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Today, Boku announced a significant expansion of our relationship with Microsoft in two key European markets, the UK and Italy, adding carrier billing as a payment option for Windows Store purchases made on Windows 10 devices.
Now, O2 subscribers in the UK and Wind subscribers in Italy can purchase apps, software, movies, music, games and more on any Windows 10 device including mobile phones, tablets, PCs, and laptops using only their phone number.
This expansion comes quick on the heels of our deal with Microsoft in other key developed markets – the US, Germany and Switzerland – proof that carrier billing is the alternative payment of choice in developed and emerging markets alike.
The new Windows Store is available in 242 markets worldwide, and this is the first time carrier billing will be offered as a payment option for Windows 10 devices in the UK and Italy. Windows 10 is also seeing steady growth globally, having already been installed on more than 350 million devices.
This morning, we announced new carrier partnerships with every major carrier in Germany and Hutchinson 3G in Italy to power carrier billing on Spotify. This is an expansion of Boku’s existing global partnership with Spotify that first launched in the United Kingdom.
With these new agreements, nearly 100 million mobile subscribers across these markets will be able to purchase Spotify Premium subscriptions using their mobile phone number without the need for a credit card. Spotify currently boasts more than 75 million active users, and 30 million paid subscribers across more than 50 countries worldwide.
Spotify gains the ability to provide a direct carrier billing option in these markets to easily acquire customers who find using their mobile phone number for PC and mobile web-based purchases to be the most secure and seamless way to pay.
Windows 10 customers can now use their mobile phone bill to pay for apps, games, music, and more on the new Windows Store
December 10, 2015 – San Francisco, CA – Boku announced an expanded agreement this morning with Microsoft Corp., bringing Boku® direct carrier billing to the new Windows Store for the first time. As part of the new integration with Boku, consumers will be able to use their mobile phone number to add their mobile operator account as a payment option when making purchases of applicable content in the Windows Store. This is the first time carrier billing will be offered as a payment option to the full range of Windows devices, including mobile phones, tablets, PCs, or laptops. Starting today, carrier billing will be available to mobile subscribers on carriers in the United States, with further expansion underway.
“Microsoft is a great example of a company that has always understood the value of carrier billing and, with the new Windows Store, they are creating a tremendous opportunity for developers and consumers alike,” said Jon Prideaux, CEO of Boku. “What’s worth highlighting about this particular implementation is that carrier billing will be offered across all Windows 10 devices, not just the mobile phone. This is consistent with the way in which we consume digital content today and proof that carrier billing is hardly just a payment method for on-mobile purchases. Its convenience, security, and ubiquity make it a great general-purpose alternative payment in any setting.”
According to data released by Microsoft, Windows Phone carrier billing contributes, on average, an 8x lift in purchase rates in emerging markets and 3x in developed markets. Over 60% of Windows Phone Store monthly paid users originated from carrier billing. This new alliance will extend this capability to all Windows 10 devices.
In the Windows Store, Microsoft customers can easily and quickly designate payment through a carrier by using the payment instrument system in the Windows Store. Once initialized, customers are able to charge app and digital content purchases directly to their mobile operator account.
“The Windows Store is designed to be a one-stop shopping experience for free and paid digital content. We believe offering carrier billing is important to giving consumers a convenient payment method and driving developer monetization,” said Todd Brix, Windows Store General Manger. “We decided to work with Boku because of its team, technology, and carrier relationships.”
Boku, the leading direct carrier billing mobile payments company, reaches more than 4 billion consumers in more than 70 countries. Its bank-grade payments technology allows consumers to charge purchases to their mobile phone bill.
Boku partners with global merchants including Facebook, Sony, Spotify, Electronic Arts, Wargaming, and many more. Based in San Francisco with offices in Europe, Latin America, and Asia, Boku is funded by leading Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and venture capitalists including Andreessen Horowitz, Benchmark Capital, DAG Ventures, Index Ventures, Khosla Ventures, and NEA.
Merger extends Boku carrier billing in Italy through direct connections with every major Italian carrier, covering more than 87 million mobile subscriptions
August 13th, 2015 – San Francisco, California USA — Boku, Inc., the global leader in carrier billing and cross-platform mobile payments, today announced the acquisition of mobileview Italia, a leading provider of mobile payment solutions in Italy. Mobileview Italia was sold by its German parent company dtms converting communication GmbH. The acquisition brings with it direct connections to every major Italian carrier, further strengthening Boku’s position as the world leader in carrier based billing, and opening Italy to the premier carrier billing merchant network.
