US Proving Fruitful, says Bango

Bango, which provides billing transaction services to mobile content providers, says that the lure of the growing US mobile market is proving to be rewarding for many of the UKs leading mobile content brands. UK market leaders including Flirtomatic, Mobile Streams and Animation FC have all launched in the US, and according to Bango, are profiting from the availability of mobile search and advertising inventory, along with sophisticated mobile web payments covering both on-bill and credit cards, to maximize revenues.
The beauty of using Bango for our US billing needs is that one integration with their platform gives us access to large number of paying subscribers across multiple US networks, says Flirtomatic CEO, Mark Curtis. It supports the same browse and buy experience that powers the standard Flirtomatic offering, which has enabled us to launch painlessly in the US.
Mobile payments have been transformed in the US over recent years. Bango pioneered  browse and buy billing in the US, launching WAP payments with AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Virgin Mobile US. This delivers a market of over 150 million phone users, with leading content providers generating millions of dollars a month in end user spend.
The experience of building a direct-to-consumer mobile service in the fiercely competitive UK market is being translated very effectively into the successful launch of these services in the US, says Anil Malhotra, SVP Marketing and Alliances at Bango. The numbers in that market are eye-watering for UK companies: each of the top three networks individually gives access to a subscriber base bigger than the whole UK market put together. US consumers have completely bought in to browsing from their phones, and are hungry for compelling content.
Bango says that one of the challenges of the US market is the significant penetration of Blackberry, iPhone, Windows Mobile and other Smartphones among ordinary consumers, when compared to Europe.
A high percentage of consumers using these devices use email instead of text messaging and cannot easily make payments on their phone bills. UK businesses have to think how to maximize conversion rates across this user base, especially as more people are using ubiquitous wi-fi hotspots to connect to the Internet.
The traditional payment model – text to buy – actually means lower conversion rates than UK providers might be used to, says Malhotra. If you can nail mobile web payments across these users then you have access to a lot of users, bringing a lot of revenue potential.