

“However many of their target customers will be prepay and may be reluctant to eat up their limited credit with additional charges for content.”

For now, this is restricted to payments for digital goods.

But the big question: Is this part of a bigger play to bring Facebook into real-world payments?

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