Microsoft today announced the going live of mobile operator billing for Windows Phone devices in Kenya. Something that many have been looking forward to in the region due to the low penetration of credit cards, developers have something to smile about. The roll out of mobile operator billing is set up with Safaricom, thus subscribers who have Windows Phone devices just need to set up their accounts and have airtime to get purchasing.
According to Kunle Awosika, Microsoft Kenya Country Manager, there are 53 mobile operators across 33 markets that Microsoft has mobile operator billing. Kenya happens to be second in Sub-Saharan Africa after South Africa to get carrier billing on Windows Phone.
To set up mobile operator billing on your phone you need to go to your Microsoft Wallet where you input a pin that you will be using every time you need to make purchases. Head over to the store and tap to pay the app you want to purchase. Prices are indicated in local currencies, in this case Kenya Shillings. Once you make your purchase you also get a confirmation in the email linked to your Microsoft account.
Mobile Operator billing currently works with any Windows Phone in Kenya for users subscribed to Safaricom. Other platforms like Nokia X platform will also get the advantage in a near future, the same applies Airtel subscribers who use Microsoft’s Windows Phone devices.
Moses Sitati, Microsoft Devices Division Head of Developer Relations in East Africa says that the developments present a new shift in the ability of Kenyans to consume paid content and we will see more developers getting value for their work as consumers buy more. Currently apps and other services purchase is quite low, not that people will not buy, but options were quite limited. To put this in perspective, we have slightly over 150,000 credit cards in Kenya.
Apps developers who stand to directly benefit from Mobile Operator Billing mentioned that this changes the whole scenario. Martin Nielsen, Mdundo Co-founder and CEO says airtime billing makes the process of buying music from their Windows Phone app hell a lot easier compared to what they had as the best option previously. Martin says that Mpesa payments, though far reaching, are a bit tasking with several processes. Airtime billing is now very fast and almost anyone has airtime.
As regards revenue share, Microsoft starts with a 70-30 share between Microsoft and developers respectively and we could see a scenario in the future where this could go to 80-20 dynamics for this are not out in the open though.