“Mobileview’s strong, established relationships with every major Italian carrier made them an extremely attractive strategic partner in what we consider a tremendously valuable market” said Jon Prideaux, Boku CEO. “We see this as a growth initiative for carrier billing in Italy not only for Boku but for our merchant network. Opening a new market to massive global brands like Facebook, Spotify, and Sony, alongside hundreds of other merchant partners is good for consumers and carriers alike.”
Italy is a particularly strong market for carrier billing, as mobile penetration is extremely high at more than 158% of the population, while credit card penetration rests at a relatively low 34%. Based on mobileview data, Italian mobile users are also heavy consumers of digital goods and services ranging from music streaming, to gaming and in-game purchases. Through this agreement, Boku will provide carrier billing services in Italy for more than 87 million mobile subscriptions across Telecom Italia Mobile, Vodafone, Wind, and 3 (Hutchinson).
Stored value account top-up through mobile phone billing
SAN FRANCISCO — Boku, the global leader in carrier billing-based mobile payments, announces that its technology will now be offered by Optimal Payments Plc (LSE AIM: OPAY), a leading global online payment solutions provider. This will be offered through the NETELLER® service: a fast, simple, secure platform for businesses and individuals to move money online. NETELLER customers can now top-up their stored value accounts by charging the purchase amount for goods and services directly to their mobile phone bill.
“It is simple and convenient for customers, and it opens up new markets of potential mobile phone users who were unable, or chose not to, top-up their accounts using other payment methods in the past.”
As of today, Boku’s carrier billing top-up is available to any merchant that uses reloadable payment mechanisms to enable purchases through the NETELLER service or Net+® Card stored value offering. Customers will now be able to make purchases across the entire NETELLER merchant network. With no need to share any credit card or bank details in order to top-up an account, the new service provides both merchants and users with an added layer of security. This partnership gives NETELLER account holders the ability to make deposits in the UK, Denmark, Sweden and Switzerland, with more markets opening in the near future.
“NETELLER accountholders now have a frictionless method to deposit funds into their stored value accounts in seconds, using nothing more than their mobile phones,” said Jeremy Arnold, EMEA Senior Director for Boku. “We are excited to bring our carrier billing solution to NETELLER merchants and look forward to continuing our partnership with Optimal Payments as more markets come on board.”
“Our merchants have been requesting a carrier billing solution and the one offered by Boku is an ideal answer to a difficult problem,” said Lorenzo Pellegrino, executive vice president NETELLER, Optimal Payments. “It is simple and convenient for customers, and it opens up new markets of potential mobile phone users who were unable, or chose not to, top-up their accounts using other payment methods in the past.”
Boku’s e-money license, allows carrier billing to operate throughout Europe and the UK as a regulated, Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)-approved payment product. Boku is the only provider of its kind to receive an e-money license from the FCA, which makes it a unique carrier billing solution capable of providing regulated stored value account top-up functionality through mobile phone invoicing.
About Optimal Payments Plc
Optimal Payments is a global provider of online payment solutions, trusted by businesses and consumers in over 200 countries and territories to move and manage billions of dollars each year. Merchants use the NETBANX® platform and services to simplify how they accept credit and debit card, direct-from-bank, and alternative and local payments; and the NETELLER® service to increase revenues and capture new customers. Consumers use the multilingual and multicurrency NETELLER and Net+® Card stored-value offering to make secure and convenient payments. In addition, Optimal Payments Card Services, another division of Optimal Payments, provides innovative prepaid products and services to merchants. Optimal Payments Plc is quoted on the London Stock Exchange’s AIM market, with a ticker symbol of OPAY. Subsidiary company Optimal Payments Ltd is authorized and regulated as an e-money issuer by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FRN: 900015).
For more information on Optimal Payments visit www.optimalpayments.com or subscribe at http://www.optimalpayments.com/media/email-alerts or Twitter.
Boku, the leading carrier billing mobile payments company, brings bank-grade payments technology and mobile users together, creating a trusted, accessible platform for consumers, merchants, and carriers alike. Based in San Francisco with offices in Europe, Latin America, and Asia, Boku reaches 4 billion consumers worldwide across 67 different countries and more than 250 operators. Boku partners with global merchants including Facebook, Google, Sony, and Electronic Arts. Leading Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and venture capitalists fund Boku including Andreessen Horowitz, Benchmark Capital, DAG Ventures, Index Ventures, Khosla Ventures, and NEA.
