Boku has inked a deal with Middle East mobile network Zain, which claims nine million customers across Saudi Arabia, and is working closely with MT2, one of the biggest billing platforms in the Middle East. Though the initial launch is small in scope, today’s move represents the first of several partnerships the company has in the pipeline as it looks to enable carrier billing through Google Play in many more markets.
Though carrier billing is a fairly common offering in Google Play around the world, this is the first time Boku has entered the fray, and as one of the world’s largest carrier-billing providers, this is a notable mov
Founded out of San Francisco in 2009, Boku has signed deals with many of the major mobile carriers around the world, letting consumers pay for content using nothing more than their mobile phone number. So, if someone wants to buy movies or music through their smart TV, for example, they enter their phone number and the charge appears on their phone bill. For merchants, Boku also provides the software to process these payments.While carrier billing is convenient for many people, as it lets them centralize all their payments and negates the need to memorize bank card numbers and codes, it makes particular sense in countries where credit cards and banking in general have low traction. In Saudi Arabia, only 17 percent of consumers have a credit card, while less than 50 percent have a bank account, according to Boku, citing data from the World Bank.