From Gigaom: “AT&T is rolling out a trial of direct carrier billing with Zong, BilltoMobile and Boku. The trial represents the biggest push to date in the U.S. for direct mobile billing, which allows a consumer to buy a product and have it added directly to their wireless bill.”
From Readwriteweb: “At this week’s developer conference, Sprint CEO Dan Hesse announced a new service for Sprint customers: a mobile payment solution called Sprint Mobile Wallet. The system will come pre-loaded on new Sprint handsets and will be made available for download from “Sprint Zone,” a pre-installed app featuring news, tips, tricks and a curated collection of Sprint’s favorite apps. What’s unique about the Mobile Wallet solution is that it will allow customers to pay for both digital and physical goods using their phones.”
The mobile commerce/payment market is expected to be worth $633B by 2014, so its a huge opportunity anyway you look at it. However, when you add virtual goods into the mix and alternative “currencies” things really start to heat up. Virtual goods market is pegged at around 1.6B in the US market alone for 2010. With the lines blurring between physical and virtual products, mobile payment has a significant role to play in the overall food chain.
The first round of in game currenies caused quite a stir with sites like IGE popping up to provide cross game currency liquidity. Now with players like Facebook entering the arena, are “credits” really that different from “dollars?”
A closing comment from the Facebook RRW article is telling: “As for my 20 free credits, they’re likely to sit there, unspent, until Facebook comes up with something other than virtual, in-game goods that I can spend them on.” When will you be able to buy a song on iTunes with Facebook credits? Probably sooner than we think.