A first for cross-platform carrier billing, Phone-on-File stores user phone number as preferred payment method enabling one-click checkout and subscription billing
February 26, 2015 – San Francisco, CA – Boku, the global leader in carrier billing-based mobile payments, has released Phone-on-File, a new cross-platform solution that allows a consumer to store their mobile phone number as their preferred payment method to enable a streamlined checkout experience for one-time and subscription purchases. While one tap purchases using carrier billing have existed exclusively on mobile for some time, including Boku’s own one tap solutions, Phone-on-File is the first technology and Boku is the only carrier billing provider to truly allow the phone number to challenge credit cards on any and all platforms for repeat purchases. Phone-on-File is also the only solution that has been developed with direct carrier approval to provide this functionality and simply asks the user to provide a standing authorization to the merchant to charge their phone bill up to a specified limit.
For one-time purchases, Phone-on-File is designed to give merchants who use carrier billing the same streamlined one-click checkout offered by services like Amazon, without the need for a credit card. The initial sign-up is completed through a one-time SMS authentication and all future purchases are completed in one click, bypassing a second authorization that is typically required for carrier billing transactions. Importantly, because the authorization is provided to the merchant, consumers can utilize the one-click checkout feature on any platform through which they purchase a merchant’s goods and/or services including desktop, mobile web, and mobile in-app. Much like stored credit card information is used to streamline purchases, this single-click experience reduces checkout friction for consumers and drives conversion uplift for merchants. Boku has implemented Phone-on-File for one-time purchases with a select group of global merchants and the results have shown an average conversion uplift of 5% and a reduction in returning user billing failures by close to 50%.
For subscription purchases, Phone-on-File allows carrier billing to function like credit cards, whereby carrier billing can be accepted as a recurring payment option without the need for subsequent approvals during the subscription period. The technology gives merchants the ability to control the timing of the charge once the user has provided his/her standing authorization and to offer key subscription features such as free and discounted trial periods. It also allows carrier billing to be easily integrated into the merchant’s existing subscription engines.
“A key element to the strength of companies like Amazon and Apple has been their ability to create frictionless checkout experiences using stored credit card information,” said Jon Prideaux, Boku CEO. “This is that same experience that Boku is bringing to the mobile phone number with Phone-on-File. Our goal is to make stored ‘phone-on-file’ every bit as powerful as a ‘card-on-file’ for the benefit of our merchant partners.”
The new Phone-on-File functionality is currently available in the UK, Germany, Italy and the United States with more markets to be made available in the coming months.
Partnership brings Boku® direct carrier billing to 3 Hong Kong
January 30, 2015 – San Francisco, California — Boku, the world leader in carrier billing-based mobile payments services, has announced a partnership with 3 Hong Kong, the mobile division of Hutchison Telecommunications Hong Kong Holdings Limited (HTHKH), a leading mobile operator in Hong Kong.
Jennifer Tan, Chief Operating Officer of HTHKH, said: “We are happy to extend our direct carrier billing service with Boku. With in-app purchases charged to a customer’s mobile bill, this eliminates the need to pass on credit information and so offers customers peace of mind.”
As of early 2014, smartphone penetration in Hong Kong stood at over 87%, with more than 31% of the population owning more than one phone, according to Nielsen research. Mobile commerce also has significant and growing traction in the market. The Nielsen study of the Hong Kong mobile users also found that 28% of all mobile users participated in some form of m-commerce in the previous month.
Through the new partnership with Boku, 3 Hong Kong subscribers will be able to make purchases on their mobile devices using their mobile phone numbers. At checkout, users choose an item they want to purchase, enter their mobile numbers, and confirm the purchase via text. Their items are then billed to their mobile accounts.
“3 Hong Kong is one of the respected names in the region and a tremendous partner for Boku,” said Kurt Davis, General Manager of Boku in Asia. “The mobile consumer market in Hong Kong spends a lot on value added services and by working together we are capitalizing on new opportunities for carrier billing.”
 Nielsen – The Asian Mobile Consumer Decoded – http://www.nielsen.com/ph/en/insights/news/2014/asian-mobile-consumers.html
December 11, 2014 – San Francisco, CA – Mike Cahill, former Boku Vice President of Engineering and one of the company’s earliest employees, today accepted the position of Chief Technology Officer, returning to Boku after a two years serving as Vice President of Mobile Engineering at American Express. Mr. Cahill was formerly Boku’s VP of Engineering for nearly four years, from the company’s founding in early 2009 to late 2012.
“There’s a great sense of momentum and strength for Boku that has been amazing to see from afar, and that played a very large role in my decision to return,” said new Boku CTO Mike Cahill. “As CTO, I’m looking forward to tackling the tremendous opportunities that are in front of Boku as the firmly established leader in carrier billing following their mopay acquisition. Even more interesting are the technical innovations and challenges ahead, as we bring carrier billing into more new venues and real-world verticals. In short, it’s very good to be back.”
