U.K. mobile billing and analytics provider Bango announced today it signed a deal “to provide payment services to Facebook.”
The arrangement could be part of an upcoming effort to monetize Facebook’s mobile platform. The social network has 425 million monthly active mobile users but so far does not generate “meaningful” revenue from this area, according to its filing for an initial public offering. Facebook might have tapped Bango to help it process payments for apps, virtual goods or other mobile transactions.
Bango did not reveal the terms of the agreement. Facebook, which is in a mandated “quiet period” after filing for an IPO, did not comment on the partnership.
Bango provides carrier-billing services for Research in Motion and Opera’s app stores. This means mobile users are able to pay for purchases on their phone bills rather than a credit card. Many expect the company will to do the same for Amazon’s App Store for Android, following news of a partnership in December 2011.
Facebook opened its mobile platform to third-party developers in October 2011. It currently uses Boku to process mobile phone payments in HTML5 games like CityVille. This is only possible in the mobile web version of Facebook, not native applications because Apple and Android take 30 percent of in-app transactions on their platforms.
The Financial Times notes that Bango is aligned with Facebook’s movement toward a browser-based mobile platform. Following rumors of Facebook’s “Project Spartan” in June 2011, Bango CEO Ray Anderson wrote:
Bango technology has been optimized for browser deployment, and we see the browser as a great platform to enable truly explosive growth of mobile by making apps less dependent on the handset operating system. If you want to share an app or service with others, it makes more sense to mail or tweet out a link to a web app than to try to get your friends to download apps! It seems like Facebook may have the same vision [...]