O2, EE & Vodafone to trial carrier billing on the high street


O2, EE and Vodafone have teamed up with mobile payments firm Boku to enable customers to pay for goods using their phones.

Boku's e-Money service could eventually extend to other operators. The service will allow customers to make purchases of any type of product or services. Users only need to enter their mobile number at a merchant's storefront to pay for physical goods.

Until now, the European Union's (EU's) Payment Services Directive (PSD) restricted what goods, including ringtones, music downloads and ebooks, could be bought and then billed to a mobile phone user's bill.

According to Boku chief executive Jon Prideaux, the framework was holding back the market for mobile operators and merchants.

"Up to now buying stuff and charging it to your phone bill has been restricted, limited to digital goods and operating in a regulatory framework designed years ago to handle ringtone downloads," he said.

"We are now entering a new era for carrier billing. Boku has re-invented carrier billing as a mainstream payment method.

"As an authorised e-money issuer, regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, Boku enables consumers to make purchases quickly and simply," he added.

"Merchants who allow their customers to charge things to their phone bill sell more. Mobile Network Operators can offer an improved experience to their subscribers, with Boku bearing responsibility for the entire compliance envelope."

Boku currently works with firms such as Facebook, EA and Spotify and partners selling magazines and bus tickets have already signed up to use the Boku e-Money service.

Rene Millman

Rene Millman is a freelance writer and broadcaster who covers cybersecurity, AI, IoT, and the cloud. He also works as a contributing analyst at GigaOm and has previously worked as an analyst for Gartner covering the infrastructure market. He has made numerous television appearances to give his views and expertise on technology trends and companies that affect and shape our lives. You can follow Rene Millman on Twitter.