Opera adds carrier billing to mobile browser
Signs deal with digital content provider Neomobile, plans a series of similar alliances to boost m-payments for its user base
Published: 31 January, 2013
Mobile browser maker Opera has been steadily expanding its platform to put its technology at the heart of a full web experience, especially for users of midrange handsets where the big branded browsers are less influential.
The latest move is to integrate the carrier billing for the Neomobile digital services platform into the existing Opera Payment Exchange (OPX), to bring this popular capability to users of the Opera Mobile browser. This 200m-strong base will gain secure m-payments, allowing them to buy digital goods and services wherever Neomobile offers its mobile entertainment services, and charge them to an operator bill.
Opera aims to sign up a series of such partners, which will drive content consumption and cellco revenues, making its browser-based platform more indispensable to them.
Sameer Merchant, CEO of Opera Commerce, added in a statement: "One by one, we want to partner with premium mobile payment service providers like Neomobile to give the convenience of mobile payments to our Opera Mini users."
Neomobile is present in 11 markets in Europe, Latin America and India, with a portfolio providing digital content and services such as games, apps, chat and dating, usually in partnership with carriers.
This mirrors Opera's strategy of working closely with cellcos, especially in emerging markets where they tend to be the main brand and channel for mobile users, reducing the influence of Google, Apple and others - which have their own browsers installed as default on their handsets. In emerging markets, many carriers overlay their own user experience on Android, and Opera is a popular element, especially as it has widened its capabilities to include advertising, payments and other drivers of additional revenue.
"The next step for us will be the integration of our Onebip mobile payment service to let merchants and other media companies make the most of all the ways to monetize their services through the
Opera Mini browser," said Gianluca D'Agostino, CEO of Neomobile.