As CTO, Mr. Cahill will be responsible for leading Boku’s global engineering and technical operations. He will operate out of Boku’s San Francisco headquarters, lead technical teams in the U.S., UK, Germany, and Romania and provide technical guidance to Boku employees across the globe.
“I know the team at American Express is as sorry to see Mike leave as we are happy to have him return,” Said Jon Prideaux, Boku CEO. “Mike contributed so much to Boku during four of our company’s most critical years. When the opportunity arose for him to join an established player on the carded side of our payments universe, I knew from my time at Visa that he would be gaining invaluable experience. To be in a position to bring him back as CTO, benefitting from those two years of experience combined with four years spent building Boku – we simply could not pass that up.”
While at American Express, Mike was responsible for the company’s app development and company-wide mobile application and mobile payment frameworks. His achievements over the course of two years include projects ranging from the implementation of Apple Pay to the development of several American Express applications. He also managed both national and international engineering teams in New York, Phoenix, Palo Alto and London.
mopay co-founders officially join Boku executive team in first step towards combining carrier billing powerhouses
November 14, 2014 – San Francisco, CA – Boku has officially named mopay co-founders Ingo Lippert and Christian Hinrichs as the company’s new Chief Business Officer and Chief Financial Officer, respectively. This announcement comes on the heels of Boku’s recent acquisition of mopay, which firmly established Boku as the global leader in direct carrier billing-based mobile payments.
Ingo Lippert is the co-founder and former CEO of mopay and brings more than 20 years of carrier billing, e-commerce, m-commerce, and management experience to his new role as Boku CBO, a position formerly held by Boku Chief Executive Officer, Jon Prideaux. In his role as CBO, Ingo will be responsible for leading Boku’s merchant and carrier focused sales and business development efforts across the globe.
“While Boku worked tirelessly to expand carrier billing to new arenas and new verticals such as real world payments, our company continued to fortify our position as the leading carrier billing provider for game developers.” Said Ingo Lippert, new CBO of Boku. “The combined strength of what we accomplished on both fronts creates a mobile payments organization unlike any in the world, in terms of our reach, technology, and experience as a team.”
As Boku’s new CFO, Christian Hinrichs brings decades of experience in finance, accounting, and investor relations, forged through the co-founding and global growth of mopay. Prior to mopay, Christian also worked as a Project Manager at Roland Berger & Partner, and has experience in the banking sector, working with companies such as Commerzbank, Dresdner Bank and Delbrück&Co, Privatbankiers.
“Joining our teams makes me more confident than ever that the future of carrier billing is a bright one for all of our customers and partners,” Said Christian Hinrichs, new CFO of Boku “We are just in the beginning stages of merging our global footprints, and the early projections for what we’ll be able to bring to our merchants look extremely promising.”
Boku, the global leader in direct carrier billing-based mobile payments, reaches more than 4 billion consumers in more than 70 countries. Its bank-grade payments technology allows consumers to charge purchases to their mobile phone bill. Boku partners with global merchants including Facebook, Sony, Spotify, Electronic Arts, Valve, Wargaming, and many more. Based in San Francisco with offices in Europe, Latin America, and Asia, Boku is funded by leading Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and venture capitalists including Andreessen Horowitz, Benchmark Capital, DAG Ventures, Index Ventures, Khosla Ventures, and NEA.
Combination of two carrier-billing giants will help drive mobile payments standardization for merchants, carriers and consumers
October 7, 2014 – San Francisco, California USA — Boku, Inc., the global leader in mobile payments, today announced the acquisition of Germany-based mopay, one of the largest carrier billing companies in the world and one of Boku’s leading competitors. The acquisition makes Boku the largest standalone provider of carrier billing-based mobile payment services in the world, adding marquee merchant customers like Valve, gameloft, and Wargaming, and hundreds of other merchants to Boku’s existing global merchant base that includes Facebook, Sony, Spotify, and Electronic Arts.
The merger represents a combination of two largely complementary organizations, with similar value propositions to carriers and to merchants across the virtual, digital and physical goods categories. The combined assets of the two companies will offer greater scale and operational efficiency and a more standardized carrier billing solution to the benefit of merchants, carriers and consumers alike.
“By coming together we’ve created a company that can realize the vision of charging purchases to your phone bill as a truly global payment method at scale,” said Jon Prideaux, CEO of Boku. “Together, Boku and mopay serve some of the largest digital merchants in the world and we have a tremendous pipeline in the works.”
“This is a merger from strength. Both companies have strong growth plans, but felt that our customers would be best served by coming together to build a market leading mobile payments platform,” said Ingo Lippert, CEO of mopay.
The new organization offers mobile payments in more than 80 countries around the world, with a reach close to 5 billion consumers. Over time, the companies will merge operations and operate under the Boku